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Privacy Advocates Complain To FTC Over WhatsApp Privacy Policy Changes

August 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

WhatsApp-logo-150x150Privacy groups in the U.S. have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission that changes last week in WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy reneges on its previous promise that user data collected would not be used or disclosed for marketing purposes.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy have described the changes as an unfair and deceptive trade practice, subject to an investigation and injunction by the FTC, in their complaint Monday.

WhatsApp said last week it will be sharing some account information of users with Facebook and its companies,including the mobile phone numbers they verified when they registered with WhatsApp. The sharing of information will enable users to see better friend suggestions and more relevant ads on Facebook, it added.

Messages, photos, and account information shared on the messaging app would not be shared on Facebook or any of the Facebook family of apps for others to see, WhatsApp said.

For Facebook, which paid $22 billion for WhatsApp, the changes are an attempt by the social networking company to earn revenue from the platform.

The company that Facebook acquired some two years ago is likely to claim that it is not in violation of any promise made previously as it is giving users the choice to opt out of the new program.

Users are being prompted to tap to “Agree” to the updated terms of service and privacy policies. They can also opt out within 30 days on the account settings by unchecking the relevant box or toggling the control regarding sharing of account information.

If users opt out, “the Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities,” the company said.

 

AT&T Data Throttling Lawsuit Dismissed

August 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

A federal appeals court in California has tossed outATT-logo-5-150x150 a U.S. government lawsuit that accused AT&T Inc of deception for reducing internet speeds for customers with unlimited mobile data plans once their use exceeded certain levels.

The company, however, could still face a fine from the Federal Communications Commission regarding the slowdowns, also called “data throttling.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said it ordered a lower court to dismiss the data-throttling lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC sued AT&T on the grounds that the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier failed to inform consumers it would slow the speeds of heavy data users on unlimited plans. In some cases, data speeds were slowed by nearly 90 percent, the lawsuit said.

The FTC said the practice was deceptive and, as a result, barred under the Federal Trade Commission Act. AT&T argued that there was an exception for common carriers, and the appeals court agreed.

Asked about the appeals court ruling, a spokesman for AT&T said: “We’re pleased with the decision.”

An FTC spokesman said the agency has not yet decided whether to appeal. “We are disappointed with the ruling and are considering our options for moving forward,” FTC spokesman Jay Mayfield wrote in an emailed comment.

The company, however, could face action from the FCC. In June 2015, the agency proposed a fine of $100 million for AT&T’s alleged failure to inform customers with unlimited data plans about the speed reductions. AT&T has contested that proposed fine.

 

Android Malware Using Twitter To Communicate With Infected Phones

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Twitter-on-smartphones-150x150Twitter users aren’t the only ones getting updates from the micro-blogging social media site. One maker of Android malware is also using Twitter to communicate with infected smartphones, according to security firm ESET.

The company uncovered the feature in a malicious app called Android/Twitoor. It runs as a backdoor virus that can secretly install other malware on a phone.

Typically, the makers of Android malware control their infected smartphones from servers. Commands sent from those servers can create a botnet of compromised phones and tell the malware on all the phones what to do.

The makers of Android/Twitoor decided to use Twitter instead of servers to communicate with the infected phones. The malware routinely checks certain Twitter accounts and reads the encrypted posts to get its operating commands.

Lukas Stefanko, an ESET researcher, said in a blog post that this was an innovative approach.  It removes the need to maintain a command and control server, and the communications with the Twitter accounts can be hard to discover.

“It’s extremely easy for the crooks to re-direct communications to another freshly created account,” he said.

ESET said this was first Twitter-controlled Android botnet it had ever found. Windows-based botnets using Twitter have been around since at least 2009.

ESET said Android/Twitoor hasn’t been detected in any app stores, so it probably spreads through malicious links sent to the victim. The malware pretends to be a porn player or multimedia messaging app, and it’s only been active for about a month.

So far, Android/Twitoor has been found downloading versions of mobile banking malware to users’ phones.

“In the future, we can expect that the bad guys will try to make use of Facebook statuses or deploy LinkedIn and other social networks,” Stefanko added.

Microsoft Makes A Deal With Lenovo

August 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Software King of the World Microsoft has apparently been seen in public with the PC supremo Lenovo and insiders have been told that they want something more serious.

The pair have announced that they are deepening strategic ties but have not hinted about financial details. Instead Lenovo will load Microsoft’s productivity apps, including Microsoft Office, OneDrive and Skype on select Lenovo devices that use the Android operating system.

Microsoft did not say how much gear would be involved in the deal. Lenovo expects to ship millions of these Android-based devices worldwide over the next several years.

The deal is the latest in a string of similar deals by Microsoft with more than 70 Android device makers, including Samsung, HTC, Asus, Acer and Xiaomi.

The expanded collaboration between Microsoft and Lenovo also includes a patent cross-licensing agreement that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices.

Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, it has entered into more than 1,200 licensing agreements.

Nick Parker, corporate vice-president OEM division, Microsoft said that Vole was thrilled that its productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices and was talking about marrage.

“The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers worldwide to be more productive and connected and achieve even more,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung To Offer A Third Tizen OS Smartphone

August 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Tizen-OS-150x150South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd announced that it will begin selling its third smartphone powered by the company’s own Tizen mobile operating system in India next week.

The Z2 phone, equipped with a 4-inch screen and India-specific features such as a safety mode for motorcyclists, will be the cheapest Tizen phone Samsung has launched to date at 4,590 rupees ($68.44).

The phone, the first Tizen-powered device that will run on 4G networks, will start selling in India on Aug. 29.

The world’s top maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips is trying to reduce its dependence on Google, whose Android operating system powers Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.

The firm has been using Tizen on products ranging from TVs, home appliances and wearable products to enable the devices to communicate with each other and phones via the internet.

Samsung has so far kept Tizen for a small number of markets such as India and Bangladesh, where many potential customers are still first-time buyers looking for a cheap device and do not necessarily need a big library of apps.

The firm declined to comment on sales figures but analysts have said the Z2’s predecessors have found some success.

 

Intel To Focus On The Backend For 5G

August 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Fresh after scoring a reasonably sized contract for the iPhone, Intel is getting more excited about its mobile business and is talking about its 5G plans.

5G is a good thing to talk about as there is no standard yet and it could be years away before carriers think of moving to away from 4G. However, it does inspire confidence that companies, like Intel are busy researching it.

However the Intel Developer Forum (IDF),in San Francisco heard how Intel is not that interested in trying to create 5G modems for mobiles and will instead focus on the back-end infrastructure supporting the technology.

Intel said that while 5G will power the mobile internet, Intel believes there will be a lot of room for its processors and data centers to look after the millions of sensors, cars and internet of things devices which will all be part of it.

Intel said that 2G networks were about phones and voice, and it was rolling out 4G there were requirements that hadn’t been planned for when it was originally designed.

While 5G is expected to start appearing by 2020, it should support IoT devices, as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communications. This means that the backbone of datacenters will need to be in place to make it go.

While Intel has been talking about this backbone, it does seem odd that it is not mentioned much about the modem front end of the technology. Our guess is that it is something that Intel cannot ignore and does not appear to be doing so, with its various Internet of Things gadgets.

Courtesy-Fud

Data Breach Hits HEI Hotels

August 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A data breach at 20 U.S. hotels operated by HEI Hotels & Resorts for Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt and Intercontinental may have exposed payment card data from tens of thousands of food, drink and other transactions, HEI  has said.

The breach follows similar attacks at Hyatt Hotels Corp and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc in recent months.

Norwalk, Connecticut-based HEI, which is privately held, said malware designed to collect card data was found on HEI’s systems.

The malware was discovered in early to mid-June on payment systems used at restaurants, bars, spas, lobby shops and other facilities at the properties, Chris Daly, a spokesman for HEI, said in emails and phone calls.

The number of customers affected is difficult to calculate because they might have used their cards multiple times, Daly said. About 8,000 transactions occurred during the affected period at the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara hotel in California, and about 12,800 at the IHG Intercontinental in Tampa, Florida, Daly said.

The malware affected 12 Starwood hotels, six Marriott International Inc properties, one Hyatt hotel and one InterContinental Hotels Group PLC hotel. It was active from March 1, 2015 to June 21, 2016, with 14 of the hotels affected after Dec. 2, 2015, HEI said on its website on Friday.

Marriott and IHG declined to comment. Representatives from the other hotel groups did not respond to requests for comment.

HEI said outside experts investigated the breach and determined that hackers might have stolen customer names, account numbers, payment card expiration dates and verification codes. The hackers did not appear to have gained PIN codes, since those are not collected by its system, it added.

The company has informed federal authorities and has installed a new payment processing system that is separate from other parts of its computer network.

Among the properties affected were Starwood’s Westin hotels in Minneapolis; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia; Snowmass, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Also affected were Starwood properties in Arlington, Virginia; Manchester Village, Vermont; San Francisco; Miami; and Nashville, Tennessee.

The Marriott properties affected were in Boca Raton, Florida; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Chicago; San Diego, California; and Minneapolis.

 

 

 

IoT Growth Outpacing Smartphones Now

August 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

For the first time, U.S. mobile carriers are adding IoT connections to their networks faster than they’re adding smartphones.

In fact, cars alone are getting connected to cellular networks faster than anything else, according to statistics compiled by Chetan Sharma Consulting for the second quarter of this year. Counting all U.S. carriers, about 1.4 million cars got connected to cellular networks in the quarter, compared with 1.2 million phones and less than 900,000 tablets.

The second quarter, between April and June, isn’t a high point for new phone sales like the fourth quarter, when holiday shopping hits and new iPhone models roll out. But IoT growth has been a long-term trend.

AT&T, the carrier that’s led in connected cars, has already been adding them faster than phones and tablets combined for seven consecutive quarters, says Sharma, a longtime mobile industry analyst. AT&T’s on track to reach 10 million car connections soon, he said.

For now, most of those cars have been tuning in without their drivers lifting a finger, Sharma said. It’s the car companies that are rolling out vehicles with live cellular connections, which can help them do things like monitor the condition of their cars, update the software on board, and learn things that could help them improve future models. Keeping vehicles online may also reduce the need for expensive recalls where cars have to come back into the shop.

It’s taking a little longer for consumers to start using the cell services in their cars. One reason is that people already drive around with a network connection through their cell phones, which can even provide a pipeline for vehicle data through IoT device-and-app combinations like Automatic.

Sharma’s quarterly report also showed how successful mobile data as a whole has become in the U.S. In the second quarter, it accounted for more than three-quarters of mobile carriers’ revenue for the first time. It helps that the U.S. is No. 3 in the world for mobile data consumption per subscriber, per month, according to Sharma.

 

 

Is Blackberry Turning Into A Patent Troll?

August 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Troubled mobile phone maker BlackBerry has decided to make a bit more money by suing those it thinks stole its ideas.

A patent lawsuit has been launched against internet telephony outfit Avaya. However in making its case that Avaya should pay royalties, BlackBerry appears to be looking at what it has done rather than what it is doing. The firm argues that it should be paid for its history of innovation going back nearly 20 years.

The court papers say:

“BlackBerry revolutionised the mobile industry. BlackBerry… has invented a broad array of new technologies that cover everything from enhanced security and cryptographic techniques, to mobile device user interfaces, to communication servers, and many other areas.”

BlackBerry claims Avaya infringes eight US Patents:

Nos. 9,143,801 and 8,964,849, relating to “significance maps” for coding video data;

No. 8,116,739, describing methods of displaying messages;

No. 8,886,212, describing tracking location of mobile devices;

No. 8,688,439, relating to speech decoding and compression;

No. 7,440,561, describing integrating wireless phones into a PBX network;

No. 8,554,218, describing call routing methods; and

No. 7,372,961, a method of generating a cryptographic public key.

The oldest is 1998 and the most recent is 2011..

Products targeted by Blackberry include Avaya’s video conferencing systems, Avaya Communicator for iPad, a product that connects mobile users to IP Office systems, and various IP desk phones. .

The BlackBerry complaint states that the company notified Avaya of its alleged infringement of those specific patents in a letter dated December 17, 2015, which must have come as a bit of a surprise. It has been filed in the Northern District of Texas, which is less because the region is more patent friendly (like East Texas) but because it is where Avaya does business and maintains a two-story office.

BlackBerry has hired top patent lawyer Quinn Emanuel. The firm defended Samsung in the high-profile Apple v. Samsung case and has taken on various cases for Google.

Last year Cisco paid a “license fee” to Blackberry. Details were few and far between but it seems to have been to make Blackberry lawyers go away. In May, BlackBerry CEO John Chen told investors on an earnings call that he was in “patent licensing mode,” eager to monetize his company’s 38,000 patents.

Courtesy-Fud

 

AT&T Fined $7.75M Over Bogus Fees Charged To Customers Bills

August 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

AT&T will shell out $7.75 million to pay a fine for allowing suspected drug traffickers to add millions of dollars in bogus directory assistance charges to its customers’ landline bills.

The extra charges of about $9 a month were uncovered during an investigation of two Cleveland-area companies for drug-related crimes and money laundering, the Federal Communications Commission said Monday.

“A phone bill should not be a tool for drug traffickers, money launderers, and other unscrupulous third parties to fleece American consumers,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in a statement. The settlement will allow AT&T customers “charged for this sham service” to get their money back, he said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration seized nearly $3.4 million worth of drugs, cars, jewelry, gold and computers during its investigation of Discount Directories and Enhanced Telecommunications Services, the FCC said. During the seizures, agents found financial documents related to the directory assistance scheme, which targeted thousands of telephone customers, most of them small businesses.

The companies billed for the directory services but never provided them, and neither company could show that AT&T customers had agreed to be billed, the FCC said. AT&T received a portion of each charge, the agency said.

AT&T has implemented “strict requirements” to crack down on third-party charges on telephone bills, a spokeswoman said by email. “Nonetheless, unbeknownst to us, two companies that engaged in a sophisticated fraud scheme were apparently able to circumvent those protections and submit unauthorized third-party charges that were billed by AT&T,” she added.

AT&T stopped billing on behalf of the two companies in June 2015 and will also stop most other third-party billing on customer telephone bills, she added.

AT&T will issue refunds to current and former customers charged for the bogus services since January 2012. The refunds are expected to be about $6.8 million. The telecom carrier will also pay a $950,000 fine to the U.S. treasury.

Customers should get refund checks within 90 days, AT&T said.

 

 

Can Intel Dominate The 5G Space?

August 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Intel, Samsung, MediaTek, Huawei and Qualcomm all claim the leadership for 5G and most of them will have a tough time to deliver on this promise. Nokia, Huawei and Ericsson – from the networking component standpoint – claim they can do great things with 5G.

Everyone is bound to dominate something that will commercially launch in 2020. Fudzilla invested a lot of time analyzing the wireless communication market as it’s becoming rather interesting.

What piqued our interest is that everyone wants to claim its dominance in 4G/5G. The hot topic today is carrier aggregation in 4G where most providers can deliver 300 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload with faster speeds in sight. Uploads are reaching 150 Mbps with carrier aggregation and enhanced modulation techniques like 64-QAM, which is faster than most cable and fiber connections available. Things are going to get even faster as Australian Telstra already offers 600 Mbps carrier aggregation and there will be more to follow that path.

Intel is telling investors and customers that they were late to the mobile and overall modem market, but that they won’t be late with 5G. Intel was late with 3G, again very late with 4G and now it claims that it will be the first with 5G. As you can imagine, this does not seem very realistic.

The 5G players are focusing on enhanced mobile broadband, mission critical services such as medicine, robotics, abd automotive,  and the potentially massive connected internet of thing devices.

One way of looking at 5G is that it is a 4G on steroids with some major improvements that will solve some of the limitations of 4G. So in order to have a state of the art, winning 5G solution, you have to be dominant in 4G. Intel simply isn’t, as it doesn’t have enough experience.

Intel is most likely to get inside some iPhone 7 or other making its first high end modem design win ever. Intel did ship its modem in some Samsung Galaxy phones but only for small and limited markets.

The Santa Clara giant had a few design wins with Asus, simply as it could corner Asus as its partner in PC space, but even that marriage ended up in divorce. The latest generation of Zen phones uses Snapdragon processors and Asus had a very limited success with phones outside its native Taiwan. Asus’ end of relations with Intel on the SoC side didn’t come as a surprise as Intel decided to terminate its SoC phone business.

Intel invested billions of dollars in mobile SoCs and after years of failures it announced that it will simply stop  bleeding money on something it cannot make competitive.

The Apple design win doesn’t actually prove that Intel’s modem is any good.

The Apple iPhone design win just proves that companies like Samsung and Apple like to use dual sourcing and buy components from more than one supplier. The reason is quite simply, they can play these suppliers off against each other and get better pricing. We understand that dual sourcing happens often in the image sensors market. In case of an earthquake in Japan or a similar catastrophe, a phone might end up with a Samsung image sensor instead of Sony’s.

Apple started dual sourcing with its SoCs and the iPhone 6S ended up having the SoCs manufactured by TSMC in 16nm or Samsung with 14nm. It turns out that the 16nm ones ended up being better, upsetting a lot of customers.

We won’t want to wander off topic, but it will take Intel a few generations to improve. Samsung has a modem but only inside its SoC and so does MediaTek and Huawei. None of these three players have a dedicated modem, it is up to Intel and Qualcomm to make a 4G modem for companies like Apple.

Intel has only been working on modems for a few years while companies like Qualcomm have done that for a few decades. Qualcomm is inside every iPhone past iPhone 3G manufactured, a few short of a billion. Infineon, a company now owned by Intel has developed iPhone 2G and iPhone 3G, but again, Infineon had no 4G modems available and the acquisition took place after Intel realized the WiMAX 4G standard is doomed to die.

This gives Qulcomm quite a lot of experience and a clear focus to make a modem for Snapdragon SoC and Apple the best they possibly can.

Intel will have a hell of a ride polishing and fast learning 4G before it deploys 5G.

There are no solid guarantees that Intel will make modems in 2020. Intel said that it would dominate computer graphics but its Larrabee discrete card project crashed and burn. Intel promised world dominance with SoCs for phones with Atom processors and again it crashed and burned. It turned so bad, that the company totally killed of the SoC manufacturing. Intel at least has had graphics for gaming inside of millions of notebook processors.

The equivalent of Intel dominating 5G would be as realistic as Tesla beating Toyota or German automakers in 2020 by volume. Tesla 3 preorder customers will be happy if all half million of them get their cars by 2018, considering that the company delayed every single product from its first days of existence.

Research in 2015 by V3‘s sister site Computing in conjunction with Intel provided some indications of a rise in ransomware, and showed that 55 per cent of organisations had put the necessary security measures in place.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is The IoT A Security Disaster Waiting To Happen?

August 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

The craze for connecting anything and everything and controlling it over the internet will result in a major disaster without better built-in security, according to security expert Bruce Schneier.

Furthermore, if secret services really are trying to influence elections by hacking the systems of political parties and releasing embarrassing emails, they will almost certainly attempt to hack into the increasing number of internet-connected voting machines for the same ends.

Schneier is the author of multiple encryption algorithms, founder of security company Counterpane, and former chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions.

“It’s one thing if your smart door lock can be eavesdropped on to know who is home. It’s another thing entirely if it can be hacked to allow a burglar to open the door or prevent you opening your door,” Schneier wrote in an article published by Motherboard.

“A hacker who can deny you control of your car, or take over control, is much more dangerous than one who can eavesdrop on your conversations or track your car’s location.

“With the advent of the Internet of Things [IoT] and cyber-physical systems in general, we’ve given the internet hands and feet: the ability to directly affect the physical world. What used to be attacks against data and information have become attacks against flesh, steel and concrete.”

Schneier explained that many of the devices now being connected to the internet, including industrial systems controlling major facilities, have security only as an afterthought, and that the IoT “will allow for attacks we can’t even imagine”.

The key weaknesses come from software control systems, the connections between systems and autonomous systems. Schneier highlighted a lack of security patching in control systems, the ability to compromise networks via insecure devices connected to them, especially IoT devices, and the security dangers of increased automation.

“Security engineers are working on technologies that can mitigate much of this risk, but many solutions won’t be deployed without government involvement. This is not something that the market can solve,” he said.

Schneier also suggested that if Russian security services were indeed behind the attack on the systems of the US Democratic National Committee there is no reason why they wouldn’t target internet-connected voting machines.

“Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack,” Schneier warned.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Dropbox Paper Opens Beta To All

August 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Ten months after Dropbox first debuted Paper, the collaborative writing tool opened its beta testing to all and is getting mobile versions for iOS and Android.

Paper allows teams to work on documents together in the cloud. It makes it easy to add text, images and embedded videos from YouTube, Google, or Dropbox itself. Users can also add programming code, which gets formatted automatically. And they can create to-do lists and assign tasks on those lists using the @ symbol.

Since its unveiling in private beta, Paper has been used to create more than a million documents for tasks like brainstorming ideas and capturing meeting notes, Dropbox said. Based on lessons learned along the way, Dropbox has improved the software with better tables and image galleries, more powerful search, and notifications via desktop and mobile.

The new apps for Android and iOS, meanwhile, let users get project updates, make edits, and respond to feedback from their mobile devices.

“As Dropbox tries to expand the concept of what it is, it’s only natural that they dig deeper into the productivity tool bag,” said T.J. Keitt, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. “Paper gives them a collaborative content engine that lets teams work collectively on lists and notes — a useful tool given information workers have scooped up note-taking tools like Evernote and OneNote for similar purposes.”

Competitors like Box, Google and Microsoft offer similar tools, so Dropbox needed Paper to keep up, Keitt said. “I don’t think this will be a great point of differentiation for them.”

Paper is “definitely a cool product,” said Melissa Webster, a program vice president with IDC.

It’s essentially Dropbox’s answer to Google Docs but designed to be more visually appealing, Webster said.

“Word processors have historically been poor at supporting creative teams and concept work that is visual,” she said. “Dropbox Paper should appeal to marketers, creative folks, product teams and others who find traditional text-oriented word processors and note-taking apps somewhat confining.”

The beta program for Dropbox Paper is now open online. The associated mobile apps are available in the U.S. from the iOS App Store and Android Play Store, and are coming soon for users in the EU.

 

 

Didi To Acquire Uber’s China Operations For $35 Billion

August 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing announced that it will acquire Uber’s China operations, in a deal that will give Uber a stake in the company and end bruising competition between the two.

The deal is valued at $35 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter who didn’t want to be named before the deal was made public, combining Didi’s $28 billion worth and Uber China’s $7 billion valuation. Didi confirmed the agreement on its official microblog, but gave no valuation.

San Francisco-based Uber Technologies will receive a 5.89 percent stake in Didi – but will have disproportionate “economic interests” of 17.7 percent with another 2.3 percent interest going to Uber China shareholders.

Uber will continue to operate independently, the Didi posting said. “Cooperating with Uber will give the entire mobile travel industry a healthier order and a period of a higher level of development,” it said.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will join Didi’s board, while Didi Chuxing chief Cheng Wei joining the Uber board.

In an internal message to staff viewed by Reuters, Kalanick wrote: “Sustainably serving China’s cities, and the riders and drivers who live in them, is only possible with profitability. This merger paves the way for our team and Didi’s to partner on an enormous mission, and it frees up substantial resources for bold initiatives focused on the future of cities – from self-driving technology to the future of food and logistics.”

He said Uber was operating in more than 60 cities in China and serving more than 40 million rides a week.

 

Smartphone Market Showing Signs Of Growth Again

August 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

The smartphone market appears to be picking up steam again, if only slightly, with shipments up nearly 1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

The research firm, which had reported a 3 percent drop in the market in the last quarter, said that there are indications that the market had bottomed out in the first half of this year. Multiple new product launches from vendors including Samsung Electronics and Apple could create an improving growth outlook for the second half of the year.

Another research firm, Canalys, reported that smartphone shipments had returned to modest growth in the second quarter after a disappointing first quarter.

Around 340.4 million smartphones were shipped in the second quarter, said Strategy Analytics, which added that the market had seen saturation in major markets like China and been effected by political events such as Britain’s decision to exit the European Union.

The largest smartphone maker — Samsung –recently reported its most profitable quarter in two years, driven by increased sales of its flagship products such as the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. The company’s mid-to low-end smartphone portfolio, including the  Galaxy A and J series, also contributed to improved profitability, it said.

Samsung said the smartphone business would stay buoyant in the second half, but warned that competitors are expected to launch newer models in the period. The company faces competition from Chinese brands at the low end and Apple’s phones at the high end, but hopes to strengthen its high-end with the release in the third-quarter of a new large-screen flagship smartphone.

Profits are expected to be largely driven by its  components business, including demand for storage like solid state devices (SSDs), which is expected to pick up in the second half as smartphone makers launch new products.

The South Korean company reported a revenue increase of 4.9 percent year-on-year to 50.9 trillion won ($44.7 billion) in the second quarter while operating profit rose 18 percent to 8.1 trillion won.

“Apple continues to face iPhone fatigue among consumers and the new iPhone SE model has not been able to stem that trend,” said Strategy Analytics’ analyst Neil Mawston, in a statement.

Samsung led the market, with an increased share of 22.8 percent for 77.6 million smartphones shipped, while second-place Apple’s share dropped to 11.9 percent, Strategy Analytics said. The next three places were taken by Chinese vendors Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi, in that order.

 

 

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