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Showing posts from August 26, 2018

Apple's Position In The Global Smartphone Market Under Threat

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Huawei has surpassed Apple for second place in the global smartphone market and Xiaomi and Oppo are breathing down Apple's neck for third and fourth places. It's not a true reflection of the sales position given the seasonal variations of Apple's iPhone sales. When the annual sales are totted up expect Apple to retain a solid second place.

It does foretell a near future where Apple sits in a similar position in both PC and smartphone markets - a distant fifth place.

That's not a really a problem for Apple though, given the way that it is driving larger profits from fewer sales. For all that Android OEMs have been increasing prices, it's noticeable that they haven't been maintained. Steep discounts and value-add bundles have been a feature of high-end Android phones.

Those Android sales might look good in the short-term but long-term Apple's ability to profit from fewer sales, plus its ability to continue to profit from older handsets via accessory and service…

HTC Goes Back To Basics With U12 Life

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HTC has introduced the U12 Life, a 6” mid-range handset which avoids a notch and revives the headphone jack. It packs a two-tone rear case, looking like a cross between a U11 and a Pixel 2. The handset is powered by a Snapdragon 636, sports 4GB of RAM and 64GB. There are dual rear cameras and for the front camera a flash and HDR mode. This looks like a much more successful interpretation of the HTC DNA than the flawed U12. But is it enough to keep the company in the smartphone business?

Apple Buys AR Lens Manufacturer - Headset To Arrive Next Year?

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Apple's current AR implementation on iPhone and iPad is all very interesting, but it rather misses the capability set which Microsoft's HoloLens and now Magic Leap bring to the party. There are strong rumours that Apple has its own headset in development. Lending weight to these is the news that it has bought Akonia Holographics, a company which is pursuing a HoloMirror lens which will surpass the capabilities of those in other products.Analysts are predicting of a standalone AR headset from Apple as soon as next year, with dual 8K resolution and a wide field of view - one of the weaknesses of current implementations.If this turns out to be an accurate prediction, AR could suddenly become infinitely more commonplace and applications much more powerful.

FTC Drawn Into Crowdfunding Scam Investigation

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At this point there's little to be surprised about when it comes to crowdfunding. You either choose to take the risk and hope to get the product you backed, or you avoid the whole concept completely.There's a side issue here which goes beyond incompetence and an inability to turn a wonderful concept into a manufacturing reality. The limited controls and half-expected failure of even the best funded campaigns has attracted the attention of those with no intention of putting a product to market.iBackPack would appear to be one such campaign, raising $700k for a backpack with embedded Wi-Fi hotspot and battery pack. I mean you'd have to be a bit short of imagination to invest in such a product anyway wouldn't you? Much better to buy the backpack you want and add a standalone battery pack and wireless router if that's your need.Still, three years after successfully campaigning on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter iBackPack has yet to appear, its founder has disappeared an…

Microsoft Surface Go Is Cuteness In Hybrid Form

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The Surface Go is small, light and... dinky. It is really a Surface hybrid ready to take on the iPad, at least as far as portability is concerned.
Despite having an allegedly rubbish Intel Pentium Gold processor, I found the Go to perform really very well - I was able to open and switch between many apps without any lag or delay. However I was using the 8GB version with its speedy SSD, running in Windows 10 S mode. The cheaper model, or one with app installed from outside the Windows Store may not perform so well.
And therein lies the biggest concern with the Surface Go. The Windows Store is barren and the number of apps there are not generally touch friendly. 
Still, throw in the Surface Pen and the Type cover and you probably have the best small Windows 10 device available. You certainly have the best OneNote device.

F1: Halo Passes First Test With Flying Colours

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Spa is notorious for its first corner incidents and this year's race was no exception. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg missed is braking point into the La Source hairpin, slamming into the back of Fernando Alonso's McLaren, which launched off Charles Leclerc's Sauber into a short flight which included a landing on the top of Leclerc's Halo device.
The Halo device stood up to the assault perfectly, protecting Leclerc's head. An impact which could have been fatal without the safety device. Several drivers, Alonso included, have been pointing out the Halo has more than justified its introduction with this one incident, and they aren't wrong.
That the device introduced following the death of Jules Bianchi had its first proper test probably saving the life of his childhood friend Leclerc turns out to be incredibly moving.

Tesla Staying Private After All, Musk Tweets Look Even More Suspect

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Elon Musk has said that he will no longer attempt to take Tesla private after feedback from shareholders. Which makes the whole 'funding secured' tweet fiasco even more perplexing. 
Musk launched into an early defence play last week - claiming 120 hour work weeks and drug use were affecting his life and causing random behaviours. That's clearly a response to the news that the SEC is investigating the tweet. Musk's PR team in full damage limitation mode.
Musk's actions made at least one group of people happy though. The Tesla short sellers who he detests so much. After briefly rallying immediately after Musk's tweet, Tesla's shares have been in freefall since Musk and Tesla started winding back the language. 
So far the shares have tanked from a post-tweet high of $380 to just over $320. Making some short sellers some decent money.

Epic Games Delivered Fortnite For Android With A Huge Security Flaw

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Epic Games decided that it didn’t want to pay Google its cut for selling Fortnite and its in-app purchases through the Play Store and chose instead to deliver its own installer to be installed via an insecure Android sideloading process.
The installer it delivered suffered from a glaring security hole, executing any stored installer with the correct name. 
Instead of contrition over its terrible mistake, Epic Games seems to be more intent  on raging at Google for releasing the information about the weakness just one week after notifying Epic and not the 90 days the company has asked for.
On the plus side, it looks like Epic have fixed the fault, but it does rather raise question of how such a glaring flaw made it out into the wild?