Here's a weekly recap of what made news in the world of science and technology this week.
Foldable smartphones are all the rage: be it the recently launched Google Pixel Fold or the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. According to the Counterpoint Research foldable tracker and foldable insight report, the global foldable smartphone market increased 64% YoY in Q1 2023, based on sell-in volume, to reach 2.5 million units. This strong growth was largely driven by the growth in the Chinese foldable market. "Although the Chinese smartphone market declined by about 8% YoY in Q1 2023, the domestic foldable market continued to grow, surging 117% YoY to 1.08 million units," a Counterpoint Research press release said.
Also read: Why we continue to love foldable phones
According to the global technology market research firm, the foldable smartphone markets in almost all major regions, including China, North America and Western Europe, displayed strong growth in Q1 2023. Both Oppo and Samsung were two of the noteworthy performers, the insight report said.
Internet users had a field on social media this week after the Mark Zuckerberg-led Meta rolled out its latest app - Threads - on Wednesday, 5 July. The new text-based app, where people can post text and links as well as reply to or repost messages, is linked to a user's Instagram account. According to an Associated Press report, the app, billed as the text version of Meta's photo-sharing platform Instagram, became available to users in more than 100 countries — including the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan. Despite some early glitches, 30 million people had signed up before noon on Thursday, Zuckerberg said on Threads. The microblogging experience on Threads is very similar to Twitter, the report adds. Users can repost, reply to or quote a thread, for example, and can see the number of likes and replies that a post has received. “Threads” can run up to 500 characters — as compared with Twitter’s 280-character limit — and can include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long, the AP report explains.
The app's launch, however, was not all smooth sailing. Elon Musk's Twitter reportedly threatened legal action against Meta, accusing the company of unlawfully using Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property by hiring former Twitter employees to create a “copycat” app, another AP report said.
The planet's average temperature set a new unofficial record high on 6 June. That's not all. It was the third such milestone in a week that is already rated as the hottest on record and what one prominent scientist says could be the hottest in 120,000 years, an Associated Press report said. Thursday's planetary average surpassed the 62.9-degree mark (17.18-degree mark) set on Tuesday and equaled Wednesday, according to data from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, a tool that uses satellite data and computer simulations to measure the world’s condition. Until Monday, no day had passed the 17-degree Celsius mark (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the tool's 44 years of records, the AP report said. In another critical climate change update, the World Meteorological Organization announced on 4 July that El Niño conditions have developed in tropical Pacific Ocean and that the world should prepare for a surge in global temperatures. To read more on what this means and how this could lead to adverse weather events around the word, read the Climate Change Tracker.
(Compiled by Nitin Sreedhar, with inputs from agencies)