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What to expect from Apple’s March 21 announcement

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Apple may be in hot water with the feds, but that doesn’t mean the California-based tech giant is slamming the breaks on its product release cycle in lieu of its legal battle with U.S. authorities. Apple today sent out invites to a press event at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) on March 21 at its Cupertino campus.

“Let us loop you in,” the invite simply says. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say it’s a nod to Apple’s Infinite Loop campus.


The products to be announced, in usual Apple fashion, remain a mystery, though recent reports point to a successor of the 9.7-inch iPad and a new 4-inch iPhone packing the same internals as the iPhone 6s.

Dubbed the iPhone SE, it will likely replace the iPhone 5s (and, possibly, iPhone 6) as Apple’s lowest-priced smartphone. Why? Because Apple, now more than ever, desperately needs a serious midrange option if it wants to grow its business in emerging economies, where price is too often the deciding factor.

More Apple Watch bands and materials are also expected to take the stage, in addition to a new software update for the company’s smartwatch. We may also see the release announcement for an iTunes update and iOS 9.3, which is currently in beta testing.

You can watch Apple’s March 21 keynote live on your Apple products, or by heading to Apple’s dedicated event page here using Safari or Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.

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Redmi 7A offers a solid budget phone experience

Continuing the legacy of great value

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When we first reviewed the Redmi 5A, we dubbed it the best smartphone you could buy below US$ 100. But then the Redmi 6A happened, and it wasn’t nearly as impressive. Fast forward to the Redmi 7A, which looks to bring Xiaomi’s entry-level A-series back to its roots.

Xiaomi once again placed a capable Snapdragon chipset in its lowest-end Redmi model. This time, it’s the Snapdragon 439. With the 4000mAh battery, this phone is built to last long on a single charge.


The memory and storage options of 2GB+16GB and 3GB+32GB aren’t as impressive, especially against today’s standards, but as the previous two generations had proven. they’re sufficient for basic apps and tasks.

On the back is a single 13-megapixel camera while the front houses a standard 5-megapixel shooter. As for the display, it’s a 5.45-inch 720p LCD with no notch or hole in it. Once again, there’s no fingerprint scanner to be found.

Indeed, this is as basic as it gets for a smartphone, but like the Redmi 5A and 6A, the Redmi 7A is suitable for first-time smartphone users and those who needs an inexpensive secondary phone.

While no official pricing has been announced yet, it’s expected to retail for no more than US$ 100 like its predecessors. We’ll learn more during the Redmi K20 launch happening on May 28.

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Huawei’s phones can’t use microSD cards anymore

Another casualty of the ban

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Everyone knows what happened to Huawei. As the week winds down, the Trump ban is dismantling the Chinese company piece by piece. Most notably, Google has stopped its business dealings with Huawei. Soon after, hardware company ARM ceased support for future Huawei chips. Huawei has lost considerable support on both hardware and software sides.

Now, the company has lost another major backer. Reported by Nikkei Asian Review, the SD Association has revoked Huawei’s membership status. As the name suggests, the trade group dictates the SD and microSD standards of the industry. The Chinese company cannot use the standard for future devices anymore. Fortunately, Huawei can still use the memory cards for existing phones.


However, the latest bridge-burning has drastically changed the company’s future. Given everything, Huawei’s future does not include Google, ARM, and microSD extensions, among others. All three components are major parts of today’s phones.

Fortunately, the loss of microSD support isn’t a deadly deal. Huawei can still use other standards for memory card extension. The company also has its own proprietary standard called the Nano Memory Card. Of course, proprietary hardware is almost always a turn-off. Despite cushioning the SD Association loss, the Nano Memory Card isn’t as appealing as the universally available microSD card.

In other news, Huawei has also “temporarily” lost access to the Wi-Fi Alliance. Much like the SD Association, the Wi-Fi Alliance dictates the connectivity standards of devices. Thankfully, Huawei can still use Wi-Fi in its devices. However, the company cannot participate in any discussions to shape Wi-Fi’s future.

Likewise, Huawei has voluntarily withdrawn from JEDEC, a trade group that defines semiconductor standards. As with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the company cannot contribute to any future discussions.

Fortunately, both restrictions don’t impact the company’s future as much. However, Huawei’s future is slowly moving away from industry standards. If the company hopes to survive, Huawei must develop its own proprietary hardware or find replacements elsewhere.

SEE ALSO: Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

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Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

States the Philippines’ robust cybersecurity measures

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Throughout the past few days, the Huawei debacle has devastated companies and consumers across the globe. Everyone is falling for the fear. Huawei’s long-standing suppliers have cut ties with the company. Huawei’s consumers are getting rid of their favored headsets. The wave has swept the whole world.

Naturally, the Philippines isn’t immune. Recently, smartphone retailers and resellers have started refusing Huawei devices from their stores. Local Huawei users can’t easily sell their devices to the second-hand market anymore.


However, an important question still stands. How much will the Huawei ban affect the Philippines?

Of course, the ban originates from Trump’s trade war against China. Among other reasons, the American government cites the company’s inherent cybersecurity risks as the prime motivator. Supposedly, Huawei’s telecommunications hardware can transmit valuable data to the Chinese government. Given the Philippines’ proximity to China, are we also at risk?

According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Huawei’s ban “will have a little impact in the Philippine telecommunications industry.” Shared through a Facebook post, the DICT assures users of the country’s robust cybersecurity measures. As of now, the department has not reported any cybersecurity breaches coming from Huawei equipment.

Likewise, shortly after the news broke, local telcos confirmed continued support for Huawei’s devices. According to the DICT, “they will diversify in their present and future procurements of equipment to make their networks more robust and future proof.” The department is also imposing strict rules on local telcos regarding network monitoring. The statement also quickly adds the imposition of the same rules on a potential third telco.

Is the DICT’s statement believable? For now, Huawei’s impact is still marginal at best. Companies and consumers are going on the perceived risk of the future. Right now, Huawei has not announced drastic changes to its products yet. Existing Huawei products still support Google.

Of course, cybersecurity is another issue. The risk will always exist when foreign companies control the telecommunications equipment of another country. At the very least, the DICT isn’t treating the whole debacle as a non-issue. Hopefully, the department’s promises are an optimistic sign for the country’s telecommunications industry.

SEE ALSO: Huawei granted 90-day extension before total ban

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