Category: Mobile

Nokia sees Finnish of bleak sales

Finnish network equipment maker Nokia reported a slowing rate of sales decline, saying the global networks market was showing signs of recovery.

Nokia and its rivals, Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei Technologies, have struggled in recent years as telecom operators’ demand for faster 4G mobile broadband equipment has peaked, and upgrades to next-generation 5G equipment are still years away.

Nokia said the business momentum was now improving: first-quarter network sales fell six percent from a year earlier to $5.3 billion, compared with a decline of 14 percent in the previous quarter.

Chief Executive Rajeev Suri said: “We slowed the rate of topline decline and generated healthy orders in what is typically a seasonally weak quarter for us… We saw encouraging stabilization in Mobile Networks topline… “I am optimistic about the year ahead, even if cautiously so.”

Nokia repeated that it expects its networks sales to decline in the full year, in line with the market.

Its first quarter group earnings before interest and taxes fell one percent from a year earlier to $371 million, slightly ahead of analysts’ average forecast.

Last year, Nokia bought Franco-American networks firm Alcatel-Lucent in response to industry changes, and is currently axing thousands of jobs.

That deal helped Nokia outperform rival Ericsson, which earlier this week posted a quarterly operating loss.

Ericsson does worse than expected

Swedish Mobile telecom equipment maker Ericsson has shocked the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street by posting a a slightly bigger than expected first-quarter operating loss.

The outfit said that the current miserable industry trends and business mix in mobile broadband from 2016 were expected to prevail in 2017.

Sweden’s Ericsson posted an operating loss of $1.4 billion as previously announced provisions, write-downs and restructuring costs pushed it deeper into the red.

All this compared to a modest profit in the year-ago quarter and was just below what Wall Street had expected.

Sales at Ericsson, one of the top global mobile networks equipment makers, were $5.23 billion, below a consensus forecast of $5.34 billion, while the gross margin came in at 13.9 percent compared to the 17.9 percent seen by analysts.

Oak Ridge boffins work out how to dry their clothes

Boffins at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are worried what they will use to dry their clothes when their mothers can’t manage anymore.

A team has come up with a dryer that could make doing laundry much quicker which is five times more energy efficient than most conventional dryers.

It does not matter if you have not done any washing for a couple of months because the drier can do a large load of clothes in about half the time.

Instead of using heat the way most dryers do, the ultrasonic dryer relies on high-frequency vibrations.

Devices called green transducers convert electricity into vibrations, shaking the water from clothes. The scientists say that this method will allow a medium load of laundry to dry in 20 minutes, which is significantly less time than the average 50 minutes it takes in many heat-based machines.

The drying technology also leaves less lint behind than normal dryers do, since the majority of lint is created when the hot air stream blows tiny fibres off of clothing.

Drying clothes without heat also reduces the chance that their colours will fade.

According to the US Department of Energy, the ultrasonic dryer has been in development for the past couple of years.

But now it has recently been “developed into a full-scale press dryer and clothes dryer drum — setting the stage for it to one day go to market through partners like General Electric Appliances”.

Intel IDF is No More

Intel has decided to end its annual Intel Developer Forum, including IDF 17 expected in August this year.

Intel posted the following on its webpage;

“Intel has evolved its event portfolio and decided to retire the IDF program moving forward. Thank you for nearly 20 great years with the Intel Developer Forum! Intel has a number of resources available on intel.com, including a Resource and Design Center with documentation, software, and tools for designers, engineers, and developers. As always, our customers, partners, and developers should reach out to their Intel representative with questions.”

Intel announced earlier that it would not be sponsoring an IDF event in China this year. It was still expected in the US with a “new format”.  Prior to today’s announcement, Intel’s IDF page stated:

“We are making changes to the Intel Developer Forum. This fall the event in San Francisco will have a new format and we will not be hosting an event in China. More details to come soon.”

It added to “keep checking this page in the middle of March for updates”.  No update was made in the middle of March, in fact, “keep checking this page” disappeared with today’s announcement permanently cancelling IDF.

IDF was nearly 20 years old and had its origins in the early 1990s as a quarterly update as a service to its PC customers run by sales staff until 1995 when Intel Corporate decided to pick up the venue as an annual industry wide event.

Intel’s business has grown into separate and distinct segments whose management felt that IDF no longer served them as a direct means of communicating their message. The rise of AI, FPGAs, Optane, automotive, IoT, and wireless communications diminished the delivery of any direct message emanating from any one group.

Intel is now deciding how to find new ways of disseminating information to their respective audiences (media, developers and customers). How the company works through this process is still to be determined.

TechEye Take

The fact that Intel’s Data Center Group was not happy over the amount of support it provided to other disparate groups at Intel has been an open secret for a least the last couple of years. It is somewhat of a surprise that the separation did not occur sooner.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that much of what made up IDF is considered to be necessary for the industry financial and strategic technology analysts to understand the company’s Data Center Group’s direction in the Enterprise and Cloud Market segments. But that’s Diane Bryant’s problem now.

What is not clear is what Intel has planned to replace something that was working but not in all the right ways to satisfy certain marketing types in messaging their customers, their investors and the industry at large. Now the entire world+dog is left in the lurch of the wonder gap of what will happen next…,

Samsung Galaxy S8 pre-orders eclipse S7

Despite outright threats from the Tame Apple Press which imply that the S8 will catch fire like the S7, Samsung says that pre-orders for the S8 have eclipsed the S7.

Apple’s favourite news agency Reuters whinged that the news meant that users did not seem to fear that S8 would catch fire. Given that none of the other Galaxy phones caught fire it does seem rather unlikely. Apple also has reasons for wanting its rival buried, the S8 looks to be far superior than anything that Jobs Mob has now, or has planned.

Mobile business chief Koh Dong-jin said the S8, which begin sales in South Korea, the United States and Canada on April 21. The new device has been well-received, and some investors and analysts said it could set a first-year sales record for the smartphone giant.

“It’s still a bit early, but initial response to the pre-orders that have begun at various places across the world have been better than expected,” Koh said at a media briefing.

The S8 will be the safest Galaxy smartphone to date due to safety measures implemented to avoid the battery failures that caused some Note 7s to spontaneously combust, he said.

Analysts expect Samsung to record its best-ever quarterly profit in April-June, buoyed by strong S8 sales and a memory chip market boom that is widely expected to deliver record revenue for the industry this year.

The new device, equipped with either 5.8-inch or 6.2-inch (14.73 cm or 15.75 cm) curved screens, sports the largest screens to date among all of Samsung’s flagship phones due to a redesign.

Koh also said the firm plans to use the S8 to try to recover in China, where Samsung has been out of the top five vendors in recent years due to heightened competition from local rivals such as Huawei.

Fitbit’s first true smartwatch hits snags

Fitbit was planning to release its first “proper” smartwatch but the project has been blighted by a series of production mishaps.

The fitness tracker company’s smartwatch project was supposed to be released in the spring, but production problems have forced Fitbit to push the launch to the autumn.

In one of the more final prototypes, the GPS didn’t work because the antenna wasn’t in the right place. Designers had to go back to the drawing board to redesign the product so the GPS got a strong signal.

Then there was the problem of making the watch fully waterproof so that it could compete with Apple’s Watch Series 2. At the moment, it is unclear if Fitbit will make the watch fully waterproof in time for the launch.

The Tame Apple Press is dancing in the street over the delays. The smartwatch market is limited and Apple has sewn up the numbers of clients who want one. Fitbit was a possible contender to take the market away from Jobs mob. It already has a good reputation in the fitness tracker market.

Samsung has a little trouble in Big China

A Chinese court has ordered Samsung’s  mainland subsidiaries to pay $11.60 million to Huawei Technologies for nicking its ideas.

The patent infringement case is Huawei’s first victory against Samsung. Three units of Samsung were ordered by the Quanzhou Intermediary Court to pay the sum for infringing a patent held by Huawei Device Co Limited, the handset unit of Huawei, the Quanzhou Evening News reported.

The verdict is the first of several Huawei lawsuits against the South Korean technology giant. Huawei filed lawsuits against Samsung in May in courts in China and the United States – the first by it against Samsung – claiming infringements of smartphone patents. Samsung subsequently counter sued Huawei in China for IP infringement.

Huawei sued Samsung China Investment, as well as a unit in Huizhou, a unit in Tianjin and two Chinese electronics companies for making and selling more than 20 kinds of Samsung smartphone and tablet products that it said infringed the patent.

It sought compensation for the more than 30 million products that sold for $12.7 billion, including the Galaxy S7, according to the media report.

The court ordered the five firms to stop infringing Huawei’s copyrights and ordered the three Samsung units to pay the damages.

Android phones vulnerable to booby trapped wi-fi signals

 Android phones are vulnerable to attacks that use booby trapped wi-fi signals to achieve full device takeover, a researcher has demonstrated.

The vulnerability resides in a widely used wi-fi chipset manufactured by Broadcom and used in both iOS and Android devices. Before anyone claims it was poor Android programming, the Fruity Cargo-Cult Apple was also vulnerable to the hack but patched the vulnerability with Monday’s release of iOS 10.3.1.

The Google Project Zero researcher Gal Beniamini who discovered the flaw said that an attacker within range may be able to execute arbitrary code on the wi-fi chip.

In a highly detailed blog post Apple said that the flaw  allowed the execution of malicious code on a fully updated 6P “by wi-fi proximity alone, requiring no user interaction”.

Google is in the process of releasing an update in its April security bulletin. The fix is available only to a select number of device models, and even then it can take two weeks or more to be available as an over the air update to those who are eligible.

Company representatives didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment for this post. The proof-of-concept exploit uses wi-fi frames that contain irregular values.

The values, in turn, cause the firmware running on Broadcom’s wireless system-on-a=chip to overflow its stack. By using the frames to target timers responsible for carrying out regularly occurring events such as performing scans for adjacent networks, Beniamini managed to overwrite specific regions of device memory with arbitrary shellcode.

Beniamini’s code does nothing more than write a benign value to a specific memory address. Attackers could obviously exploit the same series of flaws to surreptitiously execute malicious code on vulnerable devices within range of a rogue access point.

Mounties always get their LAN

Canadian coppers have admitted that they is spying on mobile phones throughout Canada because they are worried about illegal monitoring by criminals and foreign spies.

The RCMP held the briefing in the wake of a CBC News investigation that found evidence that devices known as IMSI catchers may be in use near government buildings in Ottawa for the purpose of illegal spying.

After hiding their own use of the technology in secrecy for years, the RCMP spoke out about the devices — also known as Stingrays or Mobile Device Identifiers (MDIs).

The RCMP says that MDIs – of which it owns 10 – have become “vital tools” deployed scores of times to identify and track mobile devices in 19 criminal investigations last year and another 24 in 2015.

RCMP Chief Supt. Jeff Adam said that in all cases but one in 2016, police got warrants. The one exception was an exigent circumstance — in other words, an emergency scenario “such as a kidnapping”.

Adam’s office tracks every instance where an MDI has been used by the RCMP. He says using an MDI requires senior police approval as well as getting a judge’s order.

And he says the technology provides only a first step in an investigation allowing officers to identify a device. He says only then can police apply for additional warrants to obtain a user’s “basic subscriber information” such as name and address connected to the phone.

Then, he says, only if the phone and suspect are targets of the investigation can police seek additional warrants to track the device or conduct a wiretap to capture communications. Adam says the RCMP currently has 24 technicians trained and authorized to deploy the devices across Canada. He knows other police forces own and use them too, but declined to name them.

Boffins come up with self-repairing smartphone screens

A team of researchers has come up with a new material that could pave the way for self-repairing smartphones, robots and other electronic devices.

The boffins from the American Chemical Society claim that the material, which can stretch up to 50 times its usual size, is able to heal itself “like nothing has happened” even when cut in two.

The material is flexible, transparent and is similar to human skin. When exposed to electrical signals, a current is generated that creates a chemical bonding reaction between molecules.

The most obvious applications for electronics devices seem to be self-healing displays, although lead researcher Dr Chao Wang is also exploring the possibility of a self-healing lithium-ion battery.

The technology is similar to the hydrogen-infused rear cover found on the LG G Flex, which allows for small scratches to be healed. However this material can “automatically stitch itself back together” within one day of being sliced into pieces. The team will present its research at a Tuesday meeting of the American Chemical Society.