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AT&T Urged To Sever Ties With Huawei Over National Security

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

U.S. lawmakers are pushing AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to sever commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market because of national security concerns, two congressional aides said.

The warning comes after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump took a harder line on policies initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries.

Earlier this month, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers Huawei handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.

The U.S. government has also blocked a string of Chinese acquisitions over national security concerns, including Ant Financial’s proposed purchase of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc.

The lawmakers are also advising U.S. firms that if they have ties to Huawei or China Mobile, it could hamper their ability to do business with the U.S. government, one aide said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

One of the commercial ties senators and House members want AT&T to cut is its collaboration with Huawei over standards for the high-speed next-generation 5G network, the aides said. Another is the use of Huawei handsets by AT&T’s discount subsidiary Cricket, the aides said.

 Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Tuesday he did not know anything about the details of the commercial cooperation cases, but added China hopes other countries would provide a fair operating environment for Chinese firms.

“We hope that China and the United States can work hard together to maintain the healthy and stable development of trade and business ties. This accords with the joint interests of both,” Lu told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile phone operator, did not respond to requests for comment.

AT&T declined to comment but said that it had made no decisions on 5G suppliers.

U.S. lawmakers who have in the past expressed concerns about the prospect of the deal between AT&T and Huawei either declined to comment or were not immediately available.

Huawei declined to comment, but earlier this week told Reuters that it sells its equipment through more than 45 of the world’s top 50 carriers and puts the privacy and security of its customers as its top priority.

National security experts fear that any data from a Huawei device, for example about the location of the phone’s user, would be available to Chinese government intelligence services.

In 2012, Huawei and ZTE Corp were the subject of a U.S. investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical U.S. infrastructure – a link that Huawei has consistently denied.

“The next wave of wireless communication has enormous economic and national security implications. China’s participation in setting the standards and selling the equipment raises many national security issues that demand strict and prompt attention,” said Michael Wessel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was set up by Congress.

 U.S. lawmakers do not want China Mobile to be given a license to do business in the United States, the congressional aides said. China Mobile applied for the license in 2011, and the application is pending before the Federal Communications Commission.

Huawei and Chinese telecom firms have long struggled to gain a toehold in the U.S. market, partly because of U.S. government pressure on potential U.S. partners.

Two Republican lawmakers, Representatives Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney, introduced a bill this week that bars the U.S. government from using or contracting with Huawei or ZTE Corp, a Chinese telecommunications and equipment and systems company.

U.S. Transportation Dept To Release Revised Self-driving Guidelines

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The US government plans to unveil revised self-driving car guidelines this summer as the government sets out to rewrite regulations that pose legal barriers to robot vehicles, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.

Chao told a Detroit auto show forum that the revised voluntary guidelines would address not only self-driving automobiles but “barriers to the safe integration of autonomous technology for motor carriers, transit, trucks, infrastructure and other modes.”

Chao said in a Reuters interview the department was preparing for autonomous technology coming rapidly to all transportation modes. “The technology is there, the question is how do we regulate it, how do we continue to promote innovation but also safeguard safety.” Chao said.

General Motors Co, Alphabet Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and many other companies are aggressively pursuing self-driving car technologies and want Congress and regulators to remove barriers to the vehicles.

Bills in Congress to speed the introduction of self-driving cars do not include commercial trucks. In September, Chao announced the first set of revisions to the guidelines that were unveiled by the Obama administration and now plans a revised version by summer.

 Chao said her goal was to eliminate “unnecessary obstacles to the development and integration of new technology. Our approach will be tech-neutral and flexible — not top-down, or command and control.” She added the government would “not be in the business of picking winners or losers, or favoring one form of technology over another.”

In October, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, said it was looking for input on how to remove regulatory roadblocks to self-driving cars.

NHTSA said in a report that it wanted to find any “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to self-driving cars “particularly those that are not equipped with controls for a human driver.”

The agency also wants comments on what research it needs to conduct before deciding whether to eliminate or rewrite regulations. But it could take the agency years to complete the research and finalize rule changes.

Automakers must meet nearly 75 auto safety standards, many written with the assumption that a licensed driver will be in control of the vehicle. The agency said in 2016 that current regulations posed “significant” regulatory hurdles to vehicles without human controls.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Department published notices requesting comments to identify barriers to innovation including one from NHTSA, two from the Federal Transit Administration to address autonomous bus technology and barriers and one from the Federal Highway Administration to address autonomous infrastructure technology. Chao said more were planned.

Last week, GM filed a petition with NHTSA requesting an exemption to have a small number of autonomous vehicles operate in a ride-share program without steering wheels or human drivers.

 Chao said the “department will review this petition, and give it responsible and careful consideration.”

Ford Aims For 22 Electric Vehicles By 2022

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ford Motor Co will significantly increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup, Chairman Bill Ford announced at the Detroit auto show.

The investment figure is sharply higher than a previously announced target of $4.5 billion by 2020, Ford executives said, and includes the costs of developing dedicated electric vehicle architectures. Ford’s engineering, research and development expenses for 2016, the last full year available, were $7.3 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2015.

Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett told investors in October the automaker would slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years and shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

Of the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans for its global lineup by 2022, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids, executives said.

“We’re all in on this and we’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them,” Ford told reporters. “If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular.”

General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG  have already outlined aggressive plans to expand their electric vehicle offerings and target consumers who want luxury, performance and an SUV body style – or all three attributes in the same vehicle.

Mainstream automakers are reacting in part to pressure from regulators in China, Europe and California to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. They also are under pressure from

 Tesla Inc’s success in creating electric sedans and SUVs that inspire would-be owners to line up outside showrooms and flood the company with orders.

GM said last year it would add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in the United States and China.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has promised investors the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021.

Volkswagen said in November it would spend $40 billion on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022 – significantly more than when it announced two months earlier it would invest more than 20 billion euros on electric and self-driving cars through 2030.

Toyota is racing to commercialize a breakthrough battery technology during the first half of the 2020s with the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars.

Ford’s additional investments in electric vehicles contrasted with many of the vehicle launches at the Detroit show which featured trucks and SUVs. On Sunday evening, Daimler AG unveiled its new G-class SUV, a bulky off roader, in an abandoned movie theater in downtown Detroit once used as a set for the movie “8 Mile.”

Is HTC Preparing To Exit The Smartphone Market

January 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that HTC is slowly pulling out of the smartphone business.

Deep throats are briefing Digitimes and claim that the Taiwanese company will be limiting the number of phones it will be releasing next year. While this might have something to do with the company’s ongoing smartphone market woes, it could also be a sign of HTC’s substantial loss of resources after Google acquired a significant number of employees from HTC’s mobile division.

HTC didn’t release that many smartphones in 2017. There were as few as six models this year, not counting variants or market specific models, with the U series being most of them.

If it launched two to four models next year, it could be attempting to mirror the launch strategies of smaller companies like OnePlus. However, that is being optimistic because reduced phone numbers are usually a sign that the writing is on the wall for any company’s smartphone empire.

We are not sure that HTC will care much. It has been long rumored to be mulling over selling its mobile business, leaving it free to focus on a more lucrative VR market. Most expected Google to be that buyer, but the two might have worked out a strategy that would lessen regulation requirements and government scrutiny.

There are two HTC phones expected for 2018, one even as early as January. That would be a mid-range variant of the HTC U11+. The timeline for the company’s next flagship –  the HTC U12, is still unknown.

Courtesy-Fud

POE-USBC Appears To Be Coming To Fruition

January 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

As many manufacturers including Apple, Google, and Samsung standardise on USB Type-C (USB-C) with the new Power Delivery (PD) protocol, CoolGear and PoE Texas have joined forces to combine USB-C with PD and Power Over Ethernet.

In early 2018, PoE Texas will launch the POE-USBC-Kit and the AT-USBC-Kit which will allow USB-C PD over Ethernet.

While USB Type-C Power has ten times the power capacity of earlier USB protocols, USB-C powers modern electronics with the ability to charge a phone in 15 minutes or simultaneously charge a laptop and power an external monitor.  Unfortunately, finding a USB-C charger compatible with a variety of devices has proven consistently challenging for consumers. CoolGear developed the CG-DCPD21W, a sleek, cost-effective USB-C PD device with the broadest possible compatibility.

PoE lowers the cost of adopting USB-C by eliminating the need for new electrical infrastructure. Unlike USB-C, which can transmit power less than ten feet (three meters) and is uncommon in buildings and homes, Ethernet can transmit power and data 328 feet (100 meters) and is nearly ubiquitous in modern construction.

PoE Texas has created an AT-USBC-Kit – a custom 802.3af/PoE+ splitter that supports 25 watts PoE+ (both active and passive).

It is 24 Volt Passive for those who want to control both the Power Supplying Equipment (PSE) and the Powered Device (PD). The POE-USBC-Kit uses the 24 volt PoE standard at up to 25 watts.

It is based around uPoE (IEEE 802.3bt) which is likely to be the new standard in 2018. PoE Texas has developed 60 watt PoE PSEs with upcoming designs for 60 watt PoE splitters to support full capacity USB-C PD.

Courtesy-Fud

Toshiba Debuts 2400GB SAS Drive

December 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

When it comes to enterprise hard drives, the rule is go big, or go home. But there is another way. Go fast.

This is the way Toshiba has gone with its new AL15SE series, with spindles whizzing around at 10,500rpm – that’s 3,300 quicker than a standard drive.

It’s not Toshiba’s first go at this speed, but it’s certainly the biggest, with a 2,400GB (2.4TB – and before the purists get up in arms – YES IT IS) model.

It also boasts a SAS dual-port interface running at 12Gb/s – crammed into a 2.5-inch casing. It’s a bit thicker at 15mm but this stuff has to come from somewhere, innit.

It’s designed for tier one mission-critical servers and storage systems, hybrid storage platforms and any scenario that will benefit from low-latency, with a storage capacity of 2400GB. As you’d expect for a low latency drive of 2400GB, really.

“The new AL15SE Series HDD provides higher capacity per spindle for optimal use in performance-oriented traditional IT applications and in mission-critical hybrid storage platforms. Also, IT operations running read-intensive applications may benefit from lower-latency.” says Noriaki Katakura, General Manager HDD Business Unit, Toshiba Electronics Europe GmbH.

The drives support 4K native and 512e emulated sector technologies and feature an increased transfer rate over the previous range amounting to 15 per cent.

The AL15SE series also offers optional Sanitise Instant Erase (SIE) and uses Toshiba’s persistent write cache technology to help protect your data when the power goes out suddenly.

Samples are shipping to customers from now. Prices weren’t offered, which usually means that it’ll depend on how many you’re thinking of.

The announcement follows Toshiba’s “go big” option – a nine plattered 14TB SATA HDD.

Courtesy-TheInq

Will The Broadcom Hostile Takeover Succeed

December 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Over the last few weeks we’ve met with a few dozen Qualcomm and industry C level executives and of course discussed the potential Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm. The general conclusion is that this won’t happen as Broadcom might profit from it at the big expense of Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has quite a good roadmap with Snapdragon 845 and a few successors lined up for the years to come. A very important 5G NR chip should be ready for 2019. This will, without a doubt, be one of the most important technology transitions at the end of the decade.

Most analysts we talked about this matter including Patrick Moorhead and Anshel Sag of Moor Insights and Strategy, Jim McGregor from Tirias research and Bob O’Donnell from TECHnalysis Research think that Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm is a bad idea. Here at Fudzilla we’ve had a lot of discussion about the acquisition and we cannot see how can this possibly be good for the industry or for Qualcomm.

As we said earlier, Broadcom, a company with a very unsexy roadmap, would benefit a lot. It would be able to show to its investors that it acquired the world leader in 5G, Android SoC, many wireless related technologies, and a great automotive and IoT portfolio. The list goes on.

Fudzilla got quite bullied by Broadcom’s  PR agency about the last article where our colleagues from the New York Post expected that Broadcom would slash one third of Qualcomm employees.

After many talks with senior stuff at Qualcomm, we haven’t heard a single head talking positive about it. Some of these off the record conversations resulted in comments including: “they (Broadcom) would fire us all.” Of course, Us in this semantic would be Qualcomm management.

Acquisitions are a long and painful process. One side must always suffer. A few weeks back, we talked about ex ATI employees who were in AMD’s graphics division. Despite the fact that AMD acquired ATI technologies in 2006, in some ways graphics people still felt that the acquisition didn’t finalize, 11 years later.

Of course, this sounds crazy but to some extent there is always “us and them” in this equation. As Fudzilla predicted, Broadcom’s putative acquisition of Qualcomm would slow down innovation and skew the roadmap with some significant delays.

Qualcomm senior management is very clear, they don’t want the company to be acquired. We doubt that a hostile takeover with the help of board members would work out either, this is never a good idea.

Tom Horton, Qualcomm’s Presiding Director also said: “No company in the industry is better positioned than Qualcomm in mobile, IoT, automotive, edge computing and networking and to lead the transition to 5G. Qualcomm stockholders expect a Board that will support this innovation while evaluating objectively the full range of opportunities available to maximize value for all Qualcomm stockholders.”

 Fudzilla has implied that the accusation might be to give Broadcom more business and enter into an eternal peace with Apple.

Courtesy-Fud

YouTube TV App Full Roll-out Delayed Until 2018

December 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

YouTube TV finally has a full app, but the implementation for various TV devices is taking longer than originally planned.

The apps for Roku and Apple TV, originally slated to launch before the end of 2017, are now scheduled for the first quarter of 2018. Also planned for the Q1 timeframe, a YouTube representative told me, are apps for older smart TVs, namely Samsung sets from 2014 and 2015, and Sony TVs that use the older Linux-based operating system, as opposed to Android TV.

YouTube TV is a $35-per-month live TV service aimed at cable cord-cutters. Unlike the free YouTube you know so well, populated by cat videos, how-tos and myriad independent channels and shows, YouTube TV is a direct competitor to cable TV.

Available in more than 80 cities nationwide, it offers local TV channels such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as cable stalwarts like AMC, ESPN, the Disney Channel, Fox News and Bravo. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET and Showtime.)

In addition to iOS and Android phones and tablets, and PC browsers, YouTube TV is currently available via the following TV-connected devices. All of them, except Chromecast, use the new big-screen app that debuted in October.

  • Chromecast (including Chromecast built-in TVs from Vizio and others)
  • Xbox One
  • Android TV (including Nvidia Shield and newer Sony TVs)
  • Samsung 2016 and 2017 smart TVs
  • LG 2016 and 2017 smart TVs

Meanwhile, YouTube TV’s competitors, including Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, are all currently available on most of the same devices, as well as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. The YouTube TV representative told me there are currently no plans for Fire TV or PlayStation apps.

Separately, YouTube has said it will pull its main, free YouTube app (the one with the cat videos and stuff) from Fire TV devices by the end of 2018.

Kasperky Challenges Software Ban In US Court

December 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab confirmed it has asked a U.S. federal court to overturn a Trump administration ban on the use of its products in government networks, saying the move deprived the company of due process.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in September issued a directive ordering civilian government agencies to remove Kaspersky software from their networks within 90 days. It came amid mounting concern among U.S. officials that the software could enable Russian espionage and threaten national security.

The appeal is part of an ongoing campaign by Kaspersky to refute allegations the company is vulnerable to Kremlin influence. The company has repeatedly denied it has ties to any government and said it would not help a government with cyber espionage.

 “DHS has harmed Kaspersky Lab’s reputation and its commercial operations without any evidence of wrongdoing by the company,” the company’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, said in an open letter to the Homeland Security agency published on Monday.

The department did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit alleges that the government largely relied on uncorroborated news media reports as evidence in a review of Kaspersky software. It asks the court to overturn the ban and also declare that the Russian company’s products do not pose a security threat to U.S. government computers.

The value of Kaspersky’s software sales to the U.S. government totaled less than $54,000, or about 0.03 percent of its U.S. subsidiary’s sales in the United States, according to the complaint.

Still, the allegations about the software have hurt its much bigger consumer software business, prompting retailers such as Best Buy Co to pull Kaspersky products.

 Kaspersky said in October that it would submit the source code of its software and future updates for inspection by independent parties. U.S. officials have said that step, while welcome, would not be sufficient.

The September DHS order applied only to civilian government agencies and not the Pentagon. U.S. intelligence agencies said earlier this year that Kaspersky products were already generally not allowed on military networks.

 

California Issues Guidelines For Mobile Phone Usage

December 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

California has stepped into the long-running debate over whether cell phone use poses a health hazard when a state agency issued guidelines for reducing exposure to wireless signals.

The guidelines, which come from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), don’t state that cell phone are dangerous, nor do they push to abandon cell phone use completely. Instead, they take a more cautionary tone by stating that multiple studies have suggested that the radiofrequency (RF) signals from phones may be linked to certain types of cancer, lower sperm count, memory problems and loss of sleep.

“Some scientists and public health officials believe RF energy may affect human health,” the guideline sheet says. “These studies do not establish the link definitely, however, and scientists disagree about whether cell phones cause these health problems and how great the risks might be.”

The CDPH’s suggestions for reducing exposure to wireless signals are simple and nothing that we haven’t already heard from public health advocates. They include not carrying a phone in a pocket or bra, using a headset or speakerphone and limiting cell phone use when your signal is weak. (The FTC also makes these recommendations though it also says it doesn’t endorse the need for them.)

The sheet also has a section on limiting cell phone use for young children, who have thinner skulls and developing brains. Some research has suggested that RF energy may cause headaches or hearing loss in kids.

The CDPH’s guidelines were issued in draft form last March and then only after a lawsuit from Dr. Joel Moskowitz, the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Moskowitz, who’s been one of the loudest voices pushing for more research and regulation on cell phone use, argued that the CDPH had the responsibility to publicly release the document after first preparing it in 2009.

In a statement, Moskowitz welcomed the release of the guidelines but pushed for more action. “Although California’s new cell phone warnings underplay the state of the science, many people consider this action by the largest state public health department to be a significant development,” he wrote. “I would like to thank the current leadership of CDPH for their courage to stand up to a powerful industry.”

Connecticut published similar guidelines in 2015, but the wireless industry has long pushed back on any such steps from state or local governments. In one of the more prominent cases, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association in 2013 successfully blocked the city of San Francisco from issuing notices about the possible dangers of wireless use, arguing that the FCC has concluded using cell phones is safe within certain exposure limits. The tables turned last year, however, when the industry lost a court battle to prevent the city of Berkeley, California, from implementing a similar warning.

Does Samsung Have A Windows 10 On ARM Device In The Pipeline

December 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm executives have told Fudzilla that Asus, Lenovo, and HP won’t be alone in their efforts launching the Windows 10 on Snapdragon, and that certain phone manufacturers are working on their designs.

A Fudzilla trusted source who likes his privacy has confirmed to us that one of the mobile outfits is Samsung. Currently, there is no ETA on the launch or availability, but manufacturers who have the experience with the phone PCB are likely to do a better job with the smaller form factor.

In Q1 2018 we expect to see Asus, Lenovo and HP devices, with everyone else launching a bit later. Qualcomm has high hopes in its debut to the Windows platform, and Windows 10 will face a big test in the consumer interest.

The excellent battery life powered by constant LTE connectivity is a reasonable value proposition, especially as these machines don’t need annoying fans. They are completely quiet, something that we appreciate. We had a chance to spend some limited time with an HP Envy 2 two-in-one and the Asus NovaGo. Both were a bit bulkier than we would want them to be. There is space for thinner and lighter, and mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung can make such a thing a reality. 

Samsung will likely announce Windows 10 on Snapdragon device at a later date and on its own terms. Mobile World Congress in late February or a Galaxy S9 phone launch could well be the launch opportunity.

Courtesy-Fud

San Francisco Fires Wayward Security Robot

December 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Perhaps one day the robots will replace us, but it was a robot that got a pink slip.

The San Francisco SPCA animal shelter had been using a 5-foot-tall Knightscope security robot. After the robot arrived in November, there was less of a problem with things like drug needles and car break-ins, and tents used by the homeless disappeared from nearby sidewalks, the shelter president told the San Francisco Business Times.

But the robot program led to other problems — including news stories about the robot deterring nearby homeless encampments — and now it’s over, the animal shelter said.

“The SF SPCA was exploring the use of a robot to prevent additional burglaries at our facility and to deter other crimes that frequently occur on our campus — like car break-ins, harassment, vandalism, and graffiti — not to disrupt homeless people,” the shelter said in a statement Friday. “Clearly, it backfired.”

Evidently, society hasn’t quite figured out yet how to handle robots with unknown abilities roaming among us — especially if the issue is blended with other sensitive issues like handling the homeless in a city flush with well-paid tech employees.

After the robot story went viral, the shelter was vandalized twice and has “received hundreds of messages inciting violence and vandalism against our facility and encouraging people to take retribution,” the shelter said. “We are a nonprofit that is extremely sensitive to the issues of homelessness.”

The 398-pound K5 security robot is equipped with cameras, rolls along at 3mph and has a “commanding physical presence,” Knightscope says. It can record license plates and detect wireless signals that could indicate network attacks. And it’s got proximity sensors and alarms to try to deter damage.

That didn’t stop some people who didn’t like the SPCA robot, though. It suffered indignities such as being covered with a tarp and smeared with barbecue sauce, the shelter said.

Knightscope didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Is Google Trying To Hack The iPhone

December 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The Apple Press is spitting bile that the search engine outfit Google has released information which will help people hack the iPhone.

To be fair that is not exactly what Google has done. It has released a powerful tool that can help security researchers hack and find bugs in iOS 11.1.2, a recent version of the iPhone operating system.

The Apple fanboy mantra is that iOS is perfect and totally secure and so when software appears which proves otherwise that is treated with the same subtlety and restraint as Tomás de Torquemada having slightly differing views of Christianity.

In fact the tool is the work of Ian Beer, one of the most prolific iOS bug hunters, and a member of Google Project Zero, which works to find bugs in all types of software, including that not made by Google.

Beer released the tool Monday, which he says should work for “all devices”. The proof of concept works only for those devices he tested — iPhone 7, 6s and iPod touch 6G — “but adding more support should be easy”.  

Needless to say, the Tame Apple Press is having a huge sulk. After all, this tool might make jailbreaking and security research much easier.

It might mean that all those evil security experts will find more holes in their favourite software and Apple might have to waste time having to fix them. Motherboard sees it all as a terrible conspiracy by Google to attack the wonderful cargo cult.

“While it might seem surprising that Google would release a tool to hack a device from a competitor, it actually makes a lot of sense. The iPhone is one of the hardest consumer devices to hack, and researchers who can do that and are able to find bugs in it rarely report the bugs or publish the tools they use because they are so valuable”, moaned Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai.

Clearly Franceschi-Bicchierai is apparently completely unaware that the iOS is dead easy to hack and is the first to fall over during any hackathons.

Courtesy-Fud

Powermat Releasing Updated, Stronger Wireless Charging Pad

December 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Powermat plans to roll out an upgrade to its wireless charging technology in January  that will enable 15-watt power transfers through a 1.5-in. thick solid surface and provide support for new Apple iPhones and other Qi-enabled devices.

The wireless charging company also plans to release an under-tabletop product that allows users to simply place enabled mobile devices atop a desk, for example, to begin receiving a charge.

By moving from 5 watts to 15 watts with the upcoming software upgrade, Powermat chargers will transfer power to a mobile device at the same rate as a traditional charging cable, according to Powermat CTO Itay Sherman.

The upgrade, to be formally unveiled at CES in January, will also open the door for future software improvements, including power transfer rates of up to 65 watts; that would cover everything from tablets to laptops, Sherman said.

Currently, only Dell’s Latitude 7285 2-in-1 laptop features wireless charging based on technology from WiTricity.

The software upgrade is particularly significant in that it natively supports charging for Qi-enabled devices, such as the iPhone 8 and X series, Apple’s first smartphones to get wireless charging. A software upgrade earlier this year did enable compatibility with the Qi specification, but it only offered 5W power transfer.

Powermat’s upcoming software upgrade will support 7.5W so called “fast charging” for the new iPhone line as well as most Android smart phones.

Powermat’s inductive wireless charging is widely used today and has been adopted by Duracell, General Motors, Starbucks and AT&T. Among airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants and arenas, Powermat claims to have 12,000 charging spots in the U.S. and Europe, and is being embedded in millions of cars and smartphones.

While the technology is inductive as opposed to resonant, which allows for greater distances between a charger and enabled device, Powermat added a larger charging coil and a booster to its newest chargers. That allows for power transfers of up to 1.5 inches in distance.

“With this charging technology there are no more wires on top of the desk or table,” Sherman said. “In the past, there has been a reluctance on the part of enterprise customers to use wireless charging because of all the wires on the top side of a desk, but with this technology they no longer need to do that.”

The new charger can attach to the bottom of a desk or conference table with just two screws; a sticker atop the surface then directs users were to place their smart phones for charging. The charger’s firmware also contains an algorithm that detects how far power needs to be projected to an enabled device.

Pricing for the new charger has yet to be released.

Powermat is part of the Airfuel Alliance consortium, which was founded when two of the three major wireless charging standard bodies — the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)­ — merged in 2015. The Airfuel Alliance competes against the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), a standards groups backing the Qi specification.

Because the WPC’s specification is open, Powermat’s latest upgrade will offer compatibility, Sherman said.

“Charging devices we have today are upgradable to support the WPC’s [Qi] specification, but the new design will be compatible day one,” Sherman said. “To be very honest, the difference between these two technologies have been minute. The whole market is consolidating now.”

Toshiba AND Western Digital Settle

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toshiba and Western Digital have agreed in principle to settle a dispute over the Japanese firm’s plans to sell its $18 billion chip unit and aim to have a final agreement in place next week.

Word on the street is that the Toshiba board has approved a framework for a settlement.

Western Digital had been able to block a deal to selling the unit to a Bain Capital-led consortium.

The settlement under discussion calls for Western Digital to drop arbitration claims seeking to stop the sale in exchange for Toshiba allowing it to invest in a new production line for advanced flash memory chips that will start next year.

A Toshiba spokesman said that while the company was open to a settlement, it would not disclose discussion specifics or details of board of directors meetings. “It is not a fact that we have reached an agreement with Western Digital,” he said.

Western Digital is not saying anything.

Toshiba was forced to put the unit – the world’s no. 2 producer of NAND chips – on the block to cover billions of dollars in liabilities arising from its now bankrupt US nuclear power unit Westinghouse.

The deal with the Bain-led consortium will, however, see it reinvest in the unit and together with Hoya a maker of parts for chip devices, Japanese firms will hold more than 50 percent of the business – a keen wish of the Japanese government.

As part of the planned settlement, Toshiba and Western Digital would extend existing agreements for their chip joint ventures in Yokkaichi, central Japan, one of the sources said. The current agreements are set to start expiring from 2021.

Western Digital would also invest in a completely new chip plant that Toshiba will start building next year in northern Japan, the source said.

Western Digital, one of world’s leading makers of hard disk drives, paid some $16 billion last year to acquire SanDisk, Toshiba’s chip joint venture partner since 2000.

With data storage key to most next-generation technologies from artificial intelligence and autonomous driving to the Internet of Things, NAND chips have only grown in importance and Western Digital has been desperate to keep the business out of the hands of rival chipmakers.

The sale still needs to clear the snarling mauls of the regulatory watchdogs but they are not expected to rip the trousers of the deal.

Courtesy-Fud

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