Source Code: Your daily look at what matters in tech.

source-codesource codeauthorKaryne LevyNoneWant your finger on the pulse of everything that's happening in tech? Sign up to get David Pierce's daily newsletter.64fd3cbe9f
×

Get access to Protocol

Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

I’m already a subscriber
Power

Everyone loves a foldable phone

Both Google and Microsoft filed foldable-phone-related patents this week. Could more bendy phones be on the horizon?

A drawing of a paper origami crane

Is this the next Pixel Phone?

Image: Protocol

Another week of neat patent filings from the big tech companies. Amazon wants to help you not waste time, Apple cares about battery life, and both Google and Microsoft have bendy phones on the brain.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

Alphabet

Foldable screen for a bendy phone

Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have loved the idea of a big phone — bigger screen, longer battery life, easier to hold — but wish that it could do what a small phone does: fit comfortably in a pocket. Everyone from LG to Samsung to Motorola has tried to make foldable phones in the last few years, but none have hit the mainstream. The main complaint is that the screen is too fragile to withstand all that folding.

This patent imagines making a foldable screen that attaches to the foldable OLED screen, giving the entire thing a little more structure, durability and support. It outlines various configurations of links and brackets that can bend and move in various ways. Looks like the Pixel might have a bendy future.

Amazon

Your order's ready

My favorite thing to do during quarantine was pick up orders: I ordered something via an app, and was then alerted when my order was ready. Then I'd hop in the car, park in a designated spot and pop the trunk so the sales associate could put my bags in the car. Each store had various levels of sophistication on how their app worked. Some asked you to text a number when you got there, some asked you to enter your spot number into the app. And some, like this patent describes, just knew when you were coming.

This patent lays out how a store can be alerted when a customer is coming, so neither the customer nor the salesperson needs to sit around and wait. By having the customer opt in for the app to track their location, speed or direction, the app can make a pretty solid guess about when the customer will show up. Or, by using geographical fences, the salesperson could be alerted how far away the customer is, and do various tasks (start grabbing things off the shelves, for example) that will make pickup orders even more efficient.

Apple

Better way to find your friends

The Find My feature on the iPhone lets you find the location of your Apple devices, if you have it turned on on each device. It also lets you send your location to friends and family, and if they want, they can share their location with you, too. It's key for parents, who want to keep an eye on where their teens are going. And it's fun to share your location with friends, so you don't have to ever text "When will you be here??" again.

The problem with location tracking is that it eats up a ton of battery and system resources. But this patent imagines a way to save battery life, as it assumes that you don't always need to know someone's precise location (what the patent calls a "deep location"). If you do want to know more precisely where your friends are, you can ask Find My to go a little deeper, which is where the battery-sucking GPS comes in, but only briefly, and you can even stop sharing your location completely after even just a few minutes.

Understand my crappy handwriting better

I don't have the best handwriting, but if you asked my iPhone what it thought of my handwriting, it would tell you that I don't know what I'm doing. But it's not my fault! The iPhone has a hard time figuring out what I'm trying to say even when I write block letters in all caps. This patent wants to make writing on a phone even easier, by tweaking the way the phone recognizes inputs, including how hard you press on the screen.

Facebook

AR for everyone

As AR devices become more popular in enterprise, IT departments will have to figure out how to maintain all the devices so that they're up to date and don't have any issues. This patent wants to make that process a bit easier, by allowing multiple devices to be maintained and updated at once.

Sign in much faster

There's absolutely nothing worse than using an AR or VR device and having to type in a password, letter by letter, hoping that you don't mess something up because it makes you want to throw something. This patent offers various alternatives, including using a phone number or numbered code to log you in much faster.

Microsoft

Another foldable phone?

Looks like the foldable Pixel Phone might have some competition: Microsoft is also thinking about a foldable phone future, but of the UI, not the screen itself. It lays out all the various ways that the UI can turn ugly if it's in a folded or unfolded state. Maybe Google and Microsoft should team up on a Windows Pixel Phone?

Protocol | Workplace

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit has opened the floodgates

An employee walkout, a tumbling stock price and damning new reports of misconduct.

Activision Blizzard is being sued for widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination.

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard is in crisis mode. The World of Warcraft publisher was the subject of a shocking lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing last week over claims of widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination against female employees. The resulting fallout has only intensified by the day, culminating in a 500-person walkout at the headquarters of Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine on Wednesday.

The company's stock price has tumbled nearly 10% this week, and CEO Bobby Kotick acknowledged in a message to employees Tuesday that Activision Blizzard's initial response was "tone deaf." Meanwhile, there has been a continuous stream of new reports unearthing horrendous misconduct as more and more former and current employees speak out about the working conditions and alleged rampant misogyny at one of the video game industry's largest and most powerful employers.

Keep Reading Show less
Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

Keep Reading Show less
Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
Protocol | Workplace

Founder sues the company that acquired her startup

Knoq founder Kendall Hope Tucker is suing the company that acquired her startup for discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Kendall Hope Tucker, founder of Knoq, is suing Ad Practitioners, which acquired her company last year.

Photo: Kendall Hope Tucker

Kendall Hope Tucker felt excited when she sold her startup last December. Tucker, the founder of Knoq, was sad to "give up control of a company [she] had poured five years of [her] heart, soul and energy into building," she told Protocol, but ultimately felt hopeful that selling it to digital media company Ad Practitioners was the best financial outcome for her, her team and her investors. Now, seven months later, Tucker is suing Ad Practitioners alleging discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Knoq found success selling its door-to-door sales and analytics services to companies such as Google Fiber, Inspire Energy, Fluent Home and others. Knoq representatives would walk around neighborhoods, knocking on doors to market its customers' products and services. The pandemic, however, threw a wrench in its business. Prior to the acquisition, Knoq says it raised $6.5 million from Initialized Capital, Haystack.vc, Techstars and others.

Keep Reading Show less
Megan Rose Dickey
Megan Rose Dickey is a senior reporter at Protocol covering labor and diversity in tech. Prior to joining Protocol, she was a senior reporter at TechCrunch and a reporter at Business Insider.
dei
Protocol | Workplace

What’s the purpose of a chief purpose officer?

Cisco's EVP and chief people, policy & purpose officer shares how the company is creating a more conscious and hybrid work culture.

Like many large organizations, the leaders at Cisco spent much of the past year working to ensure their employees had an inclusive and flexible workplace while everyone worked from home during the pandemic. In doing so, they brought a new role into the mix. In March 2021 Francine Katsoudas transitioned from EVP and chief people officer to chief people, policy & purpose Officer.

For many, the role of a purpose officer is new. Purpose officers hold their companies accountable to their mission and the people who work for them. In a conversation with Protocol, Katsoudas shared how she is thinking about the expanded role and the future of hybrid work at Cisco.

Keep Reading Show less
Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

Protocol | Fintech

The digital dollar is coming. The payments industry is worried.

Jodie Kelley heads the Electronic Transactions Association. The trade group's members, who process $7 trillion a year in payments, want a say in the digital currency.

Jodie Kelley is CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association.

Photo: Electronic Transactions Association

The Electronic Transactions Association launched in 1990 just as new technologies, led by the World Wide Web, began upending the world of commerce and finance.

The disruption hasn't stopped.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Latest Stories