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AMD Faces Legal Issues Over Spectre and Meltdown Bugs

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has been sued by a company because of the way it handled the Spectre and Meltdown bugs.

It is not exactly because of the flaws, but because of the speed at which AMD said that it was not in trouble because its chips did not suffer from the bugs.

Rosen Law Firm is a global investor rights firm, where a class action lawsuit has been kicked off on “behalf of purchasers of the securities of Advanced Micro Devices”. The lawsuit details:

“Defendants during the Class Period made materially false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) a fundamental security flaw in Advanced Micro’s processor chips renders them susceptible to hacking; and (2) as a result, Advanced Micro’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages”.

So AMD is in deep trouble over saying: “To be clear, the security research team identified three variants targeting speculative execution. The threat and the response to the three variants differ by microprocessor company, and AMD is not susceptible to all three variants. Due to differences in AMD’s architecture, we believe there is a near zero risk to AMD processors currently. We expect the security research to be published later today and will provide further updates at that time”.

AMD boldly splitting infinitives which had not been split before said the allegations were without merit and it intends to “vigorously defend against these baseless claims”.

AMD’s current CPUs, Zen core-based products, are entirely immune to Meltdown. Type 2 Spectre attacks that work on AMD hardware are tricky to carry out and need a different set of code for the “same” attack on a different device. AMD Type 1 attacks will not work on Intel or ARM hardware because of implementation differences, and the converse is true too. This means hackers would have to tailor their malware to not just the Type 1/2/3 attack but also for the specific hardware.

Courtesy-Fud

Grammarly Squashes Security Hole

February 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Typo targeting browser extension Grammarly was found harboring a bug that could potentially expose everything a user ever wrote when using the spelling and grammar checker.

The bug was found by serial flaw spotter Travis Ormandy of Google’s Project Zero security fame. The researcher found that the Chrome and Firefox extension was leaking authentication tokens meaning any website a user visited could access their “documents, history, logs, and all other data”.

Essentially, this would mean all their scribing, blog posting, email, tweeting, moaning on INQUIRER articles and so on, could have been exposed to the wrong eyes providing a bit of simple scripting had been put in place.

“I’m calling this a high severity bug, because it seems like a pretty severe violation of user expectations,” said Ormandy.

“Users would not expect that visiting a website gives it permission to access documents or data they’ve typed into other websites.”

The re-searcher promptly contacted them guys at Grammarly and informed, it of the bug. Grammarly was well fast and promptly patched da bug, in what Ormandy called “really impressive response time”.

Grammarly fix-ed the bug in the extenshion in the Chrome Web Store and pushed out a patch for the Firefox version.

Such was the speedy response Grammarly is claimed that the bug wasn’t exploited and all is well wit the spelchecker.

Neveraless, the bug was certainly an alarming one as Grammarly having 22 million users on its book, which if the bug hadn’t been picked up by Ormandy, could have seen their writing sucked up and exposed by websites with malicious coders lurking up-on them.

Ifcourse, this did’nt happn but it does rise the qeshtion of how much acces we gif bowser extensions to our online acitivitieses and how nuch duue dillegeance is dun to ensure such add-inss r savfe an& bug-three.

Courtesy-TheInq

Google Shipped Nearly 4M Pixel Phones, Analyst Says

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Google won’t reveal the number of Pixel phones it shipped in 2017, but one analyst from the research firm IDC has a number: 3.9 million.

The analyst, IDC Research Director Francisco Jeronimo, said the figure includes both generations of the phone, the Pixel 1 and 2. For comparison, it’s a “tiny portion” compared with the entire 1.5 billion market size for smartphones altogether, Jeronimo said. And it’s just a sliver compared with the 77.3 million iPhones Apple sold in the last quarter alone.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Though the numbers are small, the good news for Google is that they’re growing. Jeronimo said Google doubled its Pixel sales in the last year.

Google debuted the Pixel, the search giant’s first branded phone, in October 2016, and unveiled the second generation of the device exactly one year later. The company has made a serious investment in hardware. In 2016, Google brought in former Motorola executive Rick Osterloh to lead its hardware division, which includes its Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast streaming devices and Google Wi-Fi routers.

The company also said last year it made a $1 billion investment in hardware maker HTC to bring to Google 2,000 engineers, many of whom worked on the Pixel. And the search giant’s hardware division keeps growing. Last week, Google said it’s folding Nest, the smart device maker, into the Google hardware team, after Nest was spun out into a separate company under Google’s parent Alphabet in 2015.

OLED Display Maker eMagin Gets $10M Boost From Apple, LG

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

A small firm that produces OLED microdisplays is getting some attention from tech giants with big plans for virtual and augmented reality.

Apple, LG and Valve are making a $10 million investment in eMagin, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hopewell Junction, New York-based company makes microdisplays used in the military, medical and industrial fields, but it has recently turned its attention to companies building consumer headsets.

“We entered into strategic agreements with multiple Tier One consumer product companies for the design and development of microdisplays for consumer head-mounted devices and, together with these companies, negotiated with mass production manufacturers for higher volume production capabilities,” eMagin said in its filing.

The company’s flagship product is a 2K display with a resolution of 2,048 by 2,048 pixels and a 70 percent fill factor, the percentage of each pixel that can be used to gather light.

The investment, made in the form of a new stock issuance, was expected to be completed before the end of January, according to the filing.

The investment underscores the tech community’s commitment to virtual reality, which promises to transport goggle-wearing users to a computer-generated 3D environment. Augmented reality, meanwhile, overlays digital images on the real world via special headsets.

Apple amped up its AR play in January when it released its ARKit 1.5 to developers. The software, which is part of the upcoming iOS 11.3 release, will pack new features to enable richer apps, including the ability to places items on vertical walls and doors, not just horizontal surfaces like tables.

LG and Valve have also partnered on developing a VR head-mounted display.

Apple and eMagin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Verizon Is Re-tooling It’s Unlocked Phones Policy

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon is strengthening it’s security protocols to protect its phones.

The nation’s largest wireless carrier announced that it would begin locking the phones it sells to consumers, which will prevent them from using a SIM card from another carrier. Initially, the phones will be unlocked as soon as a customer signs up and activates the service. But later in the spring, the company will begin the practice of keeping the phone locked for a period of time after the purchase — in line with the rest of the industry.

Verizon said it is doing this to deter criminals from stealing phones, often on route to retail stores or from the stores themselves. Unlocked phones make attractive targets because they can be resold on the black market or used overseas with different carriers. That’s particularly the case for iPhones, which are a top target for thieves because of their high resale value.

“We’re taking steps to combat this theft and reduce fraud,” Tami Erwin, executive vice president of wireless operations for Verizon, said in a statement. “These steps will make our phones exponentially less desirable to criminals.”

For consumers, there’s little immediate impact because the phone gets unlocked immediately through a software update. But the policy change in the spring could be a hassle for customers who buy a new phone and then go overseas. One way of saving on international roaming fees is to buy a SIM card from a local carrier. If you have a locked phone, you’ll need to contact Verizon to unlock the device before switching out your SIM card — assuming the carrier will make the exception.

The policy change underscores how the issue of phone theft remains prevalent despite the CTIA wireless trade group, the carriers and phone makers banding together to add antitheft tools to phones in 2015. A study conducted by fraud and theft data provider Recipero in 2016 found that 5 percent of devices offered for sale or trade-in at retail were reported lost or stolen, while 4 percent of warranty claims were made on lost or stolen phones.

Verizon wouldn’t say how long the locked period would be, adding only that it would provide an update ahead of when it rolls out the policy. It also declined to provide a specific timeline. The wait period is in place to deter scammers from signing up for service using stolen identities to get a new phone and immediately turning around and selling the device.

The move may elicit a backlash from people concerned that this isn’t a consumer-friendly action. But Verizon’s policy to sell entirely unlocked phones — which it has done ever since it began selling 4G LTE devices — was the most generous in the industry. That’s largely because of a deal with the Federal Communications Commission requiring it to unlock phones as part of its acquisition of a block of 700 megahertz spectrum, which it uses to power its LTE network.

AT&T requires you to pay off your phone and be active on your service for at least 60 days. Even then, there’s a 14-day wait after you make your request. Sprint also requires that you have paid off your phone and wait 50 days, although the phone is automatically unlocked. T-Mobile has the same paid device requirement and a 40-day wait period, but will offer to temporarily unlock the device sooner for travel.

Even after the change, Verizon will continue to unlock the phone regardless of whether it’s paid off or not. The company will also still accept unlocked phones from other carriers.

Facebook Testing ‘Downvote’ Button

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It’s probably the easiest ways to express your opinion: like or dislike.

Yet for a more than a decade, Facebook only offered the happier option, the thumbs-up. That’s about to change.

The social networking giant is testing a new feature that lets some people register a negative reaction to comments with a button called “downvote.”

The goal, Facebook said, is to allow people to weigh in on comments people leave on public pages, like those for President Donald Trump. When selected, the button offers reporting options like “offensive,” “misleading” and “off topic.”

“We are not testing a dislike button,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts.”

Facebook is currently only testing this feature in the US, with a small number of people using its app on Android-powered phones.

The move marks yet another way Facebook is hoping to spur more interaction on its site, and keep its users happy. Offering easy ways for people to mark comments as “offensive” and “misleading” may help quell users’ concerns about harassment, as well as the impact of Russian propagandists who used the site to spread misleading information during the 2016 election.

Facebook’s efforts also answer people’s long-running response to the company’s mascot, the thumbs-up “like” button, which was rolled out in 2009. While the “like” feature allows users to express their approval over a post or a photo, some people complained it was too limiting.

“Not every moment is a good moment,” said Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A session in 2015. He said he realizes people may not want to “like” a current event such as the Syrian refugee crisis or a family member passing away. But at the time, he didn’t want users to merely vote up or down on people’s posts.

The answer was a set of emojis, which the company released in 2016. The reactions expanded options to a laughing face, an angry face, a “wow,” a sad face and a heart. “It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that’s that simple,” Zuckerberg said when announcing the initiative.

Unlike the “like” button or “reactions,” the downvote button isn’t about giving feedback to commenters but rather to Facebook. The intention is to give users a way to flag inappropriate, uncivil or misleading comments, Facebook said.

It doesn’t affect a comment’s ranking, and users won’t even see how many people downvoted a comment.

Facebook said there are currently no plans to expand the feature.

Microsoft Gaming Division Growing

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

Microsoft today reported its quarterly earnings, giving a glimpse into the health of its gaming business in the process.

Over the final three months of 2017, Microsoft’s gaming business brought in $3.92 billion, up 8% year-over-year. Much of that growth was driven by sales of the Xbox One X, which launched during the quarter at a premium price point of $500. Microsoft said hardware revenues for the quarter were up 14% year-over-year.

Microsoft’s gaming software and services revenues were also up, but not as sharply. The company saw a 4% rise year-over-year, with continuing growth in digital distribution helping offset first-party AAA revenues that were down compared to the previous holiday season. Microsoft’s 2016 holiday lineup included Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, while the 2017 slate relied on Forza Motorsport 7.

As for Xbox Live, Microsoft reported 59 million active users on the service during the last three months of the year, up 7% year-over-year.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Nintendo’s Switch Helps Push Profits Higher

February 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

The former maker of playing cards Nintendo reported its biggest third quarter operating profit in eight years, driven by smashing demand for its new Switch games console.

The outfit now expects annual earnings to outstrip its previous estimate. This is thanks to the growing popularity of the hybrid home-portable Switch which nearly doubled Nintendo’s stock price to nine-year highs. Sales have far exceeded initial estimates, beating those of predecessor Wii U, and leaving suppliers scrambling for parts.

Nintendo posted an operating profit of $1.07 billion for the third quarter, up almost fourfold from a year ago. This is the highest ever that the company has earned in the October-December period since 2009.

Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said that Switch sales during the holiday season were stronger than expected in Japan, the United States, and Europe.

Nintendo sold 7.2 million Switch consoles in the three months through December and raised its annual sales forecast to 15 million units from 14 million units.

That already exceeds lifetime sales of 13.56 million consoles for the Wii U which was on the market for about five years.

The company expects Switch console sales to further rise to 20 million units or more next year, starting April.

As yet another attempt to diversify, Nintendo said this month it would launch in April “Labo” a set of LEGO-style accessories for the Switch console that kids can build themselves on cardboard sheets.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Watch Sets Record For Shipped Devices

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The electronics giant, Apple, has shipped 8 million Apple Watches in the fourth quarter of 2017, Canalys research shows, which the firm said is a record for wearables sold by a company during a quarter. Fitbit was the previous record holder, Canalys told CNET, shipping 6.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Apple has won the wearables game,” said Jason Low, senior analyst at Canalys. The company shipped 18 million Watch devices throughout 2017, a 54 percent increase on 2016.

While Android Wear competitors, like the Samsung Gear S3 and Huawei’s Watch 2, are compatible with both Androids and iPhones, Apple’s Watch devices don’t work with Android phones. “Despite innovative designs, such as the rotating bezels and circular screens employed by other vendors, Apple has pulled far ahead as it continues to focus on its core iPhone user base,” Low added.

Apple’s 2017 wearable success is in large part thanks to its September-released Watch Series 3, which added cellular connection — allowing you to make phone calls from your Watch — to the product range. Canalys said the Watch did particularly well in the US, Australia and Japan, where major carriers sold it over the holiday season.

It’s congruent with what Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a call to investors last week. “It was our best quarter ever for the Apple Watch,” he said, “with over 50 percent growth in revenue and units for the fourth quarter in a row and strong double-digit growth in every geographic segment.”

In terms of volume, Apple’s closest competitor is Chinese company Xiaomi and its inexpensive Mi Bands: In 2017’s third quarter, Apple held 23 percent of the market, compared to Xiaomi’s 21 percent. Fitbit wasn’t far behind though, with a market share of 20 percent.

SAP Goes Deeper Into The Clouds

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

The maker of expensive management software which is so esoteric few people know what it does has designed to invest $2.4 billion to get more practical about clouds.

SAP has announced a $2.4 billion acquisition of Callidus to help it boost revenues from its cloud platform and CEO Bill McDermott said it would streamline its overall business this year to bolster margins.

The German company is midway through a strategic transition, aiming to force the pace on developing its S/4 HANA cloud platform, which now counts 7,900 customers, and wean customers off software sold under license and installed at offices and factories.

The shift has squeezed margins in recent years because the cloud business model is based on subscriptions which take longer to pay off – in contrast to one-off, up-front software licence payments that was the thrust of its business for decades.

McDermott claimed his cloudy strategy was now bearing fruit after SAP broadly stabilised its operating margins in the fourth quarter at 35.2 percent.

Acquiring U.S. sales software firm Callidus will help SAP become the market leader in front-office software used in sales and marketing, building on its strength in back-office software that is used by companies to maintain control over far-flung multinational operations.

McDermott said SuccessFactors, the human resources application acquired by SAP for $3.4 billion in 2011, would be entirely migrated to the cloud this year.

“This year, the entire company will be on one platform,” McDermott told Reuters after SAP announced 2017 results that met its twice-raised guidance but came in just shy of analyst expectations.

He described Callidus as a “tuck-in” deal that would not move the needle on revenues but that he valued for the company’s market leadership and innovation.

As Callidus was on the cloud, it would help SAP achieve a 2020 goal of having “predictable” revenues of 70 to 75 percent of the total. These grew by one percentage point to 63 percent in 2017.

“We did that to get another cloud revenue stream in the mix,” McDermott said.

SAP reiterated a forecast for 2020 of non-IFRS operating profit of 8.5 to 9.0 billion euros on revenue of 28 to 29 billion euros.

The world economy is “about as good as it gets”, the 56-year-old American said, pushing back against fears that rising trade protectionism could hurt globally diversified businesses like SAP.

All of SAP’s regional businesses are growing at double digits, McDermott said, highlighting “hyper growth” in China.

SAP said it expected total non-IFRS revenue of 24.6 to 25.1 billion euros for 2018, in line with Wall Street Predictions.

But the outlook also highlighted that the company expects margins to increase faster in 2018. Revenue is set to grow by around 5 to 7 percent, excluding currency translation effects, it said while operating profit is poised to increase by 8 to 11 percent.

It forecast 2018 non-IFRS operating profit of 7.3 to 7.5 billion euros, adding that the implementation of IFRS 15, a new accounting rule on revenue recognition, would add 200 million euros to profits.

Courtesy-Fud

Snap Chat User Base Grows, Shares Soar

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap Inc surprised investors with a rebound in user growth for its Snapchat messaging app, showing resilience amid competition with Facebook Inc’s Instagram and sending shares up nearly 30 percent.

Paired with higher-than-expected revenue and improved margins, the user growth signaled loss-making Snap could be turning a corner as it grapples with other social media companies adding Snapchat-like features, analysts said.

Snapchat’s daily active users rose to 187 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from 178 million in the third quarter, beating analysts’ average expectation of 184.2 million users, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Daily active users rose 18 percent from a year earlier, reversing a trend of slowing growth. The figure is closely watched by investors who hope user growth can be translated into advertising revenue.

Chief Executive Evan Spiegel credited improvements to the version of Snapchat that runs on Android phones, saying the retention rate of new Android users rose by nearly 20 percent compared to a year earlier

“Our business really came together towards the end of last year,” Spiegel said in remarks prepared for a conference call with analysts.

Shares traded at $17.73 after the bell, up 26 percent after trading even higher earlier. They had not traded above Snap’s initial public offering price of $17 since July 10.

“This was a monster quarter relative to bearish expectations,” analyst Daniel Ives of GBH Insights said, cautioning however that “competitive headwinds abound with Instagram front and center.”

Nearly a year after Snap’s March IPO, analysts and investors have been watching to see if Snap can boost user growth amid competition from larger rival Instagram, which has added photo filters and other Snapchat-mimicking features.

To make its app more friendly to users and advertisers, Snap launched a redesigned app in November, splitting “friends” from content feeds.

The Venice, California-based company posted a net loss of $350 million, or 28 cents per share, compared to a loss of $170 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. It was Snap’s fourth quarterly earnings as a public company.

 

The Demand For iPhone Replacement Batteries Is Strong

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc has seen “strong demand” for replacement iPhone batteries and may offer rebates for phone owners who paid full price for new batteries, the company said in a Feb. 2 letter to U.S. lawmakers.

Apple confirmed in December that software to deal with aging batteries in iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE models could slow down performance. The company apologized and lowered the price of battery replacements for affected models from $79 to $29.

In the letter released Tuesday, amid nagging allegations that it slowed down phones with older batteries as a way to push people into buying new phones, the company said it was considering issuing rebates to consumers who paid full price for replacement batteries.

The letter, released by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, also said Apple provided a phone-slowing software update in January 2017 but did not disclose it until a month later.

In the letter, Apple said it had known about battery problems caused by a manufacturing defect as early as fall 2016.

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the committee, said in a statement that “consumers rely on clear and transparent disclosures from manufacturers to understand why their device may experience performance changes.”

Thune said that in discussions with the committee “Apple has acknowledged that its initial disclosures came up short. Apple has also promised the committee some follow-up information, including an answer about additional steps it may take to address customers who purchased a new battery at full price.”

Apple did not immediately comment on Thune’s statement. The company also sent a letter in response to Representative Greg Walden, a Republican who chairs the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives. Apple told the committee that it would consider extending its reduced-cost battery replacement program beyond 2018 if it can’t find a way to prevent sudden shutdowns in older iPhones without throttling processor speeds.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission said they were investigating whether Apple violated securities laws concerning its disclosures that it slowed older iPhones with flagging batteries, Bloomberg reported.

In a statement last week, Apple said it had “received questions from some government agencies” and was duly responding to them. The company had “never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” the statement said.

Consumers so far have filed some 50 proposed class action lawsuits over Apple’s latest iPhone software update, which they allege caused unexpected shutdowns and hampered the performance of iPhone models of the SE, 6 and 7 lines.

Government agencies in countries ranging from Brazil to France and Italy to South Korea are also investigating Apple following complaints.

Raspberry Pi Team With Darktrace

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Raspberry Pi has got pretty serious about protecting its intellectual property and has tasked artificial intelligence (AI) security firm Darktrace to keep hackers at bay.

You wouldn’t expect cybercriminals to go after Raspberry Pi given its friendly nature of supporting the teaching of coding to kids and providing kits to nerds with a hard-on for building all manner of computerized contraptions.

But clearly, the UK company is feeling a little paranoid. And we guess it has a right to, as the IP of Raspberry Pi is now rather valuable given the company, which began life as a quiet Cambridge startup, has shifted 15 million of its low-cost computers and sees no slowing down of appetite for various Pis.

Keeping things firmly in Blighty, Raspberry Pi has signed up to Cambridge-based Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System.

So while Raspberry Pi keeps adding slices to its microcomputer ecosystem, it will do so under the protection of cybersecurity kit that uses AI-based algorithms to learn the normal pattern of devices on a network so it can spot unusual activity, which would be indicative of a hacker getting up to no good within the network.

According to Darktrace, as soon as the Raspberry Pi turned on the switch in its security software, the clever components identified several vulnerabilities in Raspberry Pi’s network. The system grassed up the security holes to the network admins who were able to plug the holes.

Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton was clearly impressed: “Darktrace’s AI technology for cyber defense is a game-changer. It provides us with full visibility into our network, including any connected personal devices, and other weak spots.”

We hope the security tech gives Upton and his team the scope to not worry about security and get cracking on with more Raspberry Pi machines, perhaps doing a little more than just soldering on a header to the Raspberry Pi Zero W.

Courtesy-TheInq

Phone Makers To Introduce Diamon Screens Next Year

February 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

If dropping your smartphone and ruining the screen is your worst device nightmare, you’re not alone.

Phone makers use chemically strengthened Gorilla Glass, shatterproof coatings and sometimes sapphire crystal toppers to help ward off cracks should your phone take a tumble. Now, one company says it’s working with a phone maker to test the first phone screen made with diamond glass.

You just have to wait until 2019.

Screen breakage is a common concern. Akhan’s diamond glass uses a nanocrystal pattern that randomly arranges the crystals, instead of lining them up along their crystal planes — that arrangement discourages deep cracks from forming and damaging the materials underneath.

Made with lab-grown diamonds, Akhan Semiconductor’s Miraj Diamond Glass promises to be stronger than other materials used to cover the phone’s fragile electronic display. It can be applied in conjunction with other materials, like Gorilla Glass, as a top layer.

When I first learned about diamond glass last year, Adam Khan, Akhan’s CEO, promised that we’d see it in its first device by the end of 2017. We didn’t.

Now, Khan says that the promising new technology is being actively tested with device makers, the identities of which Khan isn’t ready to reveal. Akhan’s partners are stress-testing the diamond glass’ strength, and making sure the surface transmits electrical signals well, so your finger can navigate the touchscreen without a glitch.

Before diamond glass can come to a phone, the partners need to work out the details of production and manufacturing using a new material like diamond. They need to make sure that the diamond glass coating gets applied evenly on top of the cover material, which could be Gorilla Glass or a proprietary make.

They’re also working to minimize the diamond glass’ reflectance, which means how much light it bounces back at the user. Phone screens with higher reflectance are harder to read because you’re interfering with glare. That prompts you to turn up the brightness to combat the glare, which then drains the phone’s battery faster.

While diamond glass could come to any device with a screen, Khan says his company’s only working with one vendor in each category, starting with a single phone and single aftermarket screen protector. If all goes well, it could expand into fitness bands and beyond.

2019 is a long time to wait for a phone that wants to sooth your fears of shattered glass. Don’t expect it to be cheap, either. The process of making and applying lab-grown diamond to a phone’s cover material comes at a cost. Expect it to debut on a pricier handset that promises a “shatterproof” screen, similar to the Motorola Moto Z2 Force, which I dropped 28 times to see if its screen would crack.

Apple Takes Smartphone Lead Away From Samsung

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple has leaped past Samsung as the world’s leading shipper of smartphones, according to two industry reports.

Though IDC and IHS Markit had differing numbers for the fourth quarter of 2017, the result was the same: Apple handsets surpassed Samsung in shipments for only the second time in history.

“The new models from Apple played a key role in moving Apple ahead of Samsung in Q4,” said Ryan Reith, vice president for IDC’s Mobile Device Tracker report.

According to Apple’s own numbers, it’s selling about 10 iPhone per second — most of which are iPhone X’s.

Apple yesterday announced quarterly revenue of $88.3 billion, an increase of 13% year-over-year — an all-time record. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple once before surpassed Samsung in handset shipments – in the fourth quarter of 2016. But that was considered an anomaly by analysts at the time.

“Apple had a good holiday quarter [in 2016], but it was also the same time Samsung was going through that whole issue with the Note 7 and the battery issue. So Samsung was having its own issues, while Apple was doing well,” Reith said. “There was no anomaly this quarter. There’s no question [Apple is] gaining traction.”

Apple shipments, Reith said, are driven by holiday sales because their new product release cycle comes just prior to that season.

“There’s a good chance they could see a soft first half of 2018. That’s not because they’re doing anything wrong,” Reith said. “That’s mainly because of the way the fanbase follows their new product. They rush out to buy the new product and then it sort of tapers off a little bit as you get closer to the September announcement for new products.”

While Apple may have passed Samsung, overall smartphone shipments declined 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2017, and shipments for the whole year decreased just under 1% due to higher-priced “ultra-high-end flagship” models, IDC said.

IHS Markit research saw the market slightly different, with shipments dipping a bit less  (4.5%) from Q3 to Q4 while increasing 3.5% for the year.

Leading the market in the fourth quarter, Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones, 1.2% fewer than in 2016, according to IHS. Samsung shipped 74.3 million units, down  2.2%.

Apple accounted for 20% of all smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter. Samsung followed at 19%, according to IHS.

IDC also pegged Apple’s shipments at 77.3 million in Q4, but it saw that as a 1.3% decrease year-over-year.

Although demand for the new higher priced iPhone X may not have been as strong as many expected, the overall iPhone lineup appealed to a wider range of consumers in both emerging and developed markets, IDC said. Apple finished second for the full year in 2017 shipping 215.8 million units, up 0.2% from the 215.4 million units shipped in 2016.

“Apple continues to prove that having numerous models at various price points bodes well for bringing smartphone owners to iOS,” IDC said.

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