KotlinConf kicks off with Kotlin 1.2 RC

The Kotlin programming language is getting a number of new updates and improvements as part of the inaugural KotlinConf taking place in San Francisco this week. Kotlin is a statically typed programming language for modern multiplatform applications developed by JetBrains.

The big announcement from the conference’s keynote was the release of Kotlin 1.2 Release Candidate. The new release will include experimental support for multiplatform projects, language improvements, support for array literals in annotations, and compiler enhancements.

In addition, the Kotlin team announced support for iOS development with Kotlin/Native. Kotlin/Native is designed to compile Kotlin directly to machine code. iOS support is being released as part of Kotlin/Native 0.4. “This support is still in its early days, but it’s there, and it’s a major step on our path of enabling Kotlin development on all platforms,” Dmitry Jemerov, software developer for JetBrains, wrote in a post.

Earlier this year, the programming language made headlines when Google announced it would support Kotlin in Android. Since then, the Android team has seen more than 17% of Android Studio projects using Kotlin.

“We are really excited about the strong momentum, and we are thrilled that Android developers all over the world are discovering the joy of Kotlin programming,” James Lau, product manager for Android, wrote in a post. “Kotlin for Android is production-ready. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, developers are already using Kotlin to build their apps. Developers from Pinterest, to Expedia, to Basecamp — and many others — are finding their use of Kotlin is increasing productivity and their overall developer happiness levels.”

Google recently released Android Studio 3.0 with Kotlin support built-in.

Other announcements from the keynote included: Kotlin/Native IDE support, a initial preview version of the Kotlin/Native plugin for CLion; Ktor 0.9, a asynchronous coroutine-based Web framework built from Kotlin; and official Kotlin wrappers for React.js. According to the team, the new wrappers are perhaps the biggest news for web front-end development with Kotlin. The new feature enables developers to create modern web apps using React and Kotlin, without having to worry about project setup and build configuration.

“As for the future evolution of the language, our main goal at this time is to enable better and broader code reuse between the platforms supported by Kotlin. We plan to extend the set of libraries available on all platforms with the same API to include I/O, networking, serialization, date handling and more,” Jemerov wrote.

The focus of Kotlin 1.3 will include internal changes such as better performance, improved type inference, and improved responsiveness of IDE plugins.

GitHub Universe outlines plans for the future of software development

About ten years ago, GitHub embarked on a journey to create a platform that brought together the world’s largest developer community. Now that the company believes it has reached its initial goals, it is looking to the future with plans to expand the ecosystem and transform the way developers code through new tools and data.

“Development hasn’t had that much innovation arguably in the past 20 years. Today, we finally get to talk about what we think is the next 20 years, and that is development that is fundamentally different and driven by data,” said Miju Han, engineering manager of data science at GitHub.

The company announced new tools at its GitHub Universe conference in San Francisco that leverages its community data to protect developer code, provide greater security, and enhance the GitHub experience.

“It is clear that security is desperately needed for all of our users, open source and businesses alike. Everyone using GitHub needs security. We heard from our first open source survey this year that open source users view security and stability above all else, but at the same time we see that not everyone has the bandwidth to have a security team,” said Han.

GitHub is leveraging its data to help developers manage the complexity of dependencies in their code with the newly announced dependency graph. The dependency graph enables developers to easily keep track of their packages and applications without leaving their repository. It currently supports Ruby and JavaScript, with plans to add Python support in the near future.

In addition, the company revealed new security alerts that will use human data and machine learning to track when dependencies are associated with public security vulnerabilities, and recommend a security fix for it.

“This is one of the first times where we are going from hosting code to saying this is how it could be better, this is how it could be different,” said Han.

On the GitHub experience side, the company announced the ability to discover new projects with news feed and explore capabilities. “We want people to dig deeper into their interests and learn more, which is one of the core things it means to be a developer,” said Han.

The new news feed capabilities allows users to discover repositories right from their dashboard, and gain recommendations on open source projects to explore. The recommendations will be based off of people users are following, their starred repositories, and popular GitHub project.

“You’re in control of the recommendations you see: Want to contribute to more Python projects? Star projects like Django or pandas, follow their maintainers, and you’ll find similar projects in your feed. The ‘Browse activity’ feed in your dashboard will continue to bring you the latest updates directly from repositories you star and people you follow,” the company wrote in a blog.

The “Explore” experience has been completely redesigned to connect users with curated collections, topics, and resources so they can dig into a specific interest like machine learning or data protection, according to Han.

Han went on to explain that the newly announced features are just the beginning of how the company plans to take code, make it better, and create an ecosystem that helps developers move forward.

“These experiences are a first step in using insights to complement your workflow with opportunities and recommendations, but there’s so much more to come. With a little help from GitHub data, we hope to help you find work you’re interested in, write better code, fix bugs faster, and make your GitHub experience totally unique to you,” the company wrote.

Lori Systems wins Best of Show at Startup Battlefield Africa

At the very beginning, there were 15 startups coming from all around Africa. After an incredibly fierce competition in Nairobi, Kenya, here are the winners of TechCrunch’s first ever Startup Battlefield Africa.

Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $25,000 and an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to compete in TechCrunch’s flagship event — Disrupt SF 2018.

TechCrunch judges also selected a winner in each of the three categories: productivity and utility, social good, and gaming and entertainment.

And now, meet the Startup Battlefield winners of Startup Battlefield Africa.

Best of Show and category winner: Lori Systems

Lori Systems is a local startup based in Nairobi. It has been building a logistics platform to improve cargo transportation across Africa. Most importantly, Lori Systems can optimize truck utilization so that you don’t waste time and money.

The company also handles invoicing, payment and tracking. It’s an all-in-one platform that leverages technology to elegantly solve logistics issues that have been around for a while. Lori Systems has been named Best of Show and won the productivity and utility category.

Social good category winner: AgroCenta

AgroCenta is helping more than 8,000 farmers to improve the agricultural value chain. In particular, small farmers in rural areas are facing many challenges to access large markets. The startup is helping them cut out the middlemen, and optimize truck deliveries to large markets thanks to an online marketplace.

When farmers get an order, they can handle all the logistics through AgroCenta. More importantly, many farmers can now generate decent revenue, which leads to a better standard of living.

Gaming and entertainment category winner: SynCommerce

SynCommerce wins the prize in the gaming and entertainment category, which also included fashion. The company has been working on the perfect service for e-merchants. If you’re running a small e-commerce business, you know that it can be painful to list your products on multiple e-commerce websites.

SynCommerce lets you list all your products on Shopify, eBay, Etsy, and soon BigCommerce and Amazon. The service can even look at your inventory and hide products on all your platforms if you’ve run out of stock. Existing customers have been noticed a huge increase in sales after switching to SynCommerce.

Building Financial Solutions Using Stellar

Stellar is a platform that connects banks, payment systems, and people. Integrate to move money quickly, reliably, and at almost no cost. Currently used by multiple fintech businesses that facilitate micropayments, remittances, and mobile money. During the workshop, led by Stellar’s team, we will:

  • Learn about Stellar
  • Build MVP of our ideas (in micropayment, remittances, or mobile money)
  • Learn how to participate in the upcoming Stellar Build Challenge

 

Location

OMG Digital, Inc, HQ, East Legon

Time

Starts: Saturday, 7 October, 2017 11:00am

Ends: Saturday, 7 October, 2017 02:00pm

 

Visit https://egotickets.com to order your ticket now!

 

About Stellar

Stellar.org connects people to low-cost financial services to fight poverty and develop individual potential.
Interested? We’re hiring! Explore jobs at Stellar.org.


Event: Facebook Developer Circles Accra Launch Meetup

The inaugural meetup for the Facebook Developer Circles Accra is happening this weekend.

The first meetup of the Facebook Developer Circles Accra is bringing together developers from within and outside Accra to connect, learn and collaborate with each other to share knowledge, build ideas and learn about new technologies.

For the first meetup, there will be technical presentations from the likes of Edem Kumodzi (Andela, Storefoundry), Chiamaka Nwolisa (AFRadio) and Ashwin Ravichandran (Meltwater Incubator).

There will also be a panel discussion which will discuss how developers can best position themselves to either start tech companies or get jobs in Ghana.

Speakers

 

Edem Kumodzi

Senior Developer at Andela and Co-Founder of StoreFoundry


Chiamaka Nwolisa

React Native Developer at AFRadio


Ashwin Ravichandran

General Manager of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology Incubator (MEST)

Location, Date and Time

The event will be held at the Meltwater Incubator (East Legon) on September 30, 2017. The event is expected to start at 2:00 PM and end at 5:00 PM.

 

And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2017 is… Pi

At the very beginning, there were 22 startups. After three days of incredibly fierce competition, we now have a winner.

Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup.

After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to six finalists: Augmedics, colormass, Future Family, Matic, Onēva and Pi.

These startups made their way to the finale to demo in front of our final panel of judges, which included: Theresia Gouw (Aspect Ventures), Kirsten Green (Forerunner Ventures), Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures), Ann Miura-Ko (Floodgate), Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch) and Krishna Yeshwant (GV).

Applications for the Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin are now open. Please apply if you’d like to participate.

And now, meet the Startup Battlefield winner of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017.

Winner: Pi

Pi is building a device that can charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction. It’s not the full-room charging concept that other companies have spent years trying to tackle, but it provides a good bit more flexibility over a pad.

Read more about Pi in our separate post.

Runner-up: Oneva

Onēva enables employers to offer elder, infant and child care, as well as housecleaning and other in-home services, as employee benefits. All of Onēva’s providers are verified through FBI background checks, criminal background checks, reference checks and ID verification.

Read more about Onēva in our separate post.

We’ve just watched 22 startups take the stage as part of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF, where they showed off their technology and answered tough questions from expert judges.

We’ve winnowed them down to the following six finalists, who will be presenting for a whole new panel of judges. At the end of the day, one of them will take home the Battlefield Cup and $50,000.

Tune in tomorrow at 2pm Pacific to watch the finals.

Augmedics

Augmedics is an Israeli startup working on augmented reality headsets for surgeons performing spinal surgery. Instead of making you look away from your patient, the the company’s Vizor acts as a heads-up display and gives you greatly enhanced perception.

colormass

Berlin-based colormass has developed a platform that lets you recreate an IKEA-style experience for your own merchandise. A furniture company supplies its own production files and colormass uses computer vision algorithms to convert these images into lifelike 3D files that can be altered with different textures and colors.

Future Family

Future Family aims to simplify the world of female fertility testing, all while bringing down the cost of treatment options. It’s now offering fertility testing for men as well, with a new product called the Sperm Activity Test.

Matic

Matic wants to make the process of finding the right homeowner’s insurance easier and more efficient. Its solution leverages technology to simplify this process, while also personalizing the experience of receiving quotes and recommendations.

Oneva

Onēva enables employers to offer elder, infant and child care, as well as housecleaning and other in-home services, as employee benefits. All of Onēva’s providers are verified through FBI background checks, criminal background checks, reference checks and ID verification.

Pi

Pi is building a device that can charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction. It’s not the full-room charging concept that other companies have spent years trying to tackle, but it provides a good bit more flexibility over a pad.

Apple’s iPhone X event: How to watch live

Apple is about to kick off its most important event in years.

The company is expected to announce new iPhones — including a high-end device, potentially called the iPhone X — plus a new Apple Watch and Apple TV device, and maybe some more information about its HomePod speakers. It’s the first-ever press event at the company’s new Steve Jobs Theater, part of its recently opened Apple Park “spaceship” campus in Cupertino, Calif.

The keynote kicks off today, Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 10 am PT, 1 pm ET. (That’s 6 pm in London and 1 am Wednesday in Hong Kong.) Recode will be in attendance, and will cover the event — click here for the latest. Other live coverage options include The Verge and Six Colors.

Apple plans to livestream the event on its website and via its devices, but you’ll need to use one that’s compatible with its livestreaming technology. These include: “iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 9.0 or later, a Mac with Safari on macOS v10.11 or later, or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.” You can also use an Apple TV streaming device, provided it’s a second- or third-generation device with software 6.2 or later or the latest, fourth-generation Apple TV.

MWC 2017, or Mobile World Congress 2017 to give it its full name, is the world’s biggest phone show, and this year it’s happening right now – from February 27 to March 2,.

Many of 2017’s most high-profile handsets have been announced over the course of the show, including theSony Xperia X2, Huawei P10 and LG G6; but it’s not just phones that we’ll see, with tablets, smartwatches all getting an airing.

THE TOP LAUNCHES AT MWC

– LG G6
– Huawei P10
– Huawei P10 Plus
– Huawei Watch 2
– Huawei Watch 2 Classic
– Moto G5
– Moto G5 Plus
– Nokia 3310
– Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
– Samsung Galaxy Book
– Sony Xperia XZs
– Sony Xperia XZ Premium
– Sony XA1
– Sony XA1 Ultra

The launches of MWC 2017

All the phone, tablet and wearable launches of MWC so far…

g6

LG G6

The G6 is a possibly game-changing phone from LG, which has dialled back on innovation to deliver a simply solid handset.

power2

LG X Power 2

LG’s new X Power 2 may offer great battery life and an attractive design, but it’s limited in storage and doesn’t feature a high-resolution screen.

xz-pre

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

A strong phone from Sony with excellent innovation in the screen. However, it all depends on how much this monster of a phone will cost, and whether the streamed 4K footage actually looks good on here at all.

xzs

Sony Xperia XZs

The smaller of Sony’s new flagship phones does lack on specs in some respects, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing… it all depends on whether it comes with a correspondingly low price.

xa1

Sony Xperia XA1

the Sony Xperia XA1 is a great-looking phone on the table, and the low specs should equal a palatable, low price.

xa1-ultra

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra

The Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra is a massive phone, but one that operates well enough under one finger (if you can hold it straight, that is…)

g5

Moto G5

The Moto G5 is being touted as a “premium for all” smartphone, but it won’t be launching in the US, unlike the slightly bigger Moto G5 Plus. Saying that, the Moto G5 is the budget phone with little compromise.

g5

Moto G5 Plus

Moto’s good reputation in the budget phone market is likely to be furthered by the G5 Plus, It carries on the best traits from the G4 Plus, but improves upon it in some meaningful ways that could make it a no-brainer to purchase.

p10

Huawei P10

The Huawei P10 looks to be a great phone you’ll love if you’re upgrading from a two year old handset, but not much has changed here to keep true Huawei fans thrilled by the flagship line.

p10

Huawei P10 Plus

While disappointing to see hardware specs making a re-re-reappearance, the Huawei P10 Plus is a bigger, slightly better version of the slick P10.

nokia6

Nokia 6

The Nokia 6 blends premium design, solid specs and an affordable price tag into a handset which could well put the brand back on the mobile map.

nokia5

Nokia 5

For the price, the Nokia 5 seems to offer an excellent selection of features, but it’s surrounded by equally capable handsets above and below it.

nokia3

Nokia 3

The Nokia 3 looks to be a strong budget offering and its stylish design and extremely low price tag could shake up the market. If you want more options, though, opt for the Nokia 5 or go premium with the Nokia 6.

Hands on: Nokia 3 review

3310

Nokia 3310

For those who fondly remember the Nokia 3310 the new model will almost be a no-brainer of a purchase. Its low price, pleasing feature set and long battery life make it appealing for anyone looking for a back-up handset, festival phone or just a simple retro buy.

blade-v8

ZTE Blade V8 Lite

The ZTE Blade V8 Lite is true to its name, offering a smartphone that’s light on powerful specs but provides a more than adequately bright 1080p display. It’s going to be affordable when it launches in Italy, Germany and Spain, and it’s aiming to rival the Moto G5 with its budget-friendly features and design.

blade-v8-mini

ZTE Blade V8 Mini

The ZTE V8 Mini Pro provides a quick upgrade to new software and features, with Android 7.0 Nougat onboard and a dual-lens camera that produces photos you can refocus. It has a budget-friendly Qualcommm chipset that makes it affordable if you’re on a tight budget.

haier-l7

Haier L7

The Haier L7 is a perfunctory addition to the unremarkable everyman ranks of upper middle range Android handsets.

bb-keyone

BlackBerry KeyOne

The BlackBerry KeyOne has an odd name, odd design and is all round just a bit odd. The full physical keyboard will interest hardcore fans, but there are better Android phones on the market for the general public.

huawei-watch2

Huawei Watch 2

The Huawei Watch 2 may fulfill your every need with its impressive suite of sensors and improved battery life, but the design may keep you waiting for what comes next.

huawei-watch-2-classic

Huawei Watch 2 Classic

The Huawei Watch 2 Classic is a stylish wearable, and a tempting option if you want to get Android Wear 2.0 on your wrist, prefer a more formal look than the Watch 2 and aren’t looking for extensive fitness features.

sony-ear

Sony Xperia Ear

It’s far too early to pass judgement on these new wearables, but while they’re still largely pointless at this stage the direction Sony is taking – making wearable accessories more useful and attractive – is a great thing to see.

lenovo-t4

Lenovo Tab 4

Lenovo’s new tablet range puts value ahead of tech specs, but its first-class design basically makes up for it. The line-up is missing a stand-out feature, but that’s about as bad as it gets here.

galaxy-tab-s3

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The Tab S3 has a lot in common with 2015’s slate, with some good spec upgrades. The screen doesn’t look as bright as it could, but the new design and focus on productivity could pay dividends. However, Android still isn’t the best operating system for a tablet, and there’s not a lot Samsung can do to push past that.

galaxy-book

Samsung Galaxy Book

The Galaxy Book appears to bring small, but meaningful updates to last year’s Tab Pro S, but we won’t know how it stands up to everyday tasks until the full review.

porshe

Porsche Design Book

The Book One is about as alluring as Ultrabooks come, pairing a stunning design with performance that will likely stack up with the leaders, like the Microsoft Surface Book. Keep your eyes on this one.

touch

Sony Xperia Touch

A novel concept, but one we can’t see being too alluring in this iteration. However, make it slimmer, more portable and brighter, and there’s a lot to like about having a 23-inch tablet in your pocket at all times… Sony’s onto something here, but the Xperia Touch has a long way to go before this is a must-have product.