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Mobile users in China have to undergo mandatory face scan

Black Mirror no longer feels like fiction

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A new rule requiring face scans of customers signing up for new mobile plans in China came into effect. The guidelines, first issued in September, require telecom companies to deploy “artificial intelligence and other technical methods” to check the identities of people registering SIM cards.

Under existing norms, consumers applying for new phone numbers need to show their national identification card and have their photos taken. The government says it wants to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace”.

China has heavily invested in facial recognition technology and it’s being widely deployed in schools, colleges, airports, and other public places. While it makes life convenient, critics are concerned that the government is further trying to establish a surveillance state.

In mobile phones, Apple introduced the notch in 2017 with the iPhone X. A notch let them install a sophisticated infrared array that scanned users face to unlock the phone. Officially called Face ID, a similar setup has been seen on Android offerings as well.

In addition to mobile users, Chinese social media site Weibo was forced to roll out real-name registration in 2012. There are reports that a wide range of third-party apps are also collecting face scans and the country lacks legislation to ensure top-notch security standards. In fact, a lot of these apps are gathering data without a user agreement.

China already extensively censors and polices the web, removing and blocking content it does not want its citizens to see and talk about.

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Huawei patent shows off phone with under-display camera

It definitely looks promising

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File photo: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Huawei may be barred from using Google Mobile Services, but it isn’t stopping the brand from thinking big. A recent patent filing uncovered by LetsGoDigital shows a futuristic Huawei smartphone with an under-display camera.

The patent was filed by Huawei on October 28, 2019, and features a curved display on the sides. We’ve already seen this on Huawei Mate 30 Pro. The side physical buttons are replaced in favor of touch or gestures.

With no visible bezels on the front and the lack of a sliding module, it’s safe to assume the presence of an under-display camera. Last month, we came across a report that confirmed Xiaomi also has a similar patent. OPPO has gone a step ahead and showed off a prototype as well.

 

The implementation is often talked about and brands have pitched concept phones with a similar setup. With an under-display camera, the need for a top-bezel, pop-up module, or a notch is completely eliminated. Ultimately, providing a high screen-to-body ratio and unparalleled design.

On the rear, we can see a circular camera module that houses multiples sensors. It’s again safe to assume that two different models are shown in the filing since one has a triple-camera setup while one has a quad-camera.

These early patents give us a hint of what we can expect from the company in the future. They aren’t leaks or confirmed reports about a product’s existence.

SEE ALSO:
Xiaomi patents under-display camera technology
OPPO’s Under-display Camera

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iPhone SE most searched during lockdown

Leads searches by a wide margin

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While recent reports showed that Samsung’s midrange offering made waves in sales during the first quarter of 2020, a different phone from a different brand started gaining attention while most of us are in lockdown — the iPhone SE.

While this report doesn’t necessarily suggest a strong sales performance, numbers from the iPrice group shows that there’s a huge spike in searches for the iPhone SE in Southeast Asia from March to April.

What’s interesting is while the iPhone SE was rising, smartphones from brands like Huawei, Honor, and OPPO were declining in the searches.

Rounding out the top three is the OnePlus 8 series and followed by Xiaomi’s Mi 10. Does this reflect your own searches?

iPhone SE

The new iPhone SE is a “zag” from Apple. While most other brands started venturing into the premium flagship territory, Apple did the opposite by providing a phone that looks like it came from the past, but has internals that can rival today’s flagships.

If you’ve always been curious about iPhones and/or iOS, this might be the easiest path to take.

Read our iPhone SE review or watch our video.

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Mi MIX Alpha could launch for commercial sale soon

Any guesses on the price?

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Xiaomi’s Mi MIX Alpha is a concept phone that the brand has shown off quite a few times. It means the phone isn’t ready for commercial production yet but we could see a similar offering soon in the coming future. There are hints and reports that Xiaomi could launch the Mi MIX Alpha soon.

The brand has maintained that the phone can be mass-produced today if needed. Xiaomi Product PR, Agatha Tang, shared a short video of the phone on Twitter. The phone has a 180 percent screen-to-body ratio thanks to a wraparound Flexible OLED screen.

Furthermore, pictures teardown pictures of the phone have been posted on Xianyu second-hand platform in China. The pictures clearly sh0w the motherboard, screen, cameras, and other modules. While the battery is missing, the post suggests that the Mi MIX Alpha could indeed be close to commercial launch.

The leak says Xiaomi is opting for the latest Snapdragon 865 processor with “Draco” as its codename. If true, Xiaomi will have a very unique offering in a market that’s currently dominated by foldable phones.

Coming to the other internals of the phone, it’ll have a 7.9-inch Flexible OLED display. So far, the concept sports a Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB RAM, and 512GB internal storage. On the rear is a 108-megapixel primary lens, 20-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. On the front is a 20-megapixel selfie shooter. Backing these internals is a 4050mAh battery with 40W fast charging.

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