Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘5G’ Category

Apple Watch

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Friday’s as good a day to start getting fit as any. And that includes Google, which has acquired FitBit for $2.1B, ramping up its speed in the wearables/fitness category.

The move could certainly help amp up the Fitbit line of tracking devices in the near term, but could also help accelerate Google’s own efforts for its Wear OS smartwatch software.

Apple TV+ launched late yesterday, and includes nine original titles in 100+ countries. The price is $4.99/month, or $49.99/year (and one year free trial with the purchase of any new Apple device).

Apple is experimenting with the release model of its new content. It released all 10 episodes for its period drama “Dickinson,” but for other shows like “For All Mankind” and “The Morning Show,” it released the first three episodes, followed by weekly releases.

In other words, half Netflix, half HBO. Maybe they’ll find their way to, “I binge, therefore I am.”

Hidden in the airwaves, China’s three state-backed wireless carriers started launching 5G service in select cities today. And there are roughly 13,000 base stations that have been installed in Beijing that enable 5G, of which 10,000 are already operating.

U.S. telcos, did you hear that pin drop?

Written by turbotodd

November 1, 2019 at 5:35 am

Posted in 2019, 5G, apple watch

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A Fork in the Smartphone Road

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Well, the Chimerica trade and technology war has been taken to new heights over the weekend, both in terms of policy and in global markets.

After President Trump raised the tariffs on China again, this time 10% on $300 billion in Chinese imports not covered by earlier rounds of tariffs on China, China is retaliating with both active and passive measures.

Passively, China is refusing to prompt up the devaluing Chinese currency, the yuan, allowing it to break through 7 against the dollar for the first time since prior to the Great Recession.

Actively, the Chinese Customs Tariffs Commission of the State Council has not ruled out import tariffs on newly purchased U.S. agricultural products after August 3 (this past Saturday).

While the American and Chinese leaders continue with their Great Game of Trade Chicken, Chinese state media has made an interesting announcement: That Huawei is testing a $288 smartphone running its self-developed HongMeng OS, which Reuters is reporting could go on sale later this year.

Could this eventually lead to a global fork in the smartphone OS market, which is currently largely dominated by Google’s Android (and on which most Chinese smartphones are based)?

Probably not in the short term, but longer term…?

Written by turbotodd

August 5, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Telco Turmoil

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The 5G and telco industry whirlwind continues…

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is "leaning against approving T-Mobile’s proposed takeover of Sprint."

Apparently the "remedies" proposed by the wireless carriers earlier this week didn’t go far enough resolve the department’s concerns that the deal risked harming competition.

Next, the FTC won an antitrust case against Qualcomm in the Northern District of California, this just a few weeks after Apple and Qualcomm settled a major patent dispute.

The FTC has ordered a number of remedies to Qualcomm, including that the company must not condition of the supply of modem chips on a customer’s patent license status, and that the company must negotiate or renegotiate license terms with customers "in good faith under conditions free from the threat of lack of access to or discriminatory provision of modem chip supply or associated technical support or access to software," among others.

And not to be left out, the telco vice against China continues today with the U.K.’s chip design firm ARM reportedly in a leaked memo has told its staff it must suspend business with Huawei. A report from the BBC explained that "Arm’s designs form the basis of most mobile processors worldwide" and that the designs contained "U.S. origin technology," and therefore subject to the U.S. trade restrictions.

Written by turbotodd

May 22, 2019 at 9:56 am

Posted in 2019, 5G, china

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On the Verge of a Digital Cold War: Peking Duck (and Cover)

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Man oh man, has this already been a juicy week thus far for tech geopolitical geeks like me.

First, last week, the U.S. Commerce Dept. basically banned all U.S. telcos from doing business with Huawei, but then today has “temporarily eased trade restrictions [on the company] to minimize disruption for its customers.”

Tit, meet Tat.

Specifically, Reuters reported today that Commerce has not granted Huawei a license to buy U.S. goods until August 19th to maintain existing telecoms networks and provide software updates to Huawei smartphones.

This gives telecom operators that rely on Huawei time to make other arrangements.

China’s Huawei founder isn’t taking all this lying down: “The U.S. government’s actions at the moment underestimate our capabilities,” said Ren Zhengfei.

The latest Huawei casualty? Microsoft removed the Huawei MateBook X Pro (one of the best Windows laptops available in the U.S. right now, says The Verge) from its online store — without a Windows license, it’s a brick.

This shit is getting real real and fast!

Which makes me wonder: Who’s holding which cards in this geopolitical poker game with gargantuan stakes? China certainly seems to have the edge (and pricing power) on new 5G technologies, but do they have their own native-built smartphone operating system they can do a hot switchover to lest the Android goes completely dark.

Bloomberg reports that Huawei has indeed, and better yet, has been building its own OS and its own “App Gallery” (lest it need to supplant the Android Play Store).

I f——ing love this industry, and it’s a great time to watch these great powers battle for its future. We might just have ourselves a new space race, and despite the tensions, remember, the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Led to more technological innovation in a short 7-8 years than I even care to count (although we’ll leave Tang out of that equation).

Freeze dried ice cream, anyone? It’s time to celebrate!

Written by turbotodd

May 21, 2019 at 4:20 pm

Posted in 2019, 5G, china, huawei

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Brooks and Bran

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Spoiler Alert!

If you haven’t watched the end of the PGA Championship yet on your DVR, I’m about to congratulate the winner, so stop reading this post now.

If you did watch, you know it was one half of the “Smash Brothers” who took his fourth major golf championship inside of 23 months: Brooks Koepka.

Pretty spectactular stuff.

My boss actually called this one, and I couldn’t say I disagreed with him. Brooks seems to be one of those once in a generation players who comes loaded to bear on the golf course, especially at the majors. 

And when I say loaded to bear, I’m talking about insane distance off the tee (but also accuracy in hitting fairways), great up and down (scrambling), and some great putting (which is an area where he has struggled in the past).

Dustin Johnson, the other Smash bro, put on a good run, especially in the middle of the round when Brooks bogied four holes in a row to take his lead to one, but it just wasn’t to be, and Koepka took the Wannamaker for the second year in a row.

Now, the other spoiler alert: GOT. 

If you don’t watch “Game of Thrones” you need to get with the program. Of course, now it’s all over, and as I predicted, Jon killed Dany and Bran became king.

Apparently a lot of folks didn’t like the last several episodes and/or the ending, but it all worked well for me.  Eight seasons is a lot to wrap up such epic storytelling, and I figured after the Drogon Burning Man fest from last weekend, Dany had to go.  And Tyrian convinced Jon, and that was that.

So what does all this have to do with technology?  Everything and nothing.

GOT certainly has everything to do with clashing empires, which is exactly what we’re seeing now with the “Chimerica” tech wars.

Over the weekend, Reuters reported that Google has suspended business with China’s Huawei telco business, for anything “that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing.”

That means no more licensing of Android to Huawei.

But what this is really about is the burgeoning big power battle over the evolution of 5G technology — meaning, the U.S. does not want China to be a primary provider of 5G equipment due to concerns around … well, you name it: surveillance, national security, concerns over economic power, technology transfer, etc.

So if Huawei loses in the 5G battle (and I’m not convinced they do, particularly if European and other partners don’t go along with the ‘Merica First 5G battle cry), who wins?

Vendors like Ericsson, HPE, Nokia, Intel, and Qualcomm, certainly. But let’s not forget, their products are typically much more expensive than those from Huawei.

We’ll see if it’s the almighty dollar — or the strengthening renminbi — that ultimately prevails.

 

Written by turbotodd

May 20, 2019 at 2:56 pm

Posted in 2019, 5G, china, golf

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When the Chips Are Down

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We now know more about the Apple/Qualcomm settlement.

It was all (or mostly) about 5G.

No sooner was the settlement announced that Intel announced it was pulling out of the 5G smartphone chip market.

Apple and Qualcomm’s six-year licensing agreement will help ensure the launch of the first 5G iPhone in 2020.

According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, the settlement included an undisclosed payment to Qualcomm by Apple, which "several weeks ago asked its suppliers to begin testing the chipmaker’s 5G modems."

Intel told Nikkei Asian in a statement that there was "no clear path to profitability and positive returns in the smartphone little business. That said, 5G remains a strategic priority across Intel and we continue to invest in our 5G network infrastructure business."

Apparently, Apple had long been concerned that Intel could not meet its 5G schedule, likely prompting the settlement with Qualcomm.

Nikkei Asian notes that Intel had been the sole modem chip supplier for iPhones since 2018, which, ironically, were due to Apple’s legal dispute with Qualcomm

What to do when the chips are down?!

Written by turbotodd

April 17, 2019 at 10:30 am

Facebook Down, 5G Up, Boeing 737 Max Grounded

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It’s a busy hump day.

The Verge (and others) are reporting that Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp are having a difficult day, working to bring its services back online:

Facebook and Instagram appear to be partially down for some users around the world today. While you can open both platforms, it looks like you can’t send or receive messages on either platform, and you can’t post new content either.

WhatsApp appeared to be fine for many people, but users in Paraguay, India, Bangladesh, Argentina, and more note that they are experiencing issues with sending messages. DownDetector indicates that those in Brazil were experiencing the most severe outages.

Oculus Go users are also reporting issues.

Meanwhile, President Trump has announced a ban of Boeing 737 Max flights, according to a report from The New York Times: 

President Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States was grounding Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, reversing an earlier decision by American regulators to keep the jets flying after a second deadly crash in Ethiopia.

The Federal Aviation Administration had for days resisted calls to ground the plane even as safety regulators in some 42 countries had banned flights by the jets. As recently as Tuesday, the agency said it had seen “no systemic performance issues” that would prompt it to halt flights of the jet.

“The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the White House.

And if you’re looking for some futuristic technology good news, you can smile if you live in Chicago and Minneapolis: Verizon’s 5G service is slated to launch there on April 11 and will cost $85-$105 U.S. for unlimited plans.

Bloomberg reports how Verizon got around the absence of 5G phones as they work to make this forward leap in cellular communications:

Verizon sidestepped one of the main challenges to 5G introduction — the absence of 5G phones — by offering an adaptation. Starting Thursday, the company is taking orders for a $50 snap-on module for the Motorola Z3 phone, making it the only phone that will be enabled for the advanced service by the April 11 launch date.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Posted in 2019, 5G, airlines

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