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Samsung made a new 50-megapixel image sensor with the smallest pixels yet

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In brief: Samsung’s newest 50-megapixel image sensor affords the company bragging rights for the smallest pixel size in a mobile image sensor, and the company says its 1/2.76-inch optical format and the use of ISOCELL 2.0 technology makes it the ideal choice for phones with multi-camera setups.

The megapixel race is far from over in the smartphone world, which is why Samsung just announced a new image sensor for phones that supposedly has the smallest pixel size achieved to date for a mobile image sensor.

What this means is that manufacturers are going back to making higher resolution cameras for the sake of a better spec sheet in mid-range and high-end phones. The new Samsung ISOCELL JN1 sensor has 50 million pixels crammed into a tiny 1/2.76-inch optical format, with each pixel measuring no more than 0.64μm in size. The company holds the previous record with the ISOCELL Slim GH1 from 2019, a 43.7-megapixel sensor with pixels measuring 0.7μm.

That’s not to say that having smaller pixels is necessarily the goal, as professional photographers have good reasons for going with larger sensors, among them better performance low-light scenarios. Samsung says it built the new sensor to be easily integrated in camera modules on a variety of phone designs, where space is at a premium and manufacturers aim for ever slimmer profiles with little to no protrusions.

With the ISOCELL JN1, the company employs its new ISOCELL 2.0 tech to reduce crosstalk, boost color fidelity, and allows pixels to absorb 16 percent more light thanks to a new reflective material used in the lower part of the color filter barriers. The new sensor also makes use of Samsung’s Tetrapixel technology that does four-to-one pixel binning to increase picture quality in low-light with the compromise of dropping the resolution to 12.5-megapixels.

Other notable aspects of the new sensor include support for 4K video capture at 60 frames per second, or 1080p at 240 frames per second, and the integration of Samsung’s “Double Super PD” autofocus. The ISOCELL JN1 is now in mass production, so it won’t be long before we see it in actual products.

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Windows 11 will change how you use your PC

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People who want to jump between entirely different desktops can do that, too. Not only can you have different desktops for home, school and work, but they’ll also follow you around to whatever Windows 11 computer you’re using. Your different computers can sync up over the cloud: Leave work, open your laptop at home, and your screen should be just how you left it — windows, tabs and all. The Start menu even saves your most recent files, so you don’t have to click around to reopen them.

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BuzzFeed Confirms Plan to Go Public

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BuzzFeed, the digital publisher known for viral content, announced on Thursday its plan to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, signaling a shift in the business strategy of the once high-flying media start-up.

BuzzFeed said it planned to merge with a publicly listed shell company, 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, in what is known as a SPAC deal. It will be valued at $1.5 billion, a decline from its 2016 valuation of $1.7 billion. As part of the proposed transaction, BuzzFeed will raise $438 million, with $150 million of that coming as debt financing.

BuzzFeed also announced that it would acquire Complex Networks in the deal for a total of $300 million, with $200 million in cash and the rest in stock. Known primarily for its pop culture coverage, Complex also hosts events on food, sports and sneaker collecting.

Jonah Peretti, the founder and chief executive of BuzzFeed, announced the merger at a news conference at the company’s Manhattan headquarters. “This is a very exciting day for BuzzFeed and a great day for our employees and our partners,” he said.

Once seen as the future of the media, BuzzFeed has become something of an outlier in an industry that has lately rewarded subscription-driven publications and newsletter platforms. If the investors in 890 Fifth Avenue vote in favor of the transaction, BuzzFeed expects to close the deal by the end of the year, and the shares will trade under ticker symbol BZFD.

Adam Rothstein, the executive chairman of 890 Fifth Avenue Partners and a venture investor known for investments in Israeli tech start-ups, will join BuzzFeed’s board. Made up of veterans from the worlds of finance and media, the board includes current and former executives at ESPN, NBC, Playboy, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Subversive Capital and the A&E cable network.

BuzzFeed’s institutional shareholders, which include media giants like NBCUniversal and venture capitalists, will be subject to a six-month lockup period after the deal closes, preventing them from selling shares immediately. But former BuzzFeed employees should be able to cash out any shares they may own as soon as the company goes public. Mr. Peretti said in an interview that he would have majority control over the new BuzzFeed once the merger closes through a special class of shares.

“To me it was important to have the ability to really focus on the long term of the company and balance all the constituencies and stakeholders and to have founder control was a way to do that,” he said. Other publicly traded media companies, including The New York Times, have similar arrangements.

Mr. Peretti’s growth strategy appears to hinge on acquiring companies — in part to gain leverage over major distributors like Google and Facebook, but also because BuzzFeed has yet to achieve the kind of needed scale on its own.

In 2018, he quietly sought possible mergers with competitors such as Vice Media, Group Nine and Vox Media. In November, Mr. Peretti orchestrated BuzzFeed’s acquisition of HuffPost, the site he helped found in 2005 with Arianna Huffington and the investor Kenneth Lerer.

With the addition of Complex, BuzzFeed expects revenue to grow 24 percent to $521 million this year with pretax profit of about $57 million. Next year, it estimates revenue will hit $654 million and pretax profit $117 million.

Still, that may not be enough.

“We’ll have opportunities to pursue more acquisitions, and there are more exciting companies out there that we want to pursue,” Mr. Peretti said during the news conference on Thursday.

When asked which companies he might look to acquire, he responded: “I don’t know. You have any ideas?”

Hatched out of a small office in New York’s Chinatown in 2006, when Mr. Peretti was the chief technology officer of The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed started as an experiment in creating content meant to be shared on the web. He left what is now HuffPost in 2011, after AOL bought it for $315 million, and ended up transforming his project into a stand-alone media company with the help of $35 million from investors.

BuzzFeed soon became one of the fastest-growing digital publishers, eventually raising $500 million, and was hailed as the future of news media. But in recent years, it has missed ambitious revenue targets, and some of its investors have agitated for a sale.

After a series of layoffs in 2019, BuzzFeed started to diversify its business, selling branded cookware and ramping up its product recommendation section, garnering a commission on each sale through affiliate agreements with Amazon and other companies. “Our model evolved,” Mr. Peretti said in an interview last year.

SPAC deals, once an arcane Wall Street maneuver, have become more common over the last year. Special purpose acquisition companies — shell corporations that list on a stock exchange — are usually created with the goal of buying a private business and taking it public.

Group Nine, the BuzzFeed rival, has gone a different route. It created a SPAC of its own in December, with the aim of finding a company to acquire before going public.

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Crackonosh: How hackers are using gamers to become crypto-rich

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Crackonosh malware, which mines for cryptocurrency, is being hidden in free versions of popular games.
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