Category: Mobiles

Nokia releases two basic handsets

bokbild20HMD Global, the Finnish outfit that owns the rights to use the Nokia brand on mobile phones, has released two basic handsets without internet access priced at $26 before local taxes and subsidies.

The Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM could go on sale in selected markets early next year.

The outfit, which is led by former Nokia refugees who took over the Nokia basic phone business from Microsoft and has struck a licensing deal with Nokia Oyj to bring the brand back from the dead.

The basic phone business makes most of its sales in India, elsewhere in Asia and eastern Europe. The business model will be based on making phones for the poorer countries and burners.  This will provide a base for more expensive Nokia smartphones.

The company is staffed by many employees who were let go when Microsoft’s love affair with mobile phones ended up in an expensive divorce. HMD Global is based in Finland, which is Nokia’s old stomping ground.

 

All in all the Note 7 is going to be another brick in the wall

another_brick_in_the_wall_by_rafdogThose who insist on hanging onto the Samsung Note 7s despite the warnings that they will catch fire will wake up to find their phones bricked soon.

Samsung announced that it will be issuing a software update to US Note 7s that will prevent the phone from charging or working as mobile devices.

The move comes a little over a month after Samsung capped charging on US Note 7s at 60 percent, and two months after Samsung fully recalled the phone because of explosions.

Samsung has done its best to get the phones back and offered customers financial incentives to exchange their phones and has issued updates in various countries that have made the phones less useful.

But there are still people that have decided to keep their melting phones.

Samsung said the software update will be released starting on 19 December and will be distributed within 30 days.

This software update will prevent US Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices. “Together with our carrier partners, we will be notifying consumers through multiple touchpoints to encourage any remaining Galaxy Note7 owners to participate in the programme and to take advantage of the financial incentives available.”

Supremes back Samsung against Apple

supremesThe US Supreme Court backed Samsung in the great battle over the rounded rectangle smartphone.

It threw out an appeals court ruling that the South Korean company had to pay a $399 million penalty to its American rival for copying key iPhone designs.

The 8-0 ruling, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, held that a patent violator does not always have to fork over its entire profits from the sales of products using stolen designs, if the designs covered only certain components and not the whole thing.

The justices sent the case back to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington to determine how much Samsung must pay. But they did not provide a road map to juries and lower courts on how to navigate similar disputes in the future.

Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said in a statement that the U.S. company remained “optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn’t right”.

Samsung said that the ruling was a “victory for Samsung and for all those who promote creativity, innovation and fair competition in the marketplace”.

For those who came in in late a 2012 jury verdict favoured the tax-dodging cargo cult and hit Samsung initially with nearly $930 million in penalties, later cut by $382 million, for infringing Apple’s iPhone patents and mimicking its distinctive “rounded rectangle” appearance.

Samsung in December 2015 paid its Cupertino, California-based rival $548 million but Samsung took the matter to the Supreme Court, saying it should not have had to make $399 million of that payout for copying the patented designs of the iPhone’s rounded-corner front face, bezel and colourful grid of icons that represent programs and applications.

Apple wanted more cash because Samsung presented no evidence that the article of manufacture in this case was anything less than its entire smartphone as sold. Samsung, meanwhile, said that it did not have to present such evidence as it was bloody obvious.

Samsung argued that it should not have had to turn over all its profits, saying that design elements contributed only marginally to a complex product with thousands of patented features.

The Supremes agreed completely and said that the term “article of manufacture was broad enough to encompass both a product sold to a consumer as well as a component of that product”.

The justices nevertheless refused to devise a test for juries and lower courts to use to discern what a relevant article of manufacture is in a case, a task that could be fraught with difficulty when considering high-tech products.

iPhone 6 battery fault is coming in the air tonight – oh lord.

tumblr_mv4z33OR101qdqzl4o1_500Fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple has come up with another of its legendary stupid reasons for its products to fail.

Before it has covered up its poor designs by claiming that users were “holding their phones wrong” but the latest excuse really must take the cake – it is blaming the air.

Those who paid a lot of cash for an iPhone 6 found that it was starting to switch itself off a year later – coincidently just before Apple launched its iPhone 7. The batteries could cause the phones to shutdown without warning, an issue that Apple now says was caused by overexposure to “controlled ambient air”.

Apple probably means they sat out in the open in some warehouse for longer than they should have. Even if this were the case you would think that the design genii at Apple could handle the Air, after all there is rather a lot of air out there.

Apple isn’t replacing those batteries just yet, but the company says that an iOS update “available next week” will add “additional diagnostic capability” that will allow Apple to better track down and diagnose the causes of these shutdowns. Yep it it is offering an air detector, we think even Apple could write software which could do that.

It “may potentially help Apple improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown,” as well. Those improvements will be included in future iOS updates.

In the meantime don’t breathe on your iPhone 6, it is a delicate flower and does not like it.

UK coppers break encryption with staged muggings

copper UK coppers have decided it is not worth the effort of trying to break the encryption on a suspect’s mobile phone. Instead they are just stealing the phone before the suspect can stick their security up.

Scotland Yard’s cybercrime unit smashed a fake credit card fraud racket recently but appeared to use some unorthodox methods to do it.

Inspector Knacker of the Yard realised crucial evidence in the investigation was concealed on a suspect’s iPhone – but it would be unobtainable if the device was locked. So they waited for him to be on a call and then seized the phone in the street. This beat all the security settings.

Gabriel Yew had been under investigation for the suspected manufacture of fake cards that gangs were using across Europe to buy luxury goods. Detectives suspected that he was using an iPhone exclusively to communicate to other members of the network but knew if they arrested him, he could refuse to unlock it and they would never see incriminating evidence.

It was all because they knew they could not legally force a suspect’s finger or thumb on to the device’s fingerprint reader to unlock it.

However, for some reason UK law did allow them to stage their own lawful “street robbery” – using a similar snatch technique to a thief – and in June a team set out to do precisely that.

Undercover surveillance officers trailed Yew and waited for him to unlock his phone to make a call – thereby disabling the encryption.

One officer then rushed in to seize the phone from Yew’s hand – just as would happen in a criminal mugging. As his colleagues restrained the suspect, the officer continually “swiped” through the phone’s screens to prevent it from locking before they had downloaded its data.

Det Ch Insp Andrew Gould who led the operation said the evidence was crucial to the prosecution.

The phone revealed shed-loads of data on  Yew’s  business practices. He had orders for fake cards and there was evidence linking him to four men who were subsequently convicted and a further 100 potential suspects.
Yew pleaded guilty to fraud and weapons offences and at a sentencing hearing this week at Blackfriars Crown Court was jailed for five and a half years.

Talktalk hit by hack

_86340980_talkmoreA hacker managed to bring down “a small number of customer routers” belonging to Britain’s Talktalk Telecom’s broadband.

Talktalk said that it was hit with the Mirai worm which is a malware which in October cut off access to some of the world’s best known websites, including Twitter and Spotify.

The phone outfit said that it was teaming up with several other ISPs in the UK and abroad, to try and tackle the worm.

It added that it had already made several changes to its own operations to prevent the worm’s return.

A cyberattack affecting some types of routers hit around 100,000 of Britain’s Post Office broadband customers on Sunday, the Post Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The company added: “Although this did result in service problems… no personal data or devices have been compromised. We have identified the source of the problem and implemented a resolution.”

On Tuesday, the German government and commercial security experts said hundreds of thousands of Deutsche Telekom AG customers suffered internet outages because of a worldwide attempt to hijack routing devices.

Lenovo Moto gives up on smartwatches

WatchOnce touted by the Tame Apple Press as the next big thing in technology, the smartwatch has been a huge disappointment, and now Lenovo Moto has announced that it is throwing in the towel.

Lenovo Moto confirmed that it will not be releasing a new smartwatch for the launch of Android Wear 2.0, due early next year. It had previously said it was not going to bother with another smartwatch in 2016, but it is now saying that it doesn’t plan to put out a new device timed to the arrival of Google’s newest wearable platform.

Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto, said the company doesn’t “see enough pull in the market to put a new smartwatch out now”.

It has not discounted ever making another smartwatch but it will take improvements to the existing technologies before it is considered worthwhile.

“Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year,” Barkat said, and indicated that smartwatches and other wearable devices will not be in Moto’s annual device roadmap.

Few companies have updated their smartwatches. Google itself delayed the launch of Android Wear 2 from this autumn to next year. The Moto 360 released in 2015 is expected to receive an update to the new software, but the original model launched in 2014 will not.

Barkat said that wristwatches still have value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today.

Putin likes Sailfish

Vladimir Putin - Wikimedia CommonsJolla’s Sailfish OS appears to have interested Tsar Putin’s Russian Kingdom.

The mobile OS is made by a Finnish company and is being touted as a rival to Android. The open saucy code appears to have attracted the all-seeing eye of Putin who is rather keen to get his nation off its addiction to decadent western technology which is often made by homosexuals.

The government has said it wants to radically reduce its reliance on foreign mobile OSes by half in 2025 vs the 95 percent of the market garnered by Android in 2015. Two OSes were being considered – Sailfish and Tizen. Now Sailfish has achieved domestic certification in Russia for government and corporate use it looks like it has sent its rival Tizen packing.

Sailfish’s local certification in Russia also follows an announcement earlier this year that a new Russian company, Open Mobile Platform (OMP), had licensed the OS with the intention of developing a custom version of the platform for use in the domestic market.

This means that a Russian, strategic ‘Android alternative’ is currently being built on Sailfish.

Google’s Pixel will sell 5-6 million

 

Pixel-announcement-840x469Fortune tellers at financial outfit Morgan Stanley have been shuffling their tarot decks and predict that around 5-6 million of Pixel and Pixel XL will be sold this year.

This will make about $3.8 billion in revenue. Similarly, Morgan Stanley projects that the Pixel will sell three million units in the final three months of 2016, racking up about $2 billion of revenue.

The Morgan Stanley note estimates the Pixel will be half as profitable for Google as the iPhone is to Apple,  because it has better and more expensive materials.

The Pixel phone will generate a 22 per cent -25 per cent gross profit margin, the note says, varying according to the model. For perspective, the iPhone 7’s gross margin is at around 41 per cent, but this has notably declined from 57.7 per cent in 2009.

But Google will profit from the Pixel beyond sales of the phone itself, the note says, through what Morgan Stanley’s analysts refer to as “Android user monetisation.”

People spend three times more money on iOS shopping apps than they do Android ones, but some of the Pixel’s features will help close this gap, Morgan Stanley said.

Features unique to the Pixel, such as the Google Assistant, the Pixel camera, and Daydream (Google’s virtual reality headset, which works with the Pixel), plus the smartphone’s deeper app integration, increased prominence of Android Pay, and improved computing power (compared to other Android devices), will ultimately lead to users spending more money on Android, according to the research note.

Morgan Stanley’s analysts predict that these features could see the Pixel driving higher mobile search monetization for Google as advertisers will spend more to reach the consumers who spend the most on their mobiles.

 

Samung’s brand undamaged by Note 7 fiasco

samsung-galaxy-note-5The global recall of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones has not hurt US consumers’ willingness to buy Samsung products, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

Of course, opinion polls are not considered accurate these days but it is nice to know a survey has suggested that Samsung is still OK.  It revealed that Samsung smartphone users were as loyal to their brand as Apple customers, only without the psychological need to evangelise.

Those who knew about the recall were as interested in Samsung phones as those who did not.

Among those aware of the recall, 27 percent would first consider a Samsung smartphone if they were to shop for a phone, the poll showed. Among those who did not know about the recall, 25 percent would look first at a Samsung device.

The poll found that Samsung’s customers were fiercely loyal to their brand. Some 91 percent of current Samsung users would likely buy another Samsung smartphone, and 92 percent of current users would probably buy another Samsung product in general.

There is a similar brand loyalty among current iPhone owners –  92 percent would likely buy another iPhone and 89 percent would likely buy another Apple product.

So basically it looks like the Samsung recall was a problem which existed in the mind of the Tame Apple Press and not in reality.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said the recall was mostly limited to early adopters rather than the majority of Samsung’s customer base, which limited negative user experiences.

“Your own personal experience trumps what you read and what people tell you,” Dawson said.

Samsung has said that customers chose another Samsung model as a replacement for the Note 7 in many instances, without giving more detail. It has said nearly 85 percent of the recalled Note 7 devices had been replaced or returned through its refund and exchange program as of Nov. 4.