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Intel to Invest $3.5 Billion to Expand New Mexico Manufacturing Operations

Here’s our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.

Intel’s $3.5 Billion expansion plan in New Mexico –

Intel said on Monday it will invest $3.5 billion to equip its New Mexico operations for the manufacturing of advanced semiconductor packaging technologies, including Foveros, Intel’s breakthrough 3D packaging technology. Foveros enables Intel to build processors with compute tiles stacked vertically, rather than side-by-side, providing greater performance in a smaller footprint, the firm said in a release, and added the move from system-on-chip to “system on package” will enable it to meet increasing computing performance needs for artificial intelligence, 5G and the edge. Investing in the company’s manufacturing operations is a key component of its recently announced IDM 2.0 strategy. The planning activities begin immediately, with construction expected to start in late 2021, the chipmaker noted. In another development, IBM on Thursday unveiled the world’s first 2-nanometre chipmaking technology.

Google’s Entertainment Space on Android tablets –

Google has introduced a new feature called Entertainment Space on Android tablets. Like Kids Space, which was introduced last year, this new dedicated section will give users access to all their movies, shows, videos, games and books on their tablet. In the Watch Tab, users can discover movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, switch between streaming services, and even get personalised and trending recommendations from different services. In the Games tab, they can explore new games or jump back into their favourite ones from Google Play Games. In the Read tab, they can read books, find and listen to audiobooks, and even see books with discounted prices. Entertainment Space is rolling out for Walmart tablets, and will be available globally on new and select existing Android tablets from Lenovo, Sharp, and others later this year, Google said in a blog post. In another update, Google is all set to launch a new hybrid workspace model that will allow 60% of Google employees to work in the office only a few days a week.

Apple’s new OS updates fix WebKit security issues –

Apple on Monday released the latest OS updates for its devices. The updates fix multiple WebKit security flaws that “may have been actively exploited,” according to the company. The iOS 14.5.1 and iPadOS 14.5.1 for iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation); macOS Big Sur 11.3.1; and watchOS 7.4.1 for Apple Watch Series 3 and later, fix WebKit issues, that could have been exploited by a remote attacker for “arbitrary code execution.” Apple also released iOS 12.5.3 for older devices like iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPod touch (6th generation). Apple users can check and install the OS updates in Settings –> General –> ‘Software Update’. This week, Apple also introduced a new paid ad slot for developers to promote their apps on App Store, a move that will expand the company’s ad business.

Sennheiser’s consumer business acquired by Sonova –

Sennheiser’s Consumer Electronics business was acquired by Sonova, a Swiss company that provides hearing care solutions, the firms announced in a statement. In February, Sennheiser had announced that it would focus on the Professional business in the future while seeking a partner for the consumer business. The plan is to complete the transfer of the business to Sonova by the end of 2021, the companies noted. Sonova will be adding headphones and soundbars to its hearing care portfolio, which includes hearing aids and cochlear implants, among other hearing solutions. And, Sennheiser will now concentrate its own strengths and resources on the Pro Audio, Business Communications and Neumann business areas. Both companies will work together under the Sennheiser brand in the future and a license agreement for the use of it has been made, the firms said. In another development, Twitter said on Tuesday it had bought news technology company Scroll, which it will use as part of an upcoming subscription offering.

Starship prototype survives high-altitude flight test

SpaceX’s Starship SN15 successfully completed its high-altitude flight test on May 5 from Starbase in Texas after the last four Starship prototypes were destroyed either during landing approach or soon after touchdown. During their test flights, Starships SN8 and SN9 had exploded upon touchdown, while SN10 landed upright, however, burst into flames shortly after landing. The Starship SN11 prototype exploded during the landing approach on March 30. SpaceX’s Starship test flights are for better understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond. In 2023, Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa and the crew of ‘dearMoon’ are expected to go on a voyage around the moon aboard a Starship. In another space update, SpaceX safely returned four astronauts from the International Space Station last Sunday, making the first U.S. crew splashdown in darkness since the Apollo 8 moonshot.

Twitch’s monthly global installs reach 22 million in Q1

Amazon’s popular live streaming platform, Twitch, reached 22 million installs worldwide in the first quarter of 2021, up 62% compared with the previous year, according to a recent report by analytics firm Sensor Tower. Last year, Twitch witnessed the most growth in India’s app stores, and the platform has continued its upward trend in 2021. In India, Amazon’s service grew 146% to 280,000 installs in the March ending quarter, compared with the previous year. The U.S. continues to be Twitch’s largest market where it expanded 61% year on year with 5 million downloads in the first quarter of 2021. Its other main markets include Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the U.K. Additionally, the live streaming service’s global monthly active users grew 69% in March 2021 compared with the previous year. Last week, popular video streaming service, Netflix, launched its new ‘Play Something’ feature across the globe.