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Hundreds of iPhones, thousands of SIM cards used in Thailand click farm

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Click farms, by definition, are underground groups composed of low-paid workers who boost a website or app’s engagement and ad revenue by giving overly positive ratings and lots of, well, clicks. This is how some platforms garner the excessive number of followers and ad money they have. This practice isn’t a well-kept secret, but it’s always interesting to see how some get caught.

The latest of which happened in Thailand yesterday. Two rented houses in Ban Mai Nong Sai, Aranyaprathet District were raided by local Police, who found a total of 474 iPhones (a mix of iPhone 5s, 5c, and 4s models), 347,200 SIM cards from Thai mobile carriers, and more electronics.

The raid came with three Chinese suspects who were arrested on the spot. They later pinpointed the source of their wares, which was operated by two other Chinese men in the Muang Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province. There, police found an additional 100,000 SIM cards and more gadgets in a house. Witnesses living in the area claimed the two suspects fled the night before the inspection.

This video shows the actual site of the click farm:

Meanwhile, the three Chinese nationals claim a company in China has been supplying them with the cash and supplies for the operation. They were being paid THB 150,000 ($4,420) per month to keep the click farm alive. The name of this company is still unknown.

So, what exactly were they illegally doing? According to the same report, the trio increased engagement for China-sold products by creating artificial page views, reactions, and shares through WeChat, which is also based in China.

Why pursue this business in Thailand? Because it’s a lot cheaper to operate there than in China.

Again, this isn’t anything new. This bust may very well be just the tip of the iceberg for many more click farm raids to come, and they might be happening in a house near yours.

SEE ALSO: Unhappy customer walks into Apple Store, destroys Apple products

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Source: Bangkok Post

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Here’s why the Samsung Galaxy Flex will cost so much

Hint: it has something to do with the screen

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Based on the current rumors, next year’s foldable phones will take the mantle as history’s most expensive smartphones. Currently, Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Flex is already slated to come with price tags above the US$ 2,000 mark. Even without rumors, the revolutionary form factor will easily break banks because of the new screen alone.

Of course, as with all major purchases, we want to know why we’re paying so much. Finally, we have an insider’s look into what’s ticking inside these foldable screens. Via LetsGoDigitalKorean firm CGS-CIMB Research has broken down the list of materials needed to make the Galaxy Flex. For reference, the report also compares the Galaxy Flex’s breakdown with the iPhone XS Max’s and the Galaxy S9+’s.

According to the report, the Galaxy Flex almost completely uses more expensive components than today’s smartphones.

Naturally, the phone’s foldable display takes the cake. The foldable display costs US$ 218.80 per screen. The amount is almost double the price of the iPhone XS Max’s display. It’s also almost thrice the price of the Galaxy S9+’s display.

Image source: CGS-CIMB Research

As for the rest, the Galaxy Flex’s components are a few more dollars more expensive than its comparisons. The comparison only falters in power management. The iPhone XS Max spent almost two dollars more on power management than the Galaxy Flex.

All in all, the Galaxy Flex costs US$ 636.70. This is a huge leap from contemporary flagships. (The iPhone XS Max costs US$ 390.00; the Galaxy S9+ costs US$ 375.80.)

Because of this massive price increase, Samsung can charge more than today’s flat phones. The report estimates a US$ 1,800 SRP. Arguably, a huge chunk of this price will come from the extensive research done to manufacture the product. Regardless, the bank-breaking price tag is still worlds apart from today’s most expensive smartphones.

According to the report, this awful trend will likely continue. In 2022, the industry is expected to ship 24 million foldable phones, compared to next year’s paltry 3.5 million units. Despite the rush in supply, the price will still stay the same, averaging around US$ 1,300 per unit.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A8s debuts with Infinity-O display

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OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition: Price and availability in the Philippines

The most expensive OnePlus phone, yet

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Shortly after its international debut, the most expensive OnePlus phone is (surprisingly) already on its way to the Philippines.

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition is now available for pre-order online through Argomall. It’s priced at PhP 39,990, which is slightly higher than its US$ 699 retail price in the US.

Compared to the regular OnePlus 6T, the McLaren Edition comes with 10GB of memory, 256GB of storage, and the latest Warp Charge technology that can fill up half of the phone’s battery in just 20 minutes.

Also, the special edition phone features a carbon fiber pattern, orange accents, and the McLaren logo on the back.

There’s no exact shipping date for the phone, but it’s already listed on Argomall’s website.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition introduces Warp Charge, 10GB RAM

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Philippine telcos are now required to unlock phones after lock-in period

Finally, a pro-consumer measure

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The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telcos for the mandatory unlocking of phones and devices after the subscriber’s lock-in period.

The policy is based on the Memorandum Order 004, Series of 2018 issued by DICT on December 14.

According to the memo, subscribers who have completed their contract and have no outstanding obligations can demand telcos to unlock their phones or devices. The process must also be done conveniently and should be shouldered by the service providers.

The NTC is now tasked to draft the Memorandum Circular for the memo’s appropriate rules and regulations and conduct consultations and hearings with affected parties.

There’s no exact date of implementation, but with order already announced to the public, Filipinos will soon have freedom for their network-locked phones given that they have already fulfilled their contract.

Source: DICT

SEE ALSO: Mislatel confirmed as Philippines’ new telco

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