Category: Mobiles

Apple finally releases cure for touch disease

poison-appleThe fruity tax-dodging cargo cult also known as Apple has finally released a cure for “a problem” in iPhone 6s which forced users to upgrade to the new iPhone 7.

Just before Apple released its iPhone 7, iPhone‘s started to get a mysterious illness which bricked them.  Apple refused to acknowledge that the fault existed, presumably because it meant that people were simply upgrading to the new phone rather than requiring it to be fixed.

All that changed this week when the Chinese government started to complain about the fault and was threatening a recall. Suddenly Apple admitted the fault and offered to fix it.

Of course, the problem is still nothing to do with Apple. Jobs Mob claims that some iPhone 6s exhibit Multi-Touch issues after “being dropped multiple times on a hard surface,” causing damage to the device. Under its repair program, Apple will fix affected iPhone 6 Plus devices for a service price of $149.

Of course, if users don’t want to stump up $149 there is always the chance to upgrade to a nice, but identical iPhone 7. We are not sure if that move will satisfy the Chinese and personally we hope not.

iFixit thinks that the problem is caused due to the wonders of Apple’s design. For some reason Jobs’ Mob has started soldering the touch screen controller to the phone’s logic board making repairs difficult.

Third-party repair outlets speculated that the issue could be linked to the same structural design flaw that caused the major “Bendgate” controversy. Of course Apple denies that there ever was a structural flaw.

Three was hacked

maxresdefaultOne of Blighty’s biggest mobile phone companies, Three, has been hacked and its customer upgrade database may have been nicked.

The cyber security breach could put the private information of two thirds of Three’s nine million customers at risk.

A spokesthree said that the upgrade system does not include any customer payment, card information or bank account information.

However, the company said that is not the only bad thing that has been happening to the outfit. For the last month, it has been hit by a wave of attempted handset fraud.

“To date, we have confirmed approximately 400 high-value handsets have been stolen through burglaries and eight devices have been illegally obtained through the upgrade activity,” Carter said.

“This has been visible through higher levels of burglaries of retail stores and attempts to unlawfully intercept upgrade devices.”

At least the hackers appear have been identified. Three men have been arrested in connection with the breach at Three, the BBC said this morning.

The National Crime Agency arrested a man from Kent and two men from Manchester on Wednesday, the Beeb said. All three have been bailed pending further enquiries

Ericsson fortune-tellers predict doubling of smartphones by 2022

tumblr_inline_nnje2pNCcy1slsf8m_500Swedish outfit Ericsson has been massaging some figures and consulting some runes, and reached the conclusion that global subscriptions for smartphones will almost double by 2022.

This will mean that mobile data traffic will grow by eight times.

The Swedish company said it expected there will be 6.8 billion smartphone subscriptions globally by the end of 2022, up from 3.9 billion in 2016.

In its previous forecast from June this year, Ericsson had said it expected 6.3 billion smartphone subscriptions by the end of 2021.

Ulf Ewaldsson, head of strategy and technology at Ericsson, said the biggest change from its previous report was the jump in 5G subscribers to 550 million in 2022 from 150 million in 2021.

He claimed that a quarter of the new subscribers will be in North America and 10 percent in Asia.

The first 5G networks will be launched at the end of 2017 and Ericsson plans to sell 5G equipment on a “larger scale” in 2018, Ewaldsson said.

Ericsson said mobile data traffic continues to grow, driven by an increase in smartphone subscriptions and data volume per subscription, fuelled primarily by more viewing of video content.

There’s more browsing on mobiles than PCs

mobileInternet usage by mobile and tablet exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time in October according to web analytics company StatCounter

The StatCounter beancounters found that mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3 percent of internet usage worldwide in October compared to 48.7 percent by desktop.

“This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter.

“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.” He pointed out that Google recently launched a tool where businesses can test their website mobile performance.

Despite the rapid growth of mobile devices, desktop is still the primary mode of internet usage in mature markets such as the US and UK.

However, Cullen warned, “Post-Brexit, UK businesses should be aware, as they look to increase trade outside the EU, that India for example has over 75% internet usage through mobile devices.”

In the UK desktop is on 55.6 per cent  with mobile and tablet on 44.4 per cent .

In the US desktop still accounts for 58 per cent  of internet usage compared to 42 per cent for mobile and tablet.

Samsung to release its own artifical intelligence helper

mybrainhurtsSamsung is to launch an artificial intelligence digital assistant service for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone.

It had been expected. Samsung recently bought Viv Labs, a firm run by a co-creator of Apple Siri voice assistant. Samsung plans to integrate the outfit’s AI platform, called Viv, into the Galaxy smartphones and expand voice-assistant services to home appliances and wearable technology devices.

Samsung wants its Galaxy S8 to help revive smartphone momentum after scrapping the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7. Investors and analysts say the Galaxy S8 must be a strong device for Samsung to win back customers and revive earnings momentum.

Samsung did not comment on what types of services would be offered through the AI assistant that will be launched on the Galaxy S8, which is expected to go on sale early next year. It said the AI assistant would allow customers to easily use third-party services.

Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong said that developers can attach and upload services to Samsung’s AI.

“Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease,” he said.

Google is widely considered to be the leader in AI, but Amazon, Microsoft and Apple have offerings which are include voice-powered digital assistants.

Boffins use magnets to repair gizmos

MagnetBoffins at the engineering lab team at the University of California, San Diego have come up with a way to fix electronic gizmos by creating magnetic ink particles that self-heal when they break.

Sensors printed with this ink would magnetically attach to each other when a rip or tear occurs, automatically fixing a device at the first sign of disintegration.

Amay Bandodkar, a member of the research team said the magnetic repairing system works a bit like the human skin making it stretchable and self-healing.

“Within a few seconds it’s going to self-heal, and you can use it again,” he said.

The team first created sensors that can be incorporated with fabrics. The result is smart clothing that can repair cuts up to three millimetres long in 50 milliseconds. Now the next thing is to make the magnets do something more electronic.

To create the self-healing effect, the team used pulverized neodymium magnets typically found in fridges and hard drives and combined them into the ink. This helps the researchers avoid the traditional process of adding chemicals and heat, which could take hours to complete.

Bandodkar said that $10 worth of ink can create “hundreds of small devices” that can help reduce waste, since you won’t need to throw these wearables and gadgets out when they’re broken.

The team is currently evaluating the best ink ratios to use for different gadget-printing applications, with the goal of using them to create anything from solar panels to medical implants.

Android rules the world

ANDROIDAlthough you would not know it judging by the amount of press it gets, Android is on nine out of ten smartphones.

According to market researcher Strategy Analytics Android captured 88 percent of all smartphone shipped in the third quarter of 2016.

Its growth came at the expense of every major rival platform,” Strategy Analytics’ Linda Sui said in a press release.

“Apple iOS lost ground to Android and dipped to 12 percent market share,” primarily because of “lackluster” sales in China and Africa, she said.

BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows disappeared during 1 July  and the end of September.

So, the question is, why is Apple still being pushed as the archetypal “smartphone” when it clearly isn’t? We did a quick survey of the news feeds this morning and more than 80 per cent of smartphone stories were about the iPhone. What is the point about writing about a phone brand that less than ten per cent of your readers own?

Android’s leading position faces challenges in a market filled with phones made by hundreds of manufacturers, few of which turn a profit. That’s not helped by Google’s new Pixel phone, which competes against the companies that made it popular in the first place, Strategy Analytics said.

About 375 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter of 2016, up 6 percent from 354.2 million units in the same period last year. Shipments of Android-based phones rose 10.3 percent, while Apple’s iPhones fell 5.2 percent.

Canadian coppers start spying on journalists

mountiemaintainThe Canadian press is rather miffed that one of its number is being spied upon by Montreal’s coppers.

Patrick Lagacé’s iPhone was tracked by Montreal police even though many people believe that the Apple’s flagship phone is safe.

La Presse reported Monday at least 24 surveillance warrants were issued for this year at the request of the police special investigations unit. That section looks into crime within the police force.

Lagacé’s doings were tracked using the GPS chip in his iPhone. The warrants used to obtain the identities of everyone he spoke to or exchanged text messages with during that time.

Tom Henheffer, executive director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression said that the new powers that the police have to spy on Canadians were absolutely horrifying.

“They’re basically limitless, there’s very little oversight, and when that happens the system will be ripe for abuse, and this is just an example of how it’s abused. What’s even more worrying about it is the fact that this is a justice of the peace who actually authorised this.”

Lagacé thinks he was put under police surveillance as part of an ‘attempt to intimidate’. It’s part of a “culture shift” among law enforcement and judges that began with the passing of Bill C-51 under the previous Conservative government, he said. ​

The idea is to scare the hacks into turning over their secret sauce recipes.  Apparently it is getting worse. In September, the Sûreté du Québec seized Journal de Montréal reporter Michael Nguyen’s computer because they believed he illegally obtained information cited in a story he wrote.

Meanwhile the Mounties are trying to get a reporter from Vice News to hand over background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist and spied on two hacks for more than a week without any authorisation.

The government has promised to change “problematic” parts of bill C-51 in the 2015 election, but have not done anything yet.

Lagacé said police told him they obtained the court-authorised warrants because they believed the target of one of their investigations was feeding him information. However, the story was not broken by Lagacé but one of his rivals.  This makes him think that the investigation was a thinly veiled attempt to learn the identity of his sources within the police department.

Samsung needs to pull its socks up

SamsungSamsung Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun has admitted that the outfit needs to pull its socks up in the wake of the costly withdrawal of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

Although he didn’t mention the not-so-magnificent 7s, Kwon said in a statement Samsung employees should look back and ask whether they had been complacent in their work.

“We have a long history of overcoming crises. Let us use this crisis as a chance to make another leap by re-examining and thoroughly improving how we work, how we think about innovation and our perspective of our customers.”

At the moment, the company is drawing up a cunning plan to recover quickly from the withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7 in October. But the fiasco raised concerns about Samsung’s quality control systems. So far no one at the firm has been publicly held responsible or been made to clean out their desk and be escorted from the building.

It is widely believed that the incident shows up problems within the huge multi-national caused mostly by its size, which had been seen in the fact that its bottom line has not been particularly great and the fact its phones are not doing as well as they should.

At the end of last year, Gartner’s research director, Roberta Cozza, said that Samsung will be able to fend off Apple and rising Chinese vendors with “a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to Samsung devices that Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market.”
So far it has not managed this feat.

Samsung unveils recovery plan

cunning-planSamsung has been talking about its cunning plan to recover quickly from the disastrous withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 that dragged down its third quarter mobile earnings to their lowest level in nearly eight years.

The outfit said it was expanding its probe into the Note 7 fires beyond batteries, as it tried to reassure investors that it would get to the bottom of the problem.

It suggested that it might be carrying out a share buyback to boost the share price. It also talked up its semiconductor business and promised to consider proposals for a corporate makeover.

Co-Chief Executive J.K. Shin told shareholders at the annual meeting that the company had to work hard to win back trust. He also apologised for the Note 7 debacle.

Investors are now expecting to see sweeping management changes in response to the Note 7 failure, especially after voting to make the parent conglomerate Samsung Group’s Jay Y. Lee, a Samsung Electronics director.

Lee, 48, the son of patriarch Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalised following a heart attack, will now have a clearer mandate to play a public role in setting strategy.

Heads will roll but shareholders may have to wait for the Note 7 investigation to conclude first. Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun said at the shareholder meeting the company would assign responsibility only after the crisis was resolved.

The world’s top smartphone maker posted a 96 percent plunge in third-quarter mobile earnings to $87.63 million from a year earlier, their lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Operating profit was $4.57 billion, matching Samsung’s revised guidance.The scrapping of Samsung’s flagship phone erased 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points from South Korea’s third-quarter GDP growth in quarterly terms, a finance ministry official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Samsung SDI which supplied batteries blamed for the first Note 7 recall, separately reported a 110 billion won operating loss for the third quarter.