The Mate S, launched on the sidelines of Europe’s biggest consumer electronics show, IFA, in Berlin, has a 5.5-inch display, a 13 mega pixel rear camera and fingerprint security. Huawei says it is one of the first smartphones to include a Force Touch display, which can distinguish between a light tap and deep press, enabling access to more functions just by pressing harder.
Huawei became the world’s third-biggest smartphone company by sales last month, according to research firm Gartner, overtaking Chinese rival Lenovo, and aims to become the first Chinese firm to sell more than 100 million smartphones this year.
But it is still far behind Samsung, which had 21.9 percent of the market in the second quarter, and Apple, on 14.6 percent. Huawei’s share rose to 7.8 percent from 5.4 percent in the first quarter.
Huawei’s Mate S phone will retail for 649 euros ($732) — comparable to some higher-end Apple iPhone 6 series models — with a premium version for 748 euros, the Chinese company said.
“Huawei aspires to be the next Samsung, successful with both premium design and by shipping large numbers of smartphone models,” said IHS analyst Ian Fogg, who expects Huawei to ship about 109 million smartphones this year.
“2015′s Huawei smartphone launches show the company is finally coming close to meeting these market goals which Huawei set some years ago.”
The top of the smartphone market is a tough environment, as Samsung has experienced. While it remains the world’s biggest smartphone maker, Apple is reaping most of the rewards. The U.S. company is estimated by some analysts to earn 90 percent or more of the industry’s profits.
Huawei has its roots in telecoms equipment gear where it competes with the likes of Ericsson and Nokia, but it has invested heavily in consumer devices in recent years.
Its Mate S will be available in more than 30 countries including China, Germany, Israel,Japan, France, Germany and Spain and can be pre-ordered in Western Europe from Sept. 15.
The Swedish telecom equipment vendor is planning on showing off some of the developments at the CTIA Super Mobility conference next week in Las Vegas.
5G will likely be one of the hottest topics at CTIA, but LTE still has lots mileage left — after all, the first two letters stand for Long Term. And it’s a lot easier to upgrade an existing network than roll out a new one.
One of the more contentious upgrades is using unlicensed spectrum for LTE. Detractors fear it will affect Wi-Fi performance, which uses the same frequencies.
To prevent that from happening, a number of methods are being developed to make LTE play well alongside Wi-Fi. At CTIA, Ericsson is demonstrating LTE-U (Unlicensed) Fair Sharing, which continually monitors the radio environment to determine the overall average channel availability.
The company is also showing LTE at speeds up to 600Mbps with the help of carrier aggregation and better signal encoding. Carrier aggregation, which is part of LTE-Advanced, allows networks to devote more resources to some users by treating two or more channels in the same or different frequency bands as if they were one.
Because of the amount of spectrum needed, not all operators will be able to offer 600Mbps.
The work that’s been done to increase bandwidths has so far focused on faster download speeds. Using some of the same technologies, attention is now being turned to speedier uploads, as well.
However, future LTE networks are also being developed to work better with the Internet of Things. A new version called LTE Category 0 is much slower than current networks, but that’s fine since most IoT apps don’t need lots of bandwidth. The upside is that the cost of devices drops and battery lives can be extended to 10 years and more.
To show what’s possible, Ericsson has teamed up with chipmaker Sequans to demonstrate a prototype network and device.
All the LTE upgrades are part of Ericsson’s Networks Software 16A and 16B. They will be used on indoor and outdoor base stations and become available next year.
The goal is to help businesses such as manufacturers or retailers, who may be running networks in far-flung places, to have better security when connecting their applications to the corporate network, said Shawn Hakl, head of network platforms and managed services for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
The type of organizations Verizon is aiming to attract are those running a Layer 3 private network who may want a better and more reliable connection for people using mobile apps.
Mobile users will connect to whatever network is available and then onto Verizon’s private network, Hakl said. Applications can securely connect, and the traffic can be put through the usual security inspections before it goes into the corporate network.
“You can make sure that you essentially got a secure transaction,” Hakl said. “You can establish an encrypted tunnel to that device, and you can ensure that data is not exposed.”
The primary use case Verizon sees now for the technology is for 4G or LTE modems in the back of routers, Hakl said. Some businesses use those type of connections as a backup for primary wireline circuits.
The connections made should result in a better user experience, and there is little configuration that needs to be done on end-user devices, he said.
Verizon is one of many large network operators looking to SDN to bring more flexibility to the services they offer to customers and at a lower price.
Facebook Inc’s Instagram unveiled new features that will allow users to exchange messages in private and group conversations as the photo and video-sharing service attempts to keep up with growing messaging service Snapchat.
The upgrade by Instagram, which has more than 300 million users, is the latest move in the escalating battle for a young audience addicted to messaging with younger and hipper rival Snapchat, which has 100 million users and growing.
The new features mean Instagram users can share pictures directly with one friend or a group of people and send back text responses or pictures, which Instagram hopes will make users want to stay on its mobile app or web site longer.
Young mobile users are increasingly interested in messaging friends and having conversations online, rather than merely viewing content. As much as 40 percent of all comments on Instagram posts mention other accounts, Instagram said, suggesting that many users like to flag content to users they know and start conversations about it.
The move comes a week after Instagram upgraded its service to allow new layout options in addition to its signature square for pictures and videos, which was viewed as a move to compete better with Snapchat.
Snapchat, which is popular partly because messages on its platform disappear after a few seconds, already offered a variety of picture and video formats. Earlier this year, Snapchat upgraded its service so users could exchange text messages in response to photos and videos.
Many social sites and apps have added specialized messaging features recently in a bid to keep users.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, launched its Messenger service as a standalone app earlier this year, and added a virtual assistant called ‘M’ last week that can complete tasks for users such as shopping.
Security company G Data has identified more than 20 mobile phones that have malware installed despite being marketed as new, according to a research report. And it doesn’t appear the infection is occurring during manufacturing.
“Somebody is unlocking the phone and putting the malware on there and relocking the phone,” said Andy Hayter, security evangelist for G Data.
Many of the suspect phones are sold in Asia and Europe through third parties or middlemen and aren’t coming directly from the manufacturers, Hayter said.
Brands of affected phones include Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Alps, ConCorde, DJC, Sesonn and Xido.
G Data has contacted some manufacturers, including Lenovo, whose S860 Android smartphone in one instance was found to have the malware.
Ray Gorman, Lenovo’s executive director of external communications, wrote in an email that the device G Data analyzed came from a third-party marketplace. The malware was installed by middlemen, he wrote.
“This is the only such occurrence we have been made aware of,” Gorman wrote. “We always recommend customers transact with authorized distribution channels and only accept merchandise that comes in an official box with original factory seals.”
The malware is embedded in a legitimate app, such as Facebook, which is sometimes preinstalled on phones, Hayter said. It can read and send text messages, install other apps, collect and change call data, grab location information, record phone calls or send premium SMSes, according to G Data’s report.
It’s impossible for consumers to remove since it resides inside the phone’s firmware.
“You can’t take it off there unless you unlock the phone,” Hayter said.
G Data was alerted to the problem after receiving support calls from users who said a file had been quarantined but that it couldn’t be removed.
The problem has been around for a while. In June 2014, G Data said it found malware in the firmware of a relatively inexpensive Android device made by the Chinese manufacturer Star.
Xiaomi is the latest big phone manufacturer trying to make its own SoCs to differentiate itself from the fearsome competition.
China’s biggest smartphone manufacturer is working on its own SoC that is scheduled to appear in 2016. Details are thin on the ground but it would appear that the company is working on its own ARM based chip. This will help company to compete with Apple, Samsung and Huawei. These three already have an inhouse SoC.
Apple started making its own SoC a while ago with the original iPhone and Samsung has joined in a few years later. This is going to become more common in the phone industry.
Samsung caught everyone by surprise when it announced that its flagship Galaxy S6 and the latest Galaxy 6 Note and edge ended up with a 14nm based 7240 . Before this, they used Qualcomm chips for their high end devices.
HTC ended up using Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 while LG G4 flagship phone chose the Snapdragon 808 which was a slightly slower version of the chip.
Huawei has acquired HiSIlicon SoC manufacturer a few years ago and the company makes its own SoC branded Kirin. The company is doing a decent job with its latest Kirin 930. This “four plus four” A53 chip with one cluster with 2.0 GHz and another with 1.5Ghz seems like a decent chip. It even has Cat 6 modem to compete better.
The future Kirin 950 will have A72 cores and even Cat 10 modems but this is something we will see in course of 2016.
If Xiaomi becomes successful in its SoC plans, it will put Qualcomm and MediaTek in a tough position. The company is using Snapdragon 810 in its MI Note Pro, and Snapdragon 615 in Mi 4i phone.
Redmi Note 2 is using the quite popular MediaTek SoC Helio X10 SoC that ended up in quite a few phones coming from the Far East.
Xiaomi has already developed LC1860 processor for its low end Redmi 2A, which was a sub $100 phone. This was developed by the Xiaomi-owned Pine Cone Electronics working with Chinese chip maker Leadcore Technology. The LC 1860 was significantly less expensive that similar spec Qualcomm chip.
LG has been working on its own SoC codenamed Odin and we still haven’t seen a single device with it. Making SoC chips with an integrated LTE is hard and it costs Qualcomm and MediaTek billions of dollars to refresh the latest offering at least once a year. This was why Nvidia and Texas Instruments have dropped out of this game as it was too hard to compete.
T-Mobile USA is on a mission to stop data thieves, which it says are taking advantage of the company’s unlimited high-speed data plan through excessive tethering — the use of smartphone data service on other devices.
The carrier offers unlimited 4G LTE on smartphones, but limits data usage through tethering to 7GB a month under a Smartphone Mobile HotSpot feature, which reduces speed beyond that limit. If a customer needs more LTE tethering, he or she can add on more.
But CEO John Legere has accused some users of “hacking” the system to swipe high-speed tethered data, by strategies like downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones or writing code to mask their activity.
“It’s a small group — 1/100 of a percent of our 59 million customers — but some of them are using as much as 2 terabytes (2,000GB!) of data in a month,” Legere wrote.
“I’m not sure what they are doing with it — stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin — but I really don’t care!,” he added.
Legere said the company was going first after the 3,000 users who know exactly what they are doing, as they can compromise the network experience for other T-Mobile customers. The company claims to have developed technology that can detect the people who choose to break its terms and conditions.
Erring customers will be warned, and then lose access to the company’s unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan, and be moved to an entry-level limited 4G LTE data plan, according to a support page.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter granted $75 million to assist a consortium of high-tech firms and researchers develop electronic systems packed with sensors flexible enough to be worn by soldiers or molded onto the skin of a plane.
Carter said funding for the Obama administration’s newest manufacturing institute would go to the FlexTech Alliance, a consortium of 162 companies, universities and other groups, from Boeing , Apple and Harvard, to Advantest Akron Polymer Systems and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
The group will work to advance the development and manufacture of so-called flexible hybrid electronics, which can be embedded with sensors and stretched, twisted and bent to fit aircraft or other platform where they will be used.
“This is an emerging technology that takes advanced flexible materials for circuits, communications, sensors and power and combines them with thinned silicon chips to ultimately produce the next generation of electronic products,” Carter said.
He was speaking at NASA’s Ames Research Center in the heart of Silicon Valley.
The consortium, which will be managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, will add $90 million to the federal money. Local governments will chip in more, boosting the group’s total five-year funding level to $171 million.
Defense officials say the rapid development of new technologies around the globe is forcing the Pentagon to seek partnerships with the private sector rather than developing most of its technology itself, as it once did.
The Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Hub, which will be based in San Jose, is the seventh of nine such institutes planned by the Obama administration in an effort to revitalize the U.S. manufacturing base.
The European Commission will launch a study in September of the ride-hailing app Uber in an effort to resolve legal disputes that have pitted the U.S. start-up against conventional taxis across Europe, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Since opening in Paris in 2011, San Francisco-based Uber has run into vehement opposition from taxi drivers, who complain it competes unfairly by bypassing local laws on licensing and safety.
Uber has responded by submitting complaints to the European Commission against German and Spanish court bans, as well as a new French law on taxis.
The study will attempt to determine the legal instruments Brussels might use to decide whether Uber is a transport service or just a digital service, an EU official said.
Uber argues it is a digital platform that connects willing drivers with customers. Being considered a transport service might make it subject to stricter rules on licensing, insurance and safety.
The study will review the regulatory regimes for taxi services in all member states and assess if an EU-wide framework is needed. Currently, taxis and vehicle-with-chauffeur services are regulated at a national level.
“This investigation appears to indicate that the European Commission believes that the manner in which the taxi and private hire sectors are currently regulated in some member states is dysfunctional and is no longer fit for purpose, not to mention new barriers to entry for innovative, technology-based services such as ridesharing,” an Uber spokeswoman said.
The study will run in parallel with a case at the European Union’s top court that could set a precedent for legal battles across the continent. However, it is likely the European Court of Justice will rule before the completion of the study, expected around June next year. In the meantime, the Commission will also continue assessing the complaints against France,Germany and Spain. In May, the Commission asked France for more information on its new taxi law, which Uber says favors regular taxis at its expense.
The Commission has previously said it welcomes innovative services such as Uber as part of the so-called sharing economy - where individuals are put in touch with others offering services, such as travel or accommodation.
Qualcomm has launched its new Official Safety Car for season two of the FIA’s Formula E Championship.
For those not in the know, the Formula E Championship is for electric cars, and they are no longer the milk floats that English people get stuck behind in narrow streets.
The new Official Qualcomm Safety Car is the BMW i8 but it will be charged wirelessly with an advanced Qualcomm Halo 7.2kW wireless charging system.
The Qualcomm Halo 7.2kW wireless charging system delivers twice the amount of energy to the BMW i8′s batteries per hour as compared to last year’s 3.6kW system.
This halves the full charge time, enabling the vehicle to fully charge in one hour. Employing Qualcomm Halo DD technology, with magnetic architecture optimization, ensures higher coupling coefficients and drives lower system currents, higher inefficiencies and the ability to support higher power levels.
A Qualcomm spokesman said that an open championship has encouraged teams to develop their own powertrain tech.
This ensures that the racing remains highly competitive, and it supports the goal of Formula E to advance the development of new technologies for electric vehicles and to bring those technologies, vital to sustainable mobility, to the attention of millions of people around the globe, a spokesman said.
Qualcomm’s general manager of wireless charging, Steve Pazol said Qualcomm was excited to continue its support of Formula E in this second season.
According to J.D. Power’s 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report, 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of 33 of the latest technology features.
The 2015 DrIVE Report measures driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership.
The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); heads-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%).
Additionally, there are 14 technology features that 20% or more of owners don’t even want in their next vehicle. Those features include Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. When narrowed to just Gen Yers, the number of vehicle owners who don’t want entertainment and connectivity systems increases to 23%.
“In many cases, owners simply prefer to use their smartphone or tablet because it meets their needs; they’re familiar with the device and it’s accurate,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human-machine interface (HMI) research at J.D. Power. “In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers.”
About the technology now offered in new cars, vehicle owners said they simply “did not find it useful,” adding that it “came as part of a package on my current vehicle and I did not want it.”
Vehicle owners who said their dealer did not explain a tech feature also had a higher likelihood of never using it, the survey found.
J.D. Power built its report on responses from more than 4,200 vehicle owners and lessees after 90 days of ownership. The report was conducted between April and June 2015.
High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) will define the future of graphics and it looks like Samsung will be ready to release products using the technology soon.
Our friends at Computerbase have broken the story about Samsung making High Bandwidth Memory HBM 2 memory. HBM 2.0 will find its way to HPC and Graphics cards in 2016 and Samsung expects that by 2017 this super-fast type of memory will reach the network market. The plan is to see HBM 2.0 mainstream by 2018.
Our well placed, camera shy sources within the computer graphics industry have confirmed that SK Hynix and Samsung will be providing the memory for graphics cards in 2016. Hynix has started shipping the first generation HBM to AMD for its Fury X products and has a head start over Samsung.
Usually Samsung doesn’t fall that far behind and is quick to learn. We hear that both companies are competing for graphics cards designs in the 2016.
AMD has the Greenland high end GPU lined up while Nvidia has pinned its hopes in its first ever High Bandwidth Memory 2.0 product codenamed Pascal.
The second generation HBM offers 8Gb per DRAM die, 2Gbps speed per pin, 256 GB/s bandwidth and Four Hi Stack of 4GB or 8 Hi Stacks of 8GB per chip.
HBM2 means that there can be cards with four HBM 2.0 chips, 4GB per chip, or four HBM 2.0 chips with 8GB per chip. This results in 16GB and 32GB cards. This sounds like an appropriate amount of memory for high end GPU in 2016.
It was naive to believe reports that AMD will have SK Hynix love since it had a head start with the Fiji codenamed Fury X branded cards. Nvidia has close to 80 percent of the market, memory manufacturers including SK Hynix or Samsung cannot ignore that. They are in the business of making money.
IBM security research has found that people are using the so-called dark net to launch cyber attacks, force ransomware demands on punters and make distributed denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
The dark net, accessed via Tor, is often tagged as a threat. The IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly 3Q 2015 report identifies a spike in bad traffic and leads with a warning.
The report introduces Tor as the network that takes people to the dark net. We might start calling it the ferryman and the passage across the river Styx, but things are complicated enough.
IBM said that Tor is used by “non-malicious government officials, journalists, law enforcement officials” and bad people alike. It is the latter that should concern us.
“This latest report reveals that more than 150,000 malicious events have originated from Tor in the US alone thus far in 2015,” the report said.
“Tor has also played a role in the growing ransomware attack trend. Attackers have evolved the use of encryption to hold data hostage and demand payment/ransom for the decryption code.”
We have been here before, and ransomware has been a feature of many a security alert this year already. We heard, courtesy of Bitdefender, that ransomware charges start at £320, and are a real pain to deal with. We also heard that it is Android mobile users in the UK who get the worst of the hackers’ grabbing-for-money treatment.
Back at the IBM report, and we find IBM X-Force on the issue. X-Force, which is nothing like X-Men, said that hackers push internet users who are easily fooled by flashy online advertisements into installing the new cyber nightmare. Ransomware, it warns, will separate you from your cash.
“A surprising number of users are fooled by fake/rogue antivirus [AV] messages that are nothing more than animated web ads that look like actual products. The fake AV scam tricks users into installing or updating an AV product they may never have had,” it explains, adding that in some cases people pay the money without thinking.
“Afterward, the fake AV keeps popping up fake malware detection notices until the user pays some amount of money, typically something in the range of what an AV product would cost.”
This establishes the subject as a mark, and the hackers will exploit the opportunity. “Do not assume that if you are infected with encryption-based ransomware you can simply pay the ransom and reliably get your data back,” said IBM.
“The best way to avoid loss is to back up your data. Regardless of whether your backup is local or cloud-based, you must ensure that you have at least one copy that is not directly mapped visibly as a drive on your computer.”
Tor nodes in the US spewed out the most bad traffic in the first half of this year, according to the report, adding up to about 180,000 attacks. The Netherlands is second with around 150,000, and Romania is third with about 80,000.
The bulk of this negative attention lands at technology and communications companies. You might have assumed the financial markets, but you were wrong. IBM said that ICT gets over 300,000 Tor thwacks every six months, manufacturing gets about 245,000, and finance gets about 170,000.
IBM said that the old enemy, SQL injection attacks, is the most common Tor-led threat to come at its customers. Vulnerability scanning attacks are also a problem, and IBM said that the use of the network as a means for distributed DoS attacks should “Come as no surprise”. It doesn’t.
“These attacks combine Tor-commanded botnets with a sheaf of Tor exit nodes. In particular, some of the US-based exit nodes provide huge bandwidth,” explained the report.
“Employing a handful of the exit nodes in a distributed DoS orchestrated by the botnet controller and originating at dozens or hundreds of bot hosts can impose a large burden on the targeted system with a small outlay of attacker resources, and generally effective anonymity.”
There is a lot more. The bottom line is that bad things happen on the dark net and that they come to people and businesses through Tor. IBM said that concerned outfits should just block it and move on, which is along the lines of something that Akamai said recently.
“Corporate networks really have little choice but to block communications to these stealthy networks. The networks contain significant amounts of illegal and malicious activity,” said Akamai.
“Allowing access between corporate networks and stealth networks can open the corporation to the risk of theft or compromise, and to legal liability in some cases and jurisdictions.”
That sounds fine to us, but won’t someone give a thought to those non-malicious government officials out there?
By Sept. 4, the Apple Watch will be available in 900 Best Buy stores, and it will appear in the retailer’s remaining locations by the end of the month, CEO Hubert Joly said.
Best Buy began selling the wearable in 100 stores as well as online on Aug. 7. The company had planned to expand availability to 200 additional stores by the Christmas shopping season.
However, “early momentum” from the Apple Watch “triggered” Best Buy to expand and accelerate the rollout, Joly said during a conference call to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings.
Joly didn’t say how many Apple Watches the chain has sold so far. Apple hasn’t shared watch sales data either.
During Apple’s third-quarter earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook said customers would have more ways to purchase the smartwatch because the company expects it to be a popular Christmas gift. A few days later, Best Buy said it would carry the wearable.
Best Buy is the only major retailer to stock the Apple Watch. The device can also be purchased from Apple’s retail and online stores and from a few high-end clothing and department stores.
Joly also discussed plans to expand Best Buy’s relationship with Apple.
The Apple shop-in-a-shop sections of 740 Best Buy stores are getting a makeover, with new fixtures and larger display tables to show Apple hardware, he said. So far, Best Buy has remodeled 350 of those departments and will revamp another 170 by the holiday shopping season.
Days after Apple finally decided to replace faulty cameras on a batch of their premium phones, we find out that there’s a serious design flaw in Samsung’s newest flagship phablet with a pen.
You know how Apple invests a lot of effort into filming gorgeous-looking promotional videos for their overpriced products? And then, sometimes, they don’t really think the products all the way through, so you may end up having to return it for repairs within weeks from splurging on them? We wrote about the issues with the camera on the iPhone 6 plus here.
You know how Samsung was repeatedly accused of shamelessly coppying Apple for years? How there was even a multi billion dollar law suit and an almost equally large court sentence? Honestly, we thought that fining Samsung for going with rounded corners, just like Apple’s, was a bit over the top, but now we’re not sure if the companies aren’t tied together more than we would have believed.
Case in point: Samsung’s newest and arguably best designed phablet to date, the Note 5, seems to have a serious design flaw. And if you ever use the Note 5 pen while drunk, you might get to know that flaw intimately.
As Android Police discovered, it’s very easy to insert the pen into the Note 5 backwards. And if you do, there is a very high chance that you will irreparably break the phone. Namely, the pen clasping mechanism seems to grasp it so firmly, that even if you do manage to pry it out, the mechanism might not function any more. And maybe even more worryingly, the software on the phone won’t recognise the insertion or removal of the pen anymore. So none of that handy S Pen ease of use that Samsung has been so diligently designing over the years.
Well, we’re hoping to find out very soon what exactly Samsung intends to do to mitigate/resolve this little mess in the coming weeks. If we find out first, we’ll let you know asap.