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Samsung is still the top smartphone vendor in the world

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The numbers are out! The International Data Corporation (IDC) published their preliminary results for the second quarter of 2017, and it seems like Chinese smartphone brands are inching closer to the top.

Still at the number one spot is Samsung with a 23.3 percent market share and 79.8 million shipments. Playing a major role in the success are the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. The victory of the South Korean company is not solely dependent on their flagships, as the mid-range Galaxy A and budget Galaxy J series are also doing well for other markets. With the Galaxy Note 8 announcement later this month, Samsung could look forward to greater numbers for the third quarter.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S8

Second in line is Apple with a 12 percent market share and 41 million shipments. While the Cupertino company has yet to unveil its new smartphone, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are doing well in the high-end market. Compared to last year, the new iPhones are doing better than the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but with just a marginal growth of 1.5 percent year-over-year.

Not far behind is Huawei with a 11.3 percent market share and shipment posting at 38.5 million. Huawei is currently the top Chinese smartphone brand worldwide with a growing grasp of the European market. With a year-over-year change of a positive 19.6 percent, Huawei is on its way to overthrow Apple’s place. Driving the sales of the company is its flagship P10 series, Mate 9 phablet, and the more affordable Honor series.

Huawei P10 review

Huawei P10

OPPO remains in the fourth position with a 8.1 percent market share and 27.8 million shipments. Just like with Huawei, OPPO has gained a positive 22.4 percent growth as it expands outside of China. OPPO is already doing well in Southeast Asia thanks to its marketing stand on camera performance — with a big focus on selfies.

Back in the top five is Xiaomi with a modest 6.2 percent market share and 21.2 million shipments. Compared to the same period last year, Xiaomi has the biggest growth among smartphone brands with a 58.9 percent year-over-year change. Even in China, the company made a big jump due to their bang-for-buck devices. It shouldn’t be a surprise; we all know that Xiaomi offers the best hardware for every price segment.

While these five brands enjoy growth, overall smartphone shipments declined by 1.3 percent compared to the same quarter of 2016 and also down by 0.8 percent from the first quarter of this year. Have people started to crawl away from smartphones? Well, that’s highly unlikely, unlike the descending trend of consumer tablets.

SEE ALSO: Chinese phone brands are (unsurprisingly) taking over Asia

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Xiaomi’s foldable phone spotted in the wild

Is this a prototype?

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Everyone’s getting into foldable smartphones these days. After Samsung’s semi-successful foray into the market, other smartphones are rushing to compete with the South Korean giant. One of the earliest experimenters with the form factor, Xiaomi is apparently making strides in the foldable market. In China, Xiaomi’s foldable phone was spotted out in the wild.

In a now-deleted Weibo post (saved by GSMArena), the leaked phone is a whopper of a device. It’s obviously that Xiaomi’s foldable phone since it runs MIUI 12. It looks a lot larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Z lineup. However, it’s large enough to wield in a subway, as the photo portrays.

Whatever this is, it doesn’t look like it’s doing well. The device has a sizable crease running along its midsection. Back in the Galaxy Fold’s early days, Samsung had the same problem before fixing it in later iterations. Since the technology already exists, it’s likely that the spotted Xiaomi device is an early version of whatever the company is actually working on.

Xiaomi has teased an upcoming foldable phone in the past. However, the company has not outed a consumer-friendly foldable phone outside of prototypes. The last time we heard about a potential Xiaomi foldable phone was an old patent revealed last year.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi patents an upcoming foldable phone

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Samsung will remove the free charger from more phones

Confirmed in an official Q&A

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The cat’s out of the bag. After months of persistent rumors, Samsung has finally ended its free charging adapters and wired earphones starting with the Galaxy S21 series. The controversial decision mimics Apple’s identical ones last October. One question remains, though: Will Samsung remove the free charger in other smartphones? Apparently, yes.

In an official Q&A with Samsung’s officials, the company explained why it chose to remove the free charger from the flagship series. As expected, Samsung is taking the same stance as Apple; that is, everyone already has a bunch of extra chargers lying around anyway. Further, the removal will help in Samsung’s sustainability goals for the future.

However, in explaining their stance, Samsung has revealed its plans for the future. “To support our Galaxy community in this journey, we are transitioning to removal of the charger plug and earphones in our latest line of Galaxy smartphones,” Patrick Chomet, executive vice president of product and innovation, explains.

Besides the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung is likely phasing out the free chargers in future models, too. Thankfully, if you haven’t acclimated to the charger-less future yet, the company is not changing last year’s smartphone packaging; not yet at least, according to online store pages.

If Samsung is truly removing its chargers for future models, we’ll know soon enough. Unlike Apple, who releases smartphones more sporadically, Samsung launches numerous models throughout the year. After starting the year off with a charger-less bang, 2021 is going to be an exciting roller coaster for flagship users.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on

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Trump administration blacklists Xiaomi, 10 other Chinese companies

Xiaomi headed the Huawei way?

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The US has added Xiaomi and 10 other Chinese companies to a blacklist amid national security concerns. The current blacklist is only focused on companies that have military ties and strategic importance in China.

The Defense Department released names of additional “Communist Chinese military companies” operating directly or indirectly in the United States.

Although adding Xiaomi to the list is surprising, the company has largely remained apolitical and focuses on making affordable smartphones. Considered to be China’s answer to Apple, Xiaomi plays a crucial role in progressing China’s telecommunication industry. It surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales in the third quarter, according to IDC.

Xiaomi is China’s second-largest smartphone maker and dominates multiple developing markets like India. Xiaomi’s stock plunged more than 10 percent following the announcement, although it’s considered to be a knee-jerk reaction at the moment.

The ban means that Xiaomi risks getting delisted from global benchmarks like MSCI and American stock exchanges. Just last week, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom were removed from MSCI indexes. This largely affects their ability to raise capital from the open market in the future due to global compliance complications.

In response, a Xiaomi spokesperson told GadgetMatch, “The Company has been in compliance with the law and operating in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations of jurisdictions where it conducts its businesses. The Company reiterates that it provides products and services for civilian and commercial use. The Company confirms that it is not owned, controlled, or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a “Communist Chinese Military Company” defined under the NDAA. The Company will take an appropriate course of actions to protect the interests of the Company and its shareholders.”

Other companies banned

Apart from Xiami, the additional companies blacklisted include Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, Luokong Technology Corporation, Beijing Zhongguancun Development Investment Center, GOWIN Semiconductor, Grand China Air Company, Global Tone Communication Technology, China National Aviation Holding, and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

Furthermore, the ban is a stepping stone for US authorities to curb Chinese companies’ growth in the international market. The US took a similar step with Huawei and gradually pushed it out of every possible industry. Today, Huawei can’t use Google Mobile Services, cannot ship phones to the US, and has lost significant ground in supplying 5G equipment to telcos worldwide.

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