Enterprise

Huawei and Google release official statements regarding trade blacklist

Existing users shouldn’t worry

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The tech world erupted earlier today when a Reuters report claimed that Google is blacklisting Huawei devices after an executive order by US President Donald Trump imposed a trade ban between Huawei and the US.

To be specific, Huawei may not buy equipment from US companies without the approval of the North American government. At the same time, US companies also aren’t allowed to deal with Huawei for parts and services.

It was the deadly blow dealt after a years of accusations between the two camps. Previously, fellow Chinese brand ZTE experienced similar banning on North American soil because of concerns over security and data breaches.

With this order in action, Google must pull out its apps and services from future Huawei devices. These include YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Play store itself. To add insult to injury, other US-based tech companies have followed suit in the trade ban, namely Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm.

Fortunately — and this is the most positive spin to this developing story — Google released a statement explaining that existing Huawei products will continue to function and won’t be affected by this blacklisting.

The keyword here is existing, meaning Google isn’t promising support for future Huawei products. This hopefully doesn’t mean that other Chinese brands like Xiaomi and OnePlus will go through the same fate as Huawei’s.

Huawei had its own statement to share, and it’s just as reassuring to existing users:

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

The sentence in bold may be the biggest takeaway here. Not only is Huawei committed to providing promised firmware updates and support for current Huawei device holders, sub-brand Honor is part of the company’s reassurance, as well.

This also confirms that current Huawei and Honor users don’t have to sell or trade away their gadgets. Even a newly bought unit from the companies’ present lineups will work just fine with Google’s services and apps.

In effect, only future products will be affected, which brings into question how Honor will treat the Honor 20 launch in London tomorrow, as well as what the landscape will look like by the time Huawei’s flagship Mate 30 rolls in.

Additional questions at the moment are: How will upcoming Huawei smartphones look and function without an Android operating system? Will Huawei release its own OS in time for the next batch of handsets? Will American companies soon block trades with other Chinese manufacturers, too? For now, we’ll have to wait and see.

Enterprise

China: US is a hypocrite for attacking Huawei

Says US hacked Germany before

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We’re midway through the second month of 2020. By now, you’d expect yesteryear’s issues to finally resolve themselves. Unfortunately, we’re still stuck in the same issues. Particularly, Huawei and the US are still at each other’s throats.

Today, both parties fired shots at each other on Twitter of all places. In this exchange, the US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell tweeted that “any nation who chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor will jeopardize [America’s] ability to share Intelligence and information at the highest level.”

For the past few years, the US government has persistently smeared Huawei’s reputation in international territories, urging other countries to stop considering the company as a 5G partner. The strategy has met only moderate success across the globe. Some countries have already allowed Huawei to build infrastructure on their land.

Naturally, Huawei isn’t taking it lightly. In response to Grenell, Hua Chunying, China’s spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted a scathing rebuke against Grenell’s accusations.

“Who he is [sic] threatening? Who’s the real threat? Remember, Snowden said US spied on Chancellor Merkel’s phone,” the tweet went.

The ambassador is referring to Edward Snowden, an infamous American whistleblower who revealed an entire library’s worth of state secrets. Regardless of its truth, Hua Chunying’s tweet is scalding, especially in the tense situation between both countries.

SEE ALSO: China is giving away cash incentives for new Huawei users

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Enterprise

ViSenze, iPrice’s partner for easier online shopping in Southeast Asia

Search is now powered by visual recognition technology

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Online shopping is a booming trend made possible by various e-commerce sites. Most online shoppers use search keywords to find what they’re looking for. However, using search keywords can sometimes turn up the wrong results, and can be time-consuming for some.

Thankfully, iPrice and ViSenze’s new partnership aims to make shopping an easier experience for shoppers in Southeast Asia. iPrice will soon leverage ViSenze’s visual recognition technology — making the search as simple as pointing a camera to the desired item.

Leveraging visual recognition

Visual recognition technology is not new. Google already had this feature  back 2017 in the form of Google Lens. ViSenze — a commerce solution platform — uses the same technology for visual recognition. It already powers some big names in e-commerce — making search easier for users.

With iPrice leveraging ViSenze’s technology, users can use their camera instead to search for items. For example, pointing the camera at a dress brings up a list of relevant results from iPrice. This lets users shop for things that they cannot properly describe. It also simplifies the whole search experience, so users don’t have to type anymore.

iPrice will also bring up useful coupons and vouchers whenever these users search for an item. To start leveraging this feature, users need to do these three easy steps:

  1. Activate their camera app and use the AI-powered shopping lens to point at the desired product, or simply upload a photo of it from the phone’s gallery
  2. Browse through the suggested list of relevant products that appear (based on visually similar attributes)
  3. Tap on one of the search results to be redirected to the merchant page to purchase the product

The shopping lens, however, will work only on Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Vivo through their respective assistant apps. So, users must have Bixby (Samsung), HiVision (Huawei), Q-Lens (LG) and Jovi (Vivo) installed.

With online shopping booming in Southeast Asia, iPrice ensures that visual recognition will bring greater convenience to shoppers. Being able to use the smartphone’s camera to search for things online is godsent especially when it’s too bothersome to bring up the keyboard and type.

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Essential shuts down, ending the Essential Phone

Rest in peace

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Years ago, the Essential Phone earned its bit of the limelight. Going up against a downpour of identical phones, Andy Rubin’s smartphone promised a refreshing change for a disenchanted market. On launch, it delivered on its grand promise, outing a powerful, edge-to-edge display for a workable price.

Unfortunately, Essential, the company, never developed a promising follow-up for the Essential Phone. In fact, Essential’s history has been tumultuous since the Essential Phone’s launch. Since then, Essential has downsized the company, repeatedly reduced the original phone’s price, and failed to deliver on promised devices. Most recently, the company stopped further production of the Essential Phone.

Now, the inevitable has finally happened. In an official blog post, Essential is closing shop, ending operations as a company.

In its final exit, Essential is leaving behind an unfinished Project GEM. After shutting the Essential Phone 2 down, the company hinted at an extra-long smartphone, a new mobile experience unlike any other. Because of today’s announcement, Project GEM will never see the light of day. “Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers,” Essential said.

Further, Essential has also released its final update for the Essential Phone, rolled out on February 3. Though still functional indefinitely, Essential Phone users will not receive any support from the company anymore. When it was still operation, the company outed consistent updates for its fans, including one of the earliest accesses to Android Pie. If anything, Essential will provide development resources to the public, ensuring crowd-sourced support, at the very least.

Regardless, Essential is officially dead. For real this time.

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