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Apple is the bestselling smartphone brand of Q4 2020

Beats Samsung for second

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Last month, market analysts confirmed Apple’s return to dominance atop its rivals as the company that shipped the most smartphones. In the meantime, the former leader Huawei plummeted to the sixth spot after suffering a dismal year. Now, though confirming what we already know, a new quarter report brings an additional surprise: Apple also became the bestselling smartphone brand for Q4 2020.

According to market researcher Gartner, Apple sold close to 80 million units in the last quarter of 2020. With the final numbers in, the company eked out a sizable lead against Samsung for the top spot in the period. In comparison, Samsung sold only 62 million units. The third spot belongs to Xiaomi with 43 million units. Finally, OPPO and Huawei are neck-and-neck for fourth and fifth with 34 million units sold apiece.

Notably, though the iPhone 12 series launched during the same period, Apple started selling them midway through the quarter. The company’s sizable lead points to one of two conclusions: Apple’s past iPhone series are still selling beyond expectations, or the iPhone 12 series came out extremely hot straight from the oven. Then again, it could be both.

Prior to the iPhone 12 series, Apple launched the new iPhone SE back in April during the height of the pandemic. Especially with the model’s budget-friendly promise, the iPhone SE (2020) helped the company survive through the turbulent pandemic when almost every other company suffered through devastating losses.

SEE ALSO: Huawei plummets to no. 6 from no. 1 in smartphone shipments

Enterprise

Samsung will launch three Exynos processors this year

Exynos 800, Exynos 1200, Exynos 2200

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Late last year, Samsung pushed heavily for an increased market presence for its Exynos series of chipsets. Instead of keeping the processors for itself, the company started selling the chipsets to other tech makers. Already, a few smartphones brands, like Vivo, have already launched Exynos-powered smartphones. According to a new rumor, Samsung will launch three Exynos processors this year.

Leaked by renowned Samsung leaker Ice Universe, Samsung will launch chipsets in three different series: Exynos 800, Exynos 1200, and Exynos 2200. Additionally, the latter two chipsets will come with AMD GPUs.

According to a previous leak, Samsung will launch the GPUs themselves later this year. Unfortunately, there is no indication when Samsung will launch the actual chipsets. Based solely on the chipsets’ naming scheme, they will likely fill out budget-friendly, midrange, and flagship smartphones.

However, it’s too early to tell which devices will carry them. If this year mimics last year, the company might announce the chipsets late this year and then released early next year. Either way, Samsung is really heating up for an explosive year with all the releases.

Recently, the company already launched the brilliant Galaxy S21 series back in January.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: For Pro Users!

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Sophos and Qualcomm are teaming up to secure 5G PCs

AI-enabled protection against cyberattacks

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Sophos, a British cybersecurity company, has announced that it will provide its Intercept X software for 5G PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon compute platforms. Called the Intercept X, it’s an endpoint protection suite that helps prevent malicious code deployment such as ransomware.

“The combination of Sophos Intercept X with Snapdragon compute platforms will provide users next-generation security through an always-on, always-connected PC environment,” the companies said in a statement.

The sophisticated software is capable of protecting advanced systems and endpoints via deep learning AI capabilities. The system can inspect and scrutinize files from hundreds of millions of samples to identify and neutralize threats that haven’t been seen before.

In case of a ransomware attack, Intercept X can detect and block foreign encryption processes to protect the device and data. It’ll also use Connected Standby technology to constantly communicate with other Snapdragon-powered devices so that unknown processes are limited and data won’t be compromised when the PC goes offline.

Since Qualcomm’s platform is designed for portable computing, Intercept X shall use AI acceleration through the Qualcomm AI Engine to optimize the device’s performance and ensure minimal battery loss.

Lastly, it’ll be able to harness hardware-level root of trust to ascertain device and cryptographic integrity. According to the firm, the Snapdragon processor series — used to power light, 5G PCs — will come in useful in combating security blackspots as the software will leverage connected standby functions.

“Now, in addition to enabling always on, always connected PC experiences, our 5G-enabled Snapdragon compute platforms bring next-generation security innovation rooted in our advanced AI and 5G connectivity capabilities,” said Miguel Nunes, senior director Product Management, Qualcomm.

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Xiaomi announces three new manufacturing plants in India

Two for smartphones and one for smart TVs

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Xiaomi announced it’ll be opening three new manufacturing facilities in India to boost its local presence and supply chain. Two of them shall be dedicated to smartphones while the third ones for smart TVs.

Xiaomi’s India Head and Global Vice President, Manu Kumar Jain, said that 99 percent of its smartphones sold in India and 100 percent of its televisions will now be manufactured within the country.

In a briefing to GadgetMatch, he said that Xiaomi has been assembling phones and TVs in India for a while now. But many components are still imported, and the company is trying to reduce this as much as possible. Xiaomi has partnered with DBG India, and its plant in Haryana is already functional.

The second facility will be set up in Tamil Nadu by Chinese electronics maker BYD. The two plants are strategically located to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly across the country. For the smart TVs, Xiaomi has tied up with Hyderabad-based television manufacturer Radiant.

The Chinese phone maker has already tied up with Foxconn and Flex for smartphones and Dixon Technologies for televisions. Jain even went on to say that a vast majority of the phone components that include printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) and sub-boards, chargers and battery, back panels are domestically manufactured in the country.

Jain also proudly said in the briefing that Xiaomi now employs 60,000 people in India via its many facilities, retail units, and back-end operations. Xiaomi’s investment in India isn’t surprising because it has been serious about the market for years and has solidified its standing as an indisputable leader.

The Indian government recently kicked-off a billion-dollar scheme to encourage local sourcing. Also dubbed Production Linked Incentive (PLI), the government is ready to offer subsidies and tariff reliefs for companies that are open to localization. The program has worked wonders for companies on the electronics front, and thousands of jobs are being generated.

Despite competition from Samsung, realme, OPPO, and vivo, the company has largely remained unscathed. However, the brand is still in warm waters due to geopolitical instability between India and China. The anti-China sentiment has affected many Chinese players like Huawei, TikTok, Alibaba, and more. But Xiaomi and other mobile phone markers have avoided controversy by amalgamating with the local market and the workforce.

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