Displaying items by tag: smartphones

New York regulators are investigating Facebook’s gathering of intimate data about consumers’ menstrual cycles and body weight through smartphone applications.

Facebook has confirmed that New York’s Department of Financial Services set them a letter about the data sharing issue.

The New York based regulator asked the social media giant to provide a list of all the companies that were involved in sending them the data over the past three years.

According to the source, requests to provide information on agreements with Facebook were sent to a number of application developers.

A Wall Street Journal report from February 22 showed that after testing over 70 smartphone apps, approximately 11 were disclosing ‘highly sensitive’ information to Facebook to use for target ads. These ads would be able to reach users who are not Facebook members.

The intimate data that was collected by the apps showed personal information with regards to body weight, height, ovulation cycles, heart rate, pregnancy status and home shopping.

It was found that around 6 of the 15 most popular health and fitness apps shared personal information with Facebook.

A Facebook spokesperson stated:  

"It's common for developers to share information with a wide range of platforms for advertising and analytics.

"We require the other app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us, and we prohibit app developers from sending us sensitive data. We also take steps to detect and remove data that should not be shared with us."

The investigation comes at the peak of the debate over online privacy and at a time when Facebook is still attempting to regain the trust of the masses following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

According to the Journal, the ‘highly sensitive information’ is sent to Facebook immediately after it is entered into the app.

Facebook is able to collect data through the Software Development Kit (SDK), which is a set of programs used to create apps and it often includes a set of open software tools.

These apps have used Facebook’s SDK to build their software in exchange for data which Facebook uses for advertising purposes.

A Facebook spokesperson has said that the data transmission does violate the company’s business agreement and that Facebook has taken measures to stop the apps from disclosing such personal information.

Published in Apps

UK might use Huawei’s equipment after all

Written on Tuesday, 19 February 2019 07:19

British intelligence has concluded that security risks posed by using equipment made by Chinese telecom giant Huawei can be managed, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) sees ways of limiting risks from using Huawei in future 5G networks, according to two unnamed sources cited by the FT.

The firm is the leading manufacturer of equipment for next-generation 5G mobile networks that will bring near-instantaneous connectivity for smartphones, but some Western nations have barred it amid fears Beijing could gain access to sensitive communications and critical infrastructure.

The United States has been leading a campaign to persuade allies to blacklist Huawei equipment, and a decision by Britain, a key intelligence gathering partner, could undermine its effort.

“Other nations can make the argument that if the British are confident of mitigation against national security threats then they can also reassure their publics and the US administration that they are acting in a prudent manner in continuing to allow their telecommunications service providers to use Chinese components,” one source was quoted by the FT as saying.

Responding to the report, a NCSC spokesperson said that “the National Cyber Security Centre is committed to the security of UK networks”, adding that it has "a unique oversight and understanding of Huawei engineering and cyber security".

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China expects Britain “to maintain its open nature and make wise choices based on its own interests.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Huawei’s HONOR smartphones dominate Black Friday sales

Written on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 07:46

Leading smartphone e-brand HONOR, recorded an impressive sales performance on Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday in Europe, Middle East and USA. HONOR products dominated Amazon best seller lists in France, Germany, Italy and UK, with this year’s figures revealing a remarkable 250% YoY sales increase from 2017 across pan-European regions and sales in Spain reaching an impressive 300%.

HONOR smartphones’ popularity with shoppers demonstrates HONOR's continued growth and the increasing demand for its AI-Powered models. The HONOR 9 Lite was the No.1 online best-selling smartphone in the EUR150-EUR200 category, while the HONOR 10 - with its industry-leading AI-powered dual camera - ranked highly on the Amazon Top 10 list for Black Friday weekend sales. The new handset, HONOR 8X, was the best new release on Amazon Germany, and was the Best Seller in France smartphone online sales since the global launch in October. In Russia, the HONOR 8X is now the top selling smartphone online, and it has surpassed the sales of its predecessor, the HONOR 7X, with an increase of 500%.

During a Black Friday Promotion in the USA, the HONOR View 10 sold out on Amazon and Newegg, and saw remarkable sales growth over the weekend in the Middle East.  Over Black Friday Weekend, HONOR ranked No.1 in the phone category on all sales channels in Finland, while Czech Republic saw overall HONOR smartphone growth reach 200% compared to 2017, with a 300% YoY increase for the HONOR 10. In Poland, the HONOR Play recorded 500% sales growth during Black Friday weekend, completely selling out on Euronet, X-kom and Media Expert within two hours, reaching an overall 150% sales growth.

"I'm pleased and grateful for the support we have received from consumers during this year's Black Friday sales. This latest sales surge tops a successful year for the HONOR brand, and we look forward to another fast-growing year in 2019,” said George Zhao, President of HONOR.

“With continued efforts in innovative technology and cutting-edge product design, we will continue to provide the best smartphones with the ultimate user experience to all consumers around the world."

Published in Devices

SK Telecom develops Wi-Fi technology that delivers 5G speeds

Written on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:33

SK Telecom announced the introduction of a new Wi-Fi technology that can deliver speed as fast as 5G technology. For the first time in South Korea, the technology successfully demonstrated speeds of up to 4.8Gbps at SK Telecom’s Bundang Center.

The technology was built on the IEEE 802.11ax standard, delivering speeds of up to 4.8Gbps, which is nearly four times faster than the existing gigabit Wi-Fi service — 1.3Gbps, 802.11ac — currently prevailing among smartphones. The technology uses four antennas to transmit data and uses 160 MHz bandwidth, twice wider than the gigabit Wi-Fi service, and operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums.

Once the technology is commercially implemented, SK Telecom believes it will play a tremendous role in delivering sufficient wireless access in any dense traffic scenarios. It features the OFDMA, Multi-user MIMO as well as the Dynamic Sensitivity Control (DSC) technology that are designed to improve the efficiency of the network.

Given the 802.11ax chipsets already released in the market by global makers, the next generation Wi-Fi service is expected to be commercially available for smartphones next year. Smartphones equipped with the chipset theoretically deliver a speed of up to 1.2Gbps in 80 MHz with two antennas.

SK Telecom is planning to deploy access points for the next generation Wi-Fi next year particularly in high traffic density areas. Users with the new chipset-based smartphones will benefit from the new technology.

At present, a testbed has been constructed within the T Open Lab, the company’s R&D Center at Bundang to test the performance of the new technology in various deployment scenarios including high traffic density. It is also working on upgrading the access points to the commercially deployable level by the end of this year.

Since 2014, SK Telecom has taken part in the nation’s IEEE 802.11ax standard research group, led by the Ministry of Science and ICT, along with small and mid-sized companies. Its participation has resulted in many new technologies applied to the global standards with relevant patents obtained.

“By introducing the technology for the next generation Wi-Fi that can deliver as fast as 5G technology, we at SK Telecom have successfully laid foundation to offer better mobile services,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom.

Park added, “We are thrilled to work on the preparation of commercializing the technology and continue to innovate our capabilities to provide differentiated services to our customers.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Chinese buyers opt for Huawei over Apple, survey claims

Written on Sunday, 15 October 2017 08:24

Apple appears to be facing a setback in China after a Financial Times survey revealed that smartphone buyers in the country are choosing domestic brands over California-based Apple iPhone products, with Huawei being their first choice. Huawei has the top spot, according to the survey, with 31.4 percent of respondents opting for the brand.

The report said, “The proportion of people saying they would buy an iPhone as their next phone dropped to 24.2 percent in September, compared with 25.8 percent at the time of the iPhone 7 launch in 2016 and 31.4 percent in 2015.”

Huawei surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales consistently for June and July this year, according to research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse. But with the release of Apple’s latest iPhone X, there’s a chance Huawei could be pushed back into third place. Samsung holds the number one spot globally.

“This is a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence,” said Counterpoint’s Research Director, Peter Richardson. “It speaks volumes for this primarily network infrastructure vendor on how far it has grown in the consumer mobile handset space in the last three to four years.” 

Huawei’s global growth, Richardson says, can be attributed to its consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, coupled with aggressive marketing and sales channel expansion. While this success streak could be temporary considering Apple’s annual iPhone refresh, Richardson adds, it nevertheless underscores the rate at which Huawei has been growing. 

Published in Devices

Chinese telecommunications colossus ZTE has attributed its first-half net profit success to its investment in 4G infrastructure and handsets. The world’s fourth-largest vendor of smartphones has hit its projected first-half net profit target forecast of 30%.

Analysts said that domestic telephone network providers continued to invest in 4G infrastructure provided by ZTE, and the firm also enjoyed a significant growth in the sales of its mobile devices. ZTE’s profit was $344M, whilst revenue rose by 13% which incidentally was also ZTE’s projected target.

In a statement released to the press, ZTE acknowledged that the organization has been presented with many new opportunities and expressed its vision to deploy 5G products and services. 5G standardization is expected to be established in 2018.

The statement read, “Looking to the second half of 2017, the company faces new opportunities," ZTE said in a statement in Chinese. "4G users and traffic will enter a peak period and pre-5G products will have more application, while 5G's standardization, technology and testing will experience a breakthrough."

ZTE reported more growth in relation to its telecom equipment sector, disclosing that revenue in that business grew by 13%. Its telecoms sector focus primarily on constructing infrastructure such as communications towers and accounts for 60% of overall revenue. ZTE’s remarkable financial results were cemented with the fact that its consumer business had also increased by a whopping 24%.

In March of this year, ZTE was left reeling after it was found guilty by the US Commerce Department for breaching US trade rules. It was fined almost $900M for breaking exports regulations. It’s the only smartphone vendor with a real presence in the US, and it has recovered well since that setback earlier this year, remaining the fourth-biggest vendor in the US after Apple, Samsung and LG.

ZTE executives have insisted they will continue to aggressively invest in wireless and 5G technology, whilst also revealing it aims to invest more in international marketing in the second-half of 2017. Revenue from ZTE’s smallest business area which is government and enterprise services has declined by 18%.

In addition to this, ZTE confirmed that it has agreed to sell 10.1% of its smartphone subsidiary Nubia for 727 million Yuan. That will reduce its equity in the company to 49.9%.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Global smartphone shipments increased 6% in Q2

Written on Thursday, 10 August 2017 08:43

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 6 percent annually to reach 360 million units in Q2 2017. Samsung maintained first position with 22 percent global smartphone marketshare, while Apple dipped to 11 percent share. Xiaomi surged 58 percent annually and rejoined the top five rankings for the first time in a year.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments grew a solid 6 percent annually from 341.5 million units in Q2 2016 to 360.4 million in Q2 2017. The global smartphone market has settled into a steady rhythm of single-digit growth this year, driven by first-time buyers across emerging markets like Africa and upgrades to flagship Android models in developed regions such as Western Europe.”

Samsung shipped 79.5 million smartphones worldwide in Q2 2017, rising 2 percent annually from 77.6 million units in Q2 2016, said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. Samsung continued its recovery from last year’s Galaxy Note 7 battery fiasco, lifted by robust demand for the new Galaxy S8 portfolio with an innovative bezel-less design, he added.

“We expect the rumored Galaxy Note 8 upgrade with a bigger screen to further strengthen Samsung in the coming weeks. Apple grew 1 percent annually and shipped 41.0 million smartphones for 11 percent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2017, down slightly from 12 percent a year ago.”

Apple’s iPhone has gone out of fashion in China and this is placing a cap on its worldwide performance, Mawston added. Attention will now turn to Apple’s rumored iPhone 8 introduction later this year and whether its tenth-anniversary flagship model will be different or exciting enough to ignite a rebound in iPhone volumes for the important Q4 2017 Western holiday season.

Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Huawei maintained third position with a record 11 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2017, up from 9 percent a year ago. Huawei is now closing in fast on Apple and Apple will be looking nervously over its shoulder in the next few quarters. Huawei is outperforming across Asia, Europe and Africa with popular Android models such as the P10 and Mate 9.”

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “OPPO shipped a healthy 29.5 million smartphones and maintained fourth position with a record 8 percent global marketshare in Q2 2017. OPPO grew an impressive 64 percent annually in the quarter, taking share from major rivals like ZTE, LG and TCL-Alcatel across China, India and Europe.”

Xiaomi soared 58 percent annually and recaptured fifth place for the first time in a year, taking a record 6 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2017, leaping from 4 percent in Q2 2016, Sui said.

“Xiaomi’s range of Android models, such as the Redmi 4A, is proving wildly popular in India, snatching volumes from competitors such as Lenovo and Micromax. Xiaomi has bounced back since ex-Google exec, Hugo Barra, quit the company earlier this year and Xiaomi will be hoping the current momentum can be sustained into the second half of 2017.”

Published in Devices

Wearables are the future, not smartphones

Written on Thursday, 20 July 2017 07:27

There’s been talk among analysts that smartphones will slowly become redundant in the future and make way for more innovative communication platforms. Despite the fact that US consumers now own 27 million more smartphones than they did last year, wearables will eventually take the lead, some analysts speculate, as communication requirements evolve over time.

The wearable technology market is expected to grow from US$15.74 billion in 2015 to US$51.60 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of 15.51 percent between 2016 and 2022, according to market research report ‘Wearable Technology Market by Product, Type, Application, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022’. This strong growth begs the question: could wearable technology replace the trusty smartphone?  

The future growth of the wearable technology market, according to the research report, is expected to be driven by consumer preference for more sophisticated gadgets, increasing growth prospects of next generation displays in wearable devices, and the growing popularity of internet of things (IoT) and connected devices. The increasing demand for smart gadgets and gaming devices for interactive gaming and entertainment is “driving the growth of the wearable technology market for the consumer electronics vertical.”

“I don’t think smartphones are going to disappear in the short-term, but the usage of smartphones may change as people begin to use them for different things, from entertainment to communication,” said Hani Yassan, senior director of Technology at Qualcomm, speaking recently at 5G MENA in Dubai. “The change in usage will be driven by all the advances in technology that we are seeing through LTE and 5G.”

Analyst Jonathan Collins, research director at ABI Research covering smart homes, believes that smartphones will remain the central interface in most locations, but will sit alongside other interfaces in the homes of consumers, such as AI-powered digital assistants (e.g. Amazon Echo, Google Home). Google CEO Sundar Pichai even suggested in 2016 that the world is moving from being “mobile first” to “AI first”.

Contrary to this argument, the Consumer Technology Association’s 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study says televisions remain the most popular technology device in the US, as they have for decades: almost every household (96 percent) owns at least one TV. However, from 2016 to 2017, the US market saw an increase in the overall installed base of connected devices including smart home devices, smart TVs, wearables and wireless speakers.

Smart home devices, smart TVs, smartwatches, wearable activity trackers and wireless speakers each saw an increase in household ownership of four percent year on year, according to the study. The wearable tech market is thriving, despite the fact that some wearable fitness brands, such as Fitbit, have lost demand, IDC’s Worldwide Wearable Device Tracker indicates.

In March 2017, IDC reported that the worldwide wearables market reached a new all-time high as shipments reached 33.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, growing 16.9 percent year on year. Shipments for the entire year grew 25 percent as new vendors entered the market and previous champions refreshed their product lineups.

Xiaomi’s wearable products experienced the fastest growth, up 96.2 percent from 2.6 million to 5.2 million, due partly to its growing exposure to the Western world, but also because of Chinese shipments for its newest trackers such as the Mi Band Pulse. Apple also experienced a steady increase in growth, from 4.1 million to 4.6 million, following the launch of the Apple Watch Series 2.

Fitbit maintained its dominance in the wearables market, holding the top position for both the quarter and the year. However, the company also faced one of its largest declines ever as it remained heavily focused on the US, a market that is quickly approaching saturation for fitness trackers. Though the company has grown in other parts of the world, it also remained challenged as low-cost competitors eat away at Fitbit's market share.

Samsung, on the other hand, is the only major player offering cellular-enabled wearables (Gear S3 and Frontier). LTE connectivity has been a key differentiator for Samsung's watches as it has helped decouple them from smartphones, but more importantly it has opened up a new channel (telcos) to help promote the Samsung watches. Outside of watches, Samsung's portfolio also includes the Gear Fit 2 and the Icon X, though without any smartphone bundles, volumes for these wearables were lower than expected. 

Early on, the wearables market was split between those that were capable of running third party applications and basic wearables that couldn’t. However, despite the additional features and tech available on smart wearables, their utility and necessity has been “questionable”. Earlier this year, two major platforms, WatchOS and Android Wear, pivoted towards fitness and health applications. This is no accident, says IDC, as that has been the only use case with any "stickiness" and the ability to run third party apps has taken a backseat.

“Like any technology market, the wearables market is changing,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. “Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications. It's enough to blur the lines against most smart wearables, to the point where first generation smartwatches are no better than most fitness trackers.”

“Meanwhile, smart wearables are also evolving,” Llamas continued. “Health and fitness remains a major focus, but once these devices become connected to a cellular network, expect unique applications and communications capabilities to become available. This will also solve another key issue: freeing the device from the smartphone, creating a standalone experience.”

The evolution of smartphones into more wearable and practical communication tools could greatly benefit the emergency response sector, says Peter Clemons, founder and managing director at Quixoticity, a company founded in 2012 to develop new ideas in the field of critical communications.

Critical communications, emergency services and public safety currently function with mission critical voice and data which is limited and not always 100% reliable. This has served the industry sufficiently, says Clemons, but 5G will be able to open up new possibilities for the sector in terms of wearables, remote surgery, autonomous vehicles, etc., for use by first responders and for utilities by transport companies to have more awareness of a situation and to respond effectively.

“Particularly in the emergency services space, there needs to be a response as soon as an incident happens. The first responder has to be completely focused on the incident. The smartphone is not a particularly good device for emergency services,” said Clemons, adding that emergency responders could benefit from imbedding communications into uniforms to provide in-built coverage.

“If Steve Jobs had lived longer I think he would have already made the iPhone obsolete, but I think the people who took over from him saw the cash-cow in it and it may take a new company to disrupt that,” Clemons said. “We are just at the beginning of a long road towards where we want to get to, and it’s important for us to continue taking advantage of existing investments that have been made.”

2016 proved that there is more to wearables than just wrist-worn devices, according to IDC. Ear-worn devices (hearables) surpassed 1 percent of all shipments for the first time in a quarter and sensor-laden clothing accounted for more than 1 percent of the entire market for the full year 2016. Though these numbers were miniscule, they show promise as numerous new devices are expected from notable vendors in 2017 and beyond.

Published in Featured

HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, and ZEISS jointly announced the signing of an exclusive partnership that aims to set new imaging standards within the smartphone industry. This long-term agreement builds on the shared history and expertise between ZEISS and Nokia smartphones.

With a joint ambition to advance the quality of the total imaging experience on smartphones spanning the entire ecosystem from software, services, through to screen quality, and optic design, the partnership will see ZEISS and HMD Global co-develop standard-defining imaging capabilities and will bring the ZEISS brand back to Nokia smartphones.

The relationship between ZEISS and Nokia phones began more than a decade ago, and is founded on a “shared passion for innovation” and “always delivering the best for the consumer” HMD Global said in a release. The past collaboration saw ZEISS and Nokia phones driving technology innovations such as the world’s first multi-megapixel mobile phone and many more standard-setting devices, from the Nokia Nseries to those featuring Nokia PureView technologies.

“Collaborating with ZEISS is an important part of our commitment to always deliver the very best experience for our customers,” said Arto Nummela, CEO of HMD Global. “Our fans want more than a great smartphone camera, they want a complete imaging experience that doesn’t just set the standard but redefines it. Our fans expect it and, together with ZEISS, we’re delivering it – co-developed imaging excellence for all.”

Dr. Matthias Metz, Member of the Executive Board of ZEISS Group said:“The collaboration of HMD Global with ZEISS for Nokia smartphones will again enhance consumers’ holistic imaging experience based on excellence and innovation. Our partnership is built on a solid foundation. Together, we look forward to an exciting journey into the future of sophisticated smartphone imaging.”

Published in Devices

Smartphones are now in 80 percent of U.S. homes – a six percentage point increase year-over-year (YOY) – and U.S. consumers now own 27 million more smartphones than they did just last year, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

CTA’s 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study also shows televisions remain the most popular technology device in the U.S., as they have for decades – almost every household (96 percent) owns at least one TV. Additionally, from 2016 to 2017, the U.S. market saw an increase in the overall installed base of connected devices including smart home devices, smart TVs, wearables and wireless speakers.

“Connectivity – the anytime/anywhere access to information and entertainment we now expect – is a driving trend of our time, supported by the continued growth we’ve seen in smartphone ownership,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA.

“Smartphones are our personal hubs for innovative technologies like smart homes, connected cars and voice-recognition services. And, as more of us recognize the ability of technology to change our lives for the better, smartphones will continue to be one of the most pervasive technologies owned in homes throughout the U.S.”

“Three of the top five most frequently owned technology devices are products with screens – televisions, smartphones and laptops – and those numbers will continue to grow as one-third of consumers tell us they’ll buy at least one smartphone in 2017, and one-fifth say they plan to buy a television or laptop in the coming year,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA.

“U.S. consumers are quickly embracing the rapid rise of today’s ‘screen culture,’ demonstrating their appetite for connected devices that enable easy and accessible consumption of content of all types.”

Smartphones and in-vehicle communications/safety systems saw the largest gains in household ownership among connected devices – both increasing by six percentage points YOY. Almost half (45 percent) of U.S. households now have at least one vehicle with a driver-assistive safety or communication system such as back-up sensors, rearview cameras or hands-free calling. Smart home devices, smart TVs, smartwatches, wearable activity trackers and wireless speakers each saw an increase in household ownership of four percent YOY.

“Our research last year showed most consumers are excited about automated driving features and self-driving cars, but there’s still some hesitancy about the technology,” said Koenig. “This report is further evidence that, despite that wariness, more and more drivers want innovations that help keep them safer on the road. So, as a broader range of our driving tasks are automated via driving-assist technologies, eventually, riding in a self-driving car will be just an incremental step from the in-car tech we’ve all come to know and love.”

Among emerging technologies, 4K Ultra HD (UHD) television is enjoying the fastest growth in ownership. CTA’s research analysis shows 16 percent of U.S. households now own a 4K UHD TV – up nine percentage points YOY – and 11 percent of U.S. households plan to purchase a 4K UHD TV in the coming year. Other emerging technologies expected to experience significant YOY ownership growth in the year to come include voice-activated digital assistants, drones and virtual reality headsets.

The 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study ascertains ownership and purchase intent of consumer technology products among U.S. households across various categories. The report was administered via a dual-frame telephone interview to 2,014 U.S. adults between Feb. 2-13, 2017.

Published in Devices
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