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Cherry Mobile maintains its lead in the Philippines

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International Data Corporation (IDC) has finally released its Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report for the Philippines. According to it, four million smartphones were shipped to the country during the second quarter of 2017, but with a year-on-year decline of 10 percent.

The decline is due weakening presence of local brands, except for the two major vendors that were able to stand up against the competition from Chinese makers. However, the standing of local brands is still influential compared to neighboring countries.

Still on top, Cherry Mobile continued to make waves with their affordable devices. Even with strong marketing competition against Chinese brands, the Filipino phone maker was still able to maintain its lead with the help of airtime on popular local shows.

Samsung came in second in the Philippines, unlike in other countries where they always lead. The majority of shipments for Samsung is their budget Galaxy J series. According to the report, Samsung laid its focus on marketing and incentives for promoters to compete with the rise of Chinese brands.

OPPO took the third spot, and if you haven’t been to malls, you’re missing out on their aggressive approach in marketing. Their partnership with Home Credit allowed Filipinos to afford devices with zero percent interest installment.

Cloudfone landed in fourth place in the Philippine smartphone scene. Like OPPO, Cloudfone has partnered with sports events like the NBA to promote their devices to the masses and fans. Cheap phones were their selling points for the quarter.

And in fifth place was Vivo with their 66 percent quarter-to-quarter growth. The Chinese sister of OPPO has focused its efforts in marketing with NBA superstar Stephen Curry as its endorser, plenty of roadshows, and overwhelming ads in major malls.

The forecast for the third quarter is restrained due to a number of factors including component prices, Peso exchange rates, and imminent exits of some smartphone brands in the local market. But, as the Christmas season comes, numbers will surely rise up as Filipinos spend more during this quarter.

SEE ALSO: Samsung, Xiaomi remain on top of smartphone race in India

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Google bug leaks users’ location data from Home and Chromecast

Data privacy issues hit another tech giant in Google

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If you have been using Google products lately, particularly Google Home and/or Chromecast, be warned! A bug that affects these devices have reportedly been leaking location data of its users through the Google Home app. The bug was discovered by Craig Young, a researcher at Tripwire — a security firm in Portland, Oregon.

Young was creating an exercise to demonstrate how websites identify and control smart screens and speakers when he discovered the bug. He noticed it while using the Google Home app to access nearby wireless networks in the area. After the device connects to a wireless network, the app sends location data to Google’s geolocation services.

What is very interesting about the bug is that the location is precise, and hackers can easily track that location without the need for GPS. Young made a video below to demonstrate how the bug worked using a website he made. This basically shows that it is that easy for hackers to know exactly where you are and access your information — leaving your privacy at risk.

Young reported this issue to Google back in May, but the report was closed as a “Status: Won’t Fix (Intended Behavior)” message. This means that the code worked and produced the expected results it needed. However, when Krebs on Security contacted Google about the bug, the tech giant took action and is working on a patch to be released in July.

Young warns that the bug can be used for more dangerous privacy scams such as phishing, hacking, extortion, and blackmail. Scammers can also pose as the FBI to ask for your personal data based on your location. The bug can even affect your other smart devices like your smart TVs, not just the aforementioned Google products.

One solution that Young suggests is that you use your smart devices on multiple networks — either by adding a guest network or creating a multi-router system.

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Android Messages web client goes live and gets new features

Text, images, and stickers are all supported

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Android Messages‘ much-awaited feature is finally available and it’s not the only new thing to try out. Google has five new features for users of Messages, from web support to smart replies.

The web version of Android Messages is now rolling out to users, allowing them to send and view messages on their desktop or laptop’s browsers.

Users may visit messages.android.com to access the Android Messages for web. They must also have the updated app on their phone to pair their browser with their phone. People can send stickers, emoji, and attach images aside from sending simple text messages.

The other new features of Android Messages include nifty smart replies for quick responses, instant preview of a link to an article in the conversation, built-in GIF search capabilities, and a useful shortcut for copying one-time passwords such as verification codes when logging into certain apps.

The new features, according to Google, are slowly becoming available to Android users and the rollout will continue throughout the week.

Source: Google

SEE ALSO: The future of Android messaging gets support from carriers worldwide

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YouTube Music and YouTube Premium launch in more countries

YouTube continues to expand its services

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YouTube has come a long way since it was launched 13 years ago. Google is making sure their video-sharing service continues to evolve with the introduction of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium to more countries.

YouTube Music was already launched last month in very few countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. Today, it’s also making its way to the UK, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. It offers music videos, albums, singles, remixes, live performances, and covers. It’s basically a dedicated music service like Spotify or Apple Music.

The new app that’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store features Smart Search that finds songs intelligently by lyrics or by song name. It can still look for what you are searching even with bizarre phrases like “That space-themed Spice Girls song in the desert.” YouTube Music is ad-supported, but there’s also a premium version for US$ 9.99 per month, or US$ 14.99 for a Family Plan.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium, and it’s available in more countries just like YouTube Music. The Premium service of YouTube is ad-free, has background playback, and it includes all the benefits of Music Premium. Premium members also get access to all YouTube Originals, including the hit Cobra Kai. Individual subscription is priced at US$ 11.99 per month or US$ 17.99 for a Family Plan

Source: YouTube

SEE ALSO: Incognito Mode becomes available to YouTube’s Android app

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