Jan 24, 2019

Phone makers are experimenting with funky designs

Samsung teased a foldable smartphone at a 2018 developer conference. Photo: Samsung

After years of reducing the smartphone to as much a pure thin screen as possible, the industry is finally ready to start experimenting again.

What's happening: Foldable phones are expected from a number of device makers, while others are experimenting with clamshell and other abandoned but once-popular configurations.

  • Samsung, which briefly showed a foldable phone prototype at its developer conference last year, is expected to ship a consumer device "early this year."
  • Xiaomi posted a video this week of co-founder Bin Lin with a phone that folded in two places and appeared sleeker than what Samsung showed.
  • LG is teasing what appears to be gesture controls for its Mobile World Congress phone launch.
  • Motorola, meanwhile, is planning a pricey, modern version of its once-popular Razr clamshell device, per WSJ.

Our thought bubble: Yes. these devices are coming, but whether they offer enough benefit to justify their added cost remains to be seen.

Go deeper: Have phones become boring? Well, they're about to get weird. (Wired)

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Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers

McEntee, shown with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, walks on the South Lawn of the White House Jan. 9. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday, in which he asked them to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump, three sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: McEntee, a 29-year-old former body man to Trump who was fired in 2018 by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly but recently rehired — and promoted to head the presidential personnel office — foreshadowed sweeping personnel changes across government.

How art can help us understand AI

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Activists and journalists have been telling us for years that we are handing too much of our human autonomy over to machines and algorithms. Now artists have a showcase in the heart of Silicon Valley to highlight concerns around facial recognition, algorithmic bias and automation.

Why it matters: Art and technology have been partners for millennia, as Steve Jobs liked to remind us. But the opening of "Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI" tomorrow at the de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park puts art in the role of technology's questioner, challenger — and sometimes prosecutor.

The Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight is the rematch of the century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.

The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.

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