In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:
Xiaomi introduces ‘smart home’ security sensors
Fast-growing Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has stepped up its ‘smart home’ push with the introduction of a range of wireless sensors aimed at simplifying the installation of web-enabled security devices.
The suite, announced at an event in Beijing, includes a motion sensor, a pair of door and window sensors, a wireless switching device for controlling appliances, and a multifunctional gateway that links the components with other devices by WiFi to a mobile device.
The four-year-old firm, which raised $1.1 billion in a round of funding last December, has been strengthening its efforts in the Internet of Things space. Last year it beta-tested four smart home gadgets – a webcam, light bulb, power plug and remote control centre — and launched a blood pressure monitor and a WiFi router.
Last month it continued to expand its product line with the release of its $150 Mi Air Purifier.
DoCoMo launches iPhone translation app
Japan’s NTT DoCoMo has developed a face-to-face translation service for iPhones, which will be available for free until May.
The Jspeak app enables non-Japanese speakers traveling in Japan to have face-to-face conversations simply by speaking into a smartphone to get a translation via text and voice readout.
The app can translate five languages – Chinese, English, Indonesian, Korean and Thai – into Japanese and vice versa.
Chinese Tumblr version in the works
Tumblr is working on a Chinese version of the social media/blogging site, which reportedly isn’t currently blocked in the mainland.
Tumblr, which is offered in 16 languages including Japanese and Korean, has invited users in China to beta test the translated site, which may not remain uncensored for long after the launch.
The company was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1 billion.
Chinese homework app raises $20M
A Chinese educational tech startup has raised $20 million in series B funding from SoftBank China Venture Capital and existing investor GSR Ventures.
XueXiBao (which translates as ‘study treasure’) is targetted at junior high and high school students needing help with their math, science and/or English studies, TechCrunch reported.
The app uses image and optical-character recognition technology to provide answers and additional information when students upload questions or problems. It claims it can process queries in just six seconds and is 85-95 per cent accurate. A Q&A feature allows students to ask teachers questions via a voice message for a small fee.
Celcom to boost capex in flooded areas
Celcom Axiata has committed to investing MYR100 million ($28 million) to boost connectivity in the flood-prone east coast of peninsular Malaysia.
Celcom, who’s capex has exceeded MYR1 billion annually since 2006, said it will make strategic investments over the next five years to improve its network’s resilience in the flooded areas.
It took the operator about two weeks to restore the more than 400 cell sites that were affected by severe flooding at the end of the year in eight provinces.