Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘huawei’ Category

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

Apple Pie and Salsa Verde

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Greetings. I’m just back from a week’s vacation in Mexico City, where I slurped tequila like it was beer and where I (largely) ignored the tech industry.

I DID manage to get a TelCel SIM card while I was at the Mexico City airport, and I have to say, I’m not sure how I would have managed my trip if I hadn’t had a smartphone with Internet connectivity.

From the dating apps like Bumble and Tinder which I used to meet all those nice women from Mexico, to Google and Apple Maps to find my way around, to Uber to get my way around, to Yelp to find good restaurants (HINT: I didn’t find any BAD restaurants in all of CDMX!)

I want to thank the good people of Mexico, and mi amigos who I was traveling with (you know who you are) for a great week of downtime. I don’t think we left many stones unturned, and we capped it all off by seeing the inaugural game of this season’s La Liga season with a match between America and Monterrey.

So now that I’m back to reality, what IS going on in the world of technology? I haven’t even tried to backtrack as to what I missed, but what I see going on at the moment caught my eye was that Apple is in advanced talks to buy Intel’s smartphone modem chip business (in a deal valued at worth $1B).

From the WSJ: “[The deal] would give Apple access to engineering work and talent behind Intel’s year’s long push to develop modem chips for the crucial next generation of wireless technology known as 5G, potentially saving years of development work.”

So there you go, it’s all about (and will increasingly be about) 5G.

Also on the Apple front, Apple app developers beware: Apple’s own mobile apps routinely appear first in search results ahead of competitors in its App Store. Like that’s a surprise.

On the Chinamerica front: Huawei has laid off more than 600 workers from its US-based Futurewei research arm, as a result of being put on a trade blacklist by the U.S. government. That’s more than 2/3s of the workforce.

They must be picking up the slack in Mexico City, because every other billboard I saw had “Huawei” on it.

A VC round to note: Autonomous Industrial robotics firm Fetch Robotics raised $46M in a Series C round led by Fort Ross Ventures. Fetch’s robots are powered by cloud-based software systems, which means their ‘bots are likely ready to scale.

The question I have is, is the world ready? Ready or not, here they come!

And speaking of robots, despite Tesla having a giant new machine that helps the company more quickly produce the Model Y, the company’s higher-end sales are being eroded by Model 3 gains.

What was it Clayton Christensen or someone said about chewing your own leg off?

Just so long as I can have some of that infamous CDMX salsa verde with it!

Written by turbotodd

July 23, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Posted in huawei, venture capital

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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

Tagged with , , ,

Finding a Mate

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If you’re in the market for a new Samsung smartphone, you’ll have to wait until Mobile World Congress in late February for the Galaxy S9 announcement.

ZDNet is reporting that DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile business, said its first flagship smartphone of the year will be unveiled at MWC (where they will also announce the on sale date).

If, on the other hand, you were looking for the new Huawei Mate 10, it’s looking more and more like you’ll be needing to acquire it not from a major telecom vendor if you’re a prospective customer in the U.S.

As Android Police reported recently, The Information reported that the U.S. and House intelligence committees sent letters to the FCC back in December alleging Huawei was a security threat, and expressed “concerns” that the company was working with U.S. telecom providers to sell smartphones here in America.

The AT&T deal died a few weeks after members of the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees wrote to the Federal Communications Commission raising concerns about reports that Huawei had struck a deal with a major telecommunications carrier. The Dec. 20 letter, reviewed by The Information, cited an intelligence committee report on the Chinese firm’s alleged ties to the Communist Party and China’s intelligence and security services. “Additional work by the Intelligence Committees on this topic only reinforces concerns regarding Huawei and Chinese espionage,”
– via Android Police – Android News, Apps, Games, Phones, Tablets

Android Police goes on to report that Verizon is facing similar pressure.

You can read CNET’s review of the Huawei Mate 10 here.

Also in the China Internet news front…9to5Mac writes that Apple has announced a date for when it will hand over operations of iCloud data services for residents of mainland China to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Ltd., a cloud partner in the Middle Kingdom.

GCBD will manage a new Apple data center in China that will eventually store all iCloud data for Chinese customers. Affected customers are now being notified about the transition which will start on February 28. Apple reassured users that the data will be protected by the same encryption standards as its current US policies and that no special backdoors will be created. This means that customers who live within mainland China will see the physical storage location of their data change, although it should go unnoticed in terms of available iCloud features and functionality. All of a user’s data will not move across to the new geographic location, but the process is beginning from February 28.
– via 9to5Mac

According to 9to5Mac, the switchover will happen automatically on February 28, and Apple customers in China will be “notified in due course.”

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2018 at 11:27 am

The Data Unlimited

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Lotsa news on the telecommunications and smartphone front leading up to Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress later this month.

Verizon threw down its gauntlet on unlimited data, its first since 2011 according to MacRumors. The new plan unveiled Sunday includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data, and will cost $80/month for a single smartphone or tablet.

But unlimited isn’t completely unlimited, as “Verizon Unlimited” includes a potential slowdown after customers exceed 22 GB of data usage in a single billing cycle.

Over at Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, they’re looking to introduce their own code-named processor, “Pinecone” within the month, writes Ars Technica. This moves Xiaomi into an alternative smartphone processor universe, considering that most every Android OEM other than Samsung and Huawei have been Qualcomm customers.

Meanwhile, Android Authority reported that Huawei defied slowing global smartphone sales trends and shipped 139M units in 2016, a nearly 30 percent YOY increase. It’s consumer division revenues grew 42% to $26B.

But probably the most intriguing numbers to recently appear were new device activations leading into the Christmas holidays. Flurry has apparently done this analysis every year for several years, and this year, the headline was this: For every Samsung device activated, Apple saw two activated devices (44 percent for Apple, 21 percent for Samsung).

Admittedly, Samsung had a bit of a rough 2016, but yet and still, 2 to 1…and this as Apple recently announced record earnings, sending their stock price to an all-time high.

The sub-headline was that the so-called “phablet” was the dominant form factor by the end of 2016 (with phablet being defined as a smartphone having a screen intermediate in size, between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.

Written by turbotodd

February 14, 2017 at 8:52 am

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