Category: Mobile

UK has the world’s fastest mobile internet

flash_superhero_running-t2Its government might have collapsed and opposition in disarray following Brexit, but the UK can pat itself on the back for having the world’s fastest mobile broadband.

According to data and graphics from the First Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet Report, which can be found on the Akamai State of the Internet site the average mobile connection speed in the UK was 27.9 Mbps making it the world’s best. The world’s worst was the 2.2 Mbps Algerians have to suffer from.

The United States’ average speed was 5.1 Mbps, which was lower than Turkey, Kenya, and Paraguay, and on par with Thailand. Many European countries more than doubled the average U.S. speed, including Slovakia with 13.3 Mbps, France with 11.5 Mbps, and Germany with 15.7 Mbps.

The report said that Global average connection speed increased 12 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to 6.3 Mbps, a 23 per cent increase year over year.

Global average peak connection speed increased 6.8 per cent to 34.7 Mbps in the first quarter, rising 14 per cent year over year.

Global 10 Mbps grew by ten percent, 15 Mbps grew by 14 per cent, and 25 Mbps broadband adoption grew by 19 per cent.

This are expected to hot up this quarter as the internet prepare to watch the Olympic games in Brazil, with expectations that this year’s events will be watched by more online viewers than ever.

David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report. ‘Global connection speeds have more than doubled since the summer of 2012, which can help support higher quality video streaming for bigger audiences across even more connected devices and platforms.’

The number of unique IPv4 addresses connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform declined 0.2 per cent to 808 million.

Belgium remained the clear global leader in IPv6 adoption with 36 per cent of its connections to Akamai occurring over IPv6, down 3.1 per cent from the previous quarter.

 

Florida man claims to have invented the iPhone

mobileFlorida resident Thomas Ross claims he invented the “iPhone” and has filed a lawsuit against Apple.

Ross said that the iPhone, iPad, and iPod infringe upon his 1992 invention of a hand-drawn “Electronic Reading Device” (ERD) and he wants large sums of money to go away. The court filing claims the plaintiff was “first to file a device so designed and aggregated,” nearly 15 years before the first iPhone.

Between May 23, 1992 and September 10, 1992, Ross designed three hand-drawn technical drawings of the device, primarily consisting of flat rectangular panels with rounded corners that “embodied a fusion of design and function in a way that never existed prior to 1992.”

What Ross contemplated, was a device that could allow one to read stories, novels, news articles, as well as look at pictures, watch video presentations, or even movies, on a flat touch-screen that was back-lit.

The patent also describes the possibility of communication functions, such as a phone and a modem, input/output capability, so as to allow the user to write notes, and be capable of storing reading and writing material utilizing internal and external storage media.

He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even be equipped with solar panels.

He might have a case.  However, he applied for a utility patent to protect his invention in November 1992, but the application was declared abandoned in April 1995 by the US Patent and Trademark Office after he failed to pay the required application fees. He also filed to copyright his technical drawings with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2014. We are not sure how he will argue past that particular  issue.

While the plaintiff claims that he continues to experience “great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money,” he has demanded a jury trial and is seeking restitution no less than $10 billion and a royalty of up to 1.5 per cent on Apple’s worldwide sales of infringing devices.

 

Apple not buying a lot of components

poison-appleIt looks like Apple has written off this year as an annus horribilis and is not buying nearly as many smartphone components.

According to Asian suppliers, Apple has cut the number of components down this quarter indicating that Apple things the market is going to be soft as a baby’s bottom.

The Tame Apple Press is having a job giving its favourite smartphone maker free publicity for the coming iPhone 7 because it looks like it is nearly identical to the iPhone 6S. It appears that Apple is not even trying.

Taiwanese chip firm Advanced Semiconductor Engineering warned that Apple was being more conservative in placing orders compared with last year.

Nikkei said that hat component suppliers in Taiwan would receive fewer orders from Apple in the second half of 2016.

Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs lowered its price target on Apple’s stock on worries about slowing growth in the smartphone industry.

At the time, the brokerage also lowered its fiscal 2016 forecast for iPhone shipments to 211 million units from 212 million units.

Apple reported its first-ever quarterly decline in iPhone sales in April and it is expected that the iPhone 7 will be a huge disappointment.  Apple’s shares have fallen 12.6 percent this year which is a little surprising given the amount of bad news the outfit has been doling out.

 

Koreans investigate Apple antitrust antics

apple-dalek-2The fruity cargo cult Apple is seeing its star descend rapidly in the Far East as the South Koreans open an antitrust investigation into its doings.

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has confirmed it is investigating “some matters” relating to tech giant Apple.

The head of the anti-competition body Jeong Jae-chan told during a parliamentary hearing that he was currently investigating Jobs’ Mob without going into any other details.

Jeong declined to comment on the specifics of the regulator’s investigation when asked to do so by a South Korean lawmaker.

Domestic media reports said earlier this month the FTC was reviewing details of the U.S. firm’s contracts with South Korean mobile telecoms carriers, so it might have something to do with Apple’s deal with one of them.

Apple’s deals with carriers were the mainstay behind its success in the US and worldwide. Lately, telcos have been less keen on subsidised phone packages as a way of helping line sales.

 

Qualcomm asks for Chinese court help

qualcomQualcomm wants a Chinese court to get a local smartphone maker, Meizu, to agree to licensing terms for patents that the company broadly agreed to with the Chinese government last year.

The chip company s has asked the Beijing Intellectual Property Court for a ruling that the terms of a patent licence it offered Meizu comply with China’s Anti-Monopoly Law, and the US company’s “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing obligations.”

Qualcomm alleges that Meizu in Zhuhai is refusing to sign the patent agreement although over 100 players, including top Chinese phone makers, have accepted the terms under a new rectification plan agreed with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) last year.

Meizu has more than 1,000 employees and sells its smartphones through 600 retail stores. It claims a global presence in Hong Kong, Russia, Israel and Ukraine, according to its website.

Last year, Qualcomm paid a $975 million fine to Chinese authorities for alleged monopolistic business practices relating to its patent licensing business. It also agreed to modify its business practices.

The outfit has been doing its best building its bridges in China, including by setting up a server chipset design and sales unit with the Guizhou provincial government.

The company has also announced other collaborations in the country that would help it gain access to the local market, including for the local production of its Snapdragon mobile processors by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation.

Qualcomm charged Meizu with “unfairly expanding its business through the use of Qualcomm’s innovations without compensating Qualcomm for the use of Qualcomm’s valuable technologies.” It added that Meizu’s move to use the technologies without a license was also unfair to other licensees.

 

Blackberry debates killing off handsets

dodoIt looks like Blackberry has placed its handsets production onto death row and, failing a last minute appeal, could be headed for silicon heaven soon.

Chief Executive John Chen said a decision would be made by September on the future of the unit, which has suffered a sustained drop in sales in recent quarters.

He sees better opportunity in providing services that enable increasingly commoditized hardware to do more.

“I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company,” he said.

However Chen said he had not given up on handsets yet and had made it his top priority to make its devices business profitable.

“The device business must be profitable, because we don’t want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line. We’ve got to get there this year,” he said.

A few years ago, BlackBerry was once the smartphone market leader. The company was practically destroyed by a weird two headed CEO structure which watched as it was replaced by Apple and Google’s Android.

It has worked to reposition itself as a software and service provider focused on device management for large organizations, with some success.  Less successful has been its handsets.

In its presentation to investors, the company said it expects the broader market for types of software it is producing to expand to $17.6 billion by 2019, from $525 million in 2012 and below $4 billion in 2015, powered by growth in medical, legal, financial and automotive industries.

Chen said that BlackBerry wants to grow its software revenue by 30 percent in this fiscal year, which he estimated would be double overall market growth, and to notch positive free cash flow.

Opera mocks Microsoft’s Edge claims

opera460Earlier this week Microsoft claimed that its Edge browser was much kinder to battery life than Chrome, Opera and Firefox.  Now Opera has called Microsoft out on its claims.

The browser-maker Opera has mocked Microsoft’s much-publicised claim that its Windows 10-exclusive Edge browser provides significantly less battery drain than competitors Chrome and Opera – and its own tests put Edge firmly in second place for battery efficiency.

Writing in his bog, Opera lead singer Błażej Kaźmierczak revealed the result of the company’s own tests, which put Google Chrome in third place at two hours and fifty-four minutes, Edge in second at three hours twelve minutes, and Opera ahead of that by obtaining three hours and fifty-five minutes of battery life under identical tests.

To be fair though this is not purely a test of browser efficiency – in March Opera instituted a native adblocking feature, which it claimed works 45 per cent faster than analogous plugins on either Chrome or Firefox. The feature does not merely hide downloaded and rendered ad elements, but prevents them engaging with the user at URL source – a significant advantage in terms of page rendering.

Although AdBlock Plus is available for Edge, Vole has no public plans to mirror the adblocking feature.

Opera claimed it has not paid much attention to Edge due to its exclusivity to the Windows 10 platform. However, Edge is currently estimated to have less than five per cent share in the browser market (versus 50 per cent across versions of Chrome), this still puts it ahead of Opera, which carries little more than a single percentage of share.

Opera accuses Microsoft of a lack of transparency in its testing methods. It notes that Opera’s own repudiating test, which puts its developer version 22 per cent ahead of Edge, runs a more standard gamut, using a variety of types of browsing situations, including video and news, along with an algorithm to effect authentic scrolling behaviour. The scrolling is something that Firefox is pants at.

Opera optimises its performance, by reducing activity in background tabs, optimise JavaScript timers to limit CPU access, pauses dormant plugins, and reduces video frame rates to 30fps and forces hardware acceleration of video playback where feasible.

Microsoft’s claims for Edge were carefully specific to Windows 10.

 

Microsoft gets into the payments racket

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the world Microsoft is getting into the mobile payments racket just as soon as it gets out a few phones with its mobile OS on board.

Microsoft has introduced an NFC payment feature for users of Windows 10 Mobile devices in the US through its Microsoft Wallet app. Vole claims the move comes “in response to feedback” from its customers and with support from both MasterCard and Visa.

It is up and running on Microsoft Insiders, a group of early adopter customers who volunteer to preview new features, and general availability of NFC payments is promised for later this summer.

Vole has got the Bank of America, BECU, Chase, First Tech, Fifth Third Bank, People’s United Bank, US Bank and Virginia Credit Union . The launch date for each bank will be “posted when available,” according to Microsoft.

“Microsoft Wallet is a cloud-based payment technology that will make mobile payments simple and more secure for Windows 10 Mobile devices, starting in the US with our Lumia 950, 950 XL and 650,” the company says. “With Microsoft Wallet, you simply tap your phone on a contactless payment terminal and your default credit or debit card is charged.

“Store as many credit and debit cards as you want in your Microsoft Wallet so it’s easy to make purchases with the card of your choice. Switching takes just a tap of your finger. When you tap to pay, Microsoft Wallet sends a single-use transaction number and an encrypted security code that won’t work for any other purchase, person or device. This, plus the device PIN you use to unlock your phone, makes paying with Microsoft Wallet more secure than using the actual card alone.”

 

Apple’s open OS is a security nightmare

Safe-with-Open-Door_Silver-Trading-Company_iStock_000016460757_ExtraSmallSome security experts who inspected Apple’s new version of iOS were surprised; it appears that the security geniuses at Jobs’ Mob had forgotten to encrypt the operating system.

Suddenly crucial pieces of the code destined to power millions of iPhones and iPads were laid bare for all to see making it a doddle to find security weaknesses in Apple’s flagship software.

The Tame Apple Press insists that is all deliberate and the secretive company may have adopted a bold new strategy intended to encourage more people to report bugs in its software.  However, the smart money is on the fact that this is a cock-up.

Apple has so far said it would strengthen security and privacy features and yet here it is showing an unencrypted version of the Kernel which controls how programs can use a device’s hardware and enforces security.

The Tame Apple press insists that does not mean that the security of iOS 10 is compromised. Butit makes finding flaws easier and reduces the complexity of reverse engineering considerably.

However on the plus side opening the iOS for anyone to examine could weaken the trade in holes  market by making it harder for certain groups to hoard knowledge of vulnerabilities and make the iOS more stable.

However for that to happen it would require such a psychological change in Apple that it is nearly impossible to consider. For a start, Apple would have to admit that there is a flaw and fix it straight away. Apple’s current policy when notified if there is a flaw is to ignore it until enough people complain and then issue a patch a few months later.

Apple does not offer “bug bounty” cash payments to people that disclose flaws they have found in its products, for example. So if you reverse engineer or find a hole in the iOS you would never take it to Apple, you would flog it to the government, or one of those dodgy security outfits which help them.

 

Chinese court bans iPhone 6 sales

big-trouble-in-little-chinaFruity cargo cult Apple is having Big Trouble in Big China after its iPhone 6 phone was banned from by a court because Jobs’ Mob is alleged to have stolen the designs of a Chinese company.

A Chinese regulator has ordered Apple to stop selling two versions of its iPhone 6 in Beijing after finding they look too much like a competitor, but Apple insists that sales are going ahead while it appeals.

While Apple is hoping that Chinese sales will save its bacon, the outfit is having huge problems getting its goods to market behind the bamboo curtain. Apple’s iBooks, iTunes Movies, music service has also been banned in China. Meanwhile what is left of Apple’s business faces completion from local brands including Huawei and Xiaomi.

The order by the Beijing tribunal said the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus looked too much like the 100C model made by Shenzhen Beili, a small Chinese brand. The order was issued in May but reported this week by the Chinese press.

Apple said a Beijing court stayed the administrative order on appeal and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still were on sale.

Already Apple has to share the name “iphone” with a Chinese bag maker, which got the name first. Apple said it would appeal that judgement too.