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Huawei Reveals the Top 30 Regional Shortlisted Apps for Apps UP Global App Innovation Contest



Huawei, one of the world’s largest technology providers, has announced Apps UP’s top 30 shortlisted apps for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Under the theme “Together We Innovate”, Huawei’s Global App Innovation Contest invited all developers from the Middle East and Africa to bring their most creative ideas to life and build cutting-edge apps by integrating HMS Core. The success of Apps UP 2022 is verified by the numbers: the total registrations reached 5,000 apps and a total of 2,500 apps were successfully submitted, demonstrating the widespread interest among developers globally.

With a total prize pool of US$230,000 awaiting the best apps of this year, Apps UP 2022 enters its next phase. The region’s top 30 apps are here and the list includes the following: A Gum’s Life, Advanced English Dictionary, Alsaree3, Anti-Terrorist Shooting Game, Arabic Voice Keyboard, Calorie Diet, CardioCam, : Vente/Achat en Tunisie, CodeFellow, CVBox, DigCV, Driver Companion, Dubai Police, emPay, FilGoal – في الجول, Find, Fit Gym, Foodicious, Golootlo, لثغة: علاج اللثغات و مشاكل النطق, Messiah, Mowash, Panda بنده, Pregnancy App : MAA, QMobile, Real Prado Parking Free Games: Offline Driving Car Games 2021, Safe Community, Taleemabad School App, Survival Quest, نَحنُ وهٌم. The apps were shortlisted based on their innovation, social impact, business value, and overall user experience.

Anyone can now vote for their favorite apps from 8th November to 20th November (GMT+8) through Apps UP’s 2022 dedicated website. Each email ID is eligible to vote up to ten times per day with a maximum of three votes per app. The public vote will account for 10% of the final rating, the app’s open capabilities and application scenarios will account for another 40%, and the judges’ votes will account for the remaining 50%. The Apps UP 2022 judging panel is composed of renowned and experienced professionals across the gaming, technology, and financial sectors, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the contest.

Lu Geng, Vice President of the Middle East and Africa, Huawei Global Partnerships & Eco-Development, Huawei Consumer Business Group, said, “The overwhelming response to this year’s Apps UP Global Innovation Contest justifies Huawei’s determination to continue investing in innovative creators and supporting local talent. We are so proud to have the MEA region rank No. 1 globally in number of registrations outside of China. Our confidence in the ability of the regional developer community to resolve pressing social issues and build globally applicable solutions has been reinforced by the high quality of the submitted apps. Groundbreaking ideas combined with the robust and ever-evolving capabilities of the HMS Core set the stage for a smarter and brighter future for people all around the world.”

Huawei’s Apps UP Innovation Contest is a global event that brings together developers from all over the world to build an app ecosystem that intelligently links everything. It aims to inspire developers to innovate, connect people, devices, and scenarios together, and build consistent app experiences while exploring seamless AI integration. At the same time, Apps UP provides developers with unrivaled opportunities. Participants get exclusive workshops and hands-on coaching from Huawei’s top experts, enabling them to bring their product to market faster, and with more technical support. In addition to the attractive cash rewards of US$230,000 for the MEA region, developers have the chance to achieve global recognition and get the attention of people who matter, such as the 730 million Huawei device users and potential partners or investors.

The 2022 edition of the Apps UP Innovation Contest spanned over 100 days and covered the regions of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and China. 5,000 teams submitted their apps worldwide, while Huawei secured more than US$1,000,000 in total cash prizes for the winners of the five regions combined. Individual award amounts in the MEA region vary from US$5,000 to US$15,000, and participants compete in the following categories: Best HMS Innovation Award, Best App, Best Game, Best Social Impact App, All-Scenario Coverage Award, Best Arabic App, Tech Women’s Award, and Student Innovation Award.

The winners of the Apps UP 2022 Innovation Contest will be unveiled in the month of December.

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Safari to Get Smarter? Leaked Code Hints at AI Assistant



Eagle-eyed developer Nicolás Álvarez has spotted clues in Apple’s backend code suggesting a major upgrade for Safari in iOS 18: a browsing assistant powered by artificial intelligence. MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris confirmed the existence of the code, but details remain scarce.

The assistant might leverage Apple’s privacy-focused iCloud Private Relay to transmit relevant data for analysis, potentially requiring an iCloud+ subscription. This aligns with the rumoured focus on generative AI in iOS 18, aiming to streamline iPhone experiences.

Several browsers already boast AI tools like Microsoft Edge’s GPT-4-powered Copilot and Arc Search’s webpage summarization. Apple’s assistant could offer similar functionality or even go beyond.

Another intriguing discovery by Álvarez was “Encrypted Visual Search” within the code. While details are sparse, it could be related to last year’s leak of a “Visual Search” feature for Apple’s unreleased Vision Pro headset. This feature allowed copying and pasting real-world text into apps. Perhaps Apple is refining the technology for a secure iPhone debut, or it might be an extension of the existing Visual Look Up feature for identifying objects in photos.

With Apple’s WWDC keynote scheduled for June 10th, we can expect official details on these potential features in just a few months. So, get ready for a potentially smarter Safari experience in iOS 18!

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Android Gets Supercharged Find My Device Network: Locate Lost Devices Even When Offline



Android users rejoice! Google has finally launched its highly anticipated Find My Device network, offering a significant upgrade to lost device recovery. This new feature goes beyond the limitations of the previous Find My Device setting, which only worked for powered-on and connected devices.

The key lies in Bluetooth. This new network leverages Bluetooth signals to locate missing phones, smartwatches, earbuds, and even trackers, even if they’re disconnected from Wi-Fi or cellular data. It’s like a digital bloodhound, sniffing out your lost tech.

Here’s what the network offers:

  • Offline Tracking: Lost your phone with a dead battery? No problem. The Find My Device network can locate Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones even when powered off.
  • Expanded Range: The network finds any compatible Android phone or tablet, regardless of online status.
  • Bluetooth Tracker Integration: Starting in May, use the Find My Device app to locate items like keys or luggage attached to Chipolo and Pebblebee Bluetooth tracker tags. These tags are designed specifically for the network and offer additional security features, like unknown tracker alerts across Android and iOS devices.
  • “Find Nearby” Feature: (Also coming in May) Can’t find your phone under a pile of laundry? Use Bluetooth tags to pinpoint its location, even if it’s hidden nearby.
  • Nest Integration: The Find My Device app will show you the location of a missing phone or item relative to your home Nest devices, giving you a helpful reference point.
  • Sharing Device Tracking: Permit trusted individuals to track your device with you.

This launch comes after a delay announced in September 2023. Google prioritized user privacy and addressed concerns about the potential for misuse of Bluetooth trackers. Reportedly, the upcoming iOS 17.5 beta includes security measures that address these concerns, paving the way for Google’s network launch.

While only Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro benefit from powered-off tracking, the network itself works with any Android phone running Android 9 or later.

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Google’s Vids: Aiming to Be the Next Big Productivity App



For years, the office grind has been dominated by the trinity: documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. But Google is throwing a wrench in the mix with Vids, a new app designed to make creating collaborative, shareable videos easier than ever. Forget fancy editing software – Vids is all about practicality. It’s built for the everyday tasks we juggle at work: pitching ideas, updating teams, or explaining complex concepts. Think of it as Google Slides transformed for video.

“Anyone who can make a slide deck can make a video with Vids,” says Kristina Behr, Google’s VP of product management. “No video production experience needed.” The process is refreshingly simple. Drag and drop assets from Drive or other sources, arrange them in a timeline, and add your voiceover or on-camera segments. The result? Think recorded presentations, video calls, or those ubiquitous training videos with a talking head and supporting graphics. Vids might not win Oscars, but they can churn out a variety of useful content.

But Vids is more than just a creation tool. Share your creations with colleagues, and they can comment, leave notes, or even jump in and edit themselves. It’s all about seamless collaboration, much like Google’s other productivity apps. “Imagine a spreadsheet, but in video form,” says Behr. Sharing a Vid isn’t just handing over a file – it’s opening a conversation.

Vids isn’t the first player in this space. Tools like Loom and Descript offer similar video-focused functionality. Even project management platforms and Vimeo are getting in on the act. Google might be late to the party, but their bet is clear: the future of work is video-centric. With remote work on the rise and video communication booming, Google believes employees will spend less time hunched over emails and more time crafting impactful videos. Their secret weapon? Tight integration with the existing suite of Google tools, with even more to come, including mobile support.

One surprising omission? YouTube, Google’s video giant. While there’s some shared technology under the hood, Behr emphasizes the distinct purposes: “The audience and use cases are completely different. Vids is for work, by workers. We’re laser-focused on that specific need.” Vids is slated for a public beta launch this summer. Early testers within Workspace are already seeing trends emerge – short, focused videos under three minutes, perfect for pitches, training, team updates, or celebrating achievements. Behr herself has ditched her email recaps in favour of Vids, finding that viewers appreciate the added layer of personality.

Vids could have easily been bolted onto Slides or Docs. But by giving it its own space, Google sends a clear message: this isn’t just another presentation tool, it’s a paradigm shift in information sharing. While Google’s app graveyard is vast, the Docs-Sheets-Slides trio remains a tech titan. Vids aspires to join those ranks, permanently altering how we communicate in the digital age.

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