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Uber suspended in the Philippines for a month [Updated]

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board or LTFRB has suspended the operation of ride-sharing service Uber for one month in the Philippines. The suspension is due to the company’s failure to comply to an earlier mandate by the transportation regulating body.

A CNN Philippines report cites LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada saying that Uber violated its July 26, 2017 order to stop accepting applications for accreditation. The spokesperson said Uber activated at least three vehicles the very next day.

In an August 1 statement, Uber clarified that they indeed accepted applications saying they are “optimistic that with the ongoing discussions with the LTFRB, ride-sharing has a path forward.” The company insists these applications were not processed.

The suspension order was issued 6PM of August 14, 2017. The LTFRB also “strongly recommends” that Uber provide its drivers financial assistance during the suspension period.

Uber Philippines has issued a statement on the morning of Tuesday, August 15, 2017 saying they will comply with the suspension order and that they are doing everything they can “to resolve the situation in the soonest possible time.”

LTFRB versus Uber and Grab

There is an ongoing discussion between the LTFRB and ride-sharing services Uber and Grab over how the two companies should be regulated in the Philippines. Grab is another service that operates in the Philippines and in nearby countries.

In July 2016, the LTFRB issued a memo to Uber and Grab to stop accepting and processing applications. The two companies defied the order citing public demand as the primary reason and has since paid PhP 5 million as fine for the violation.

Uber facing issues around the world

Uber is no stranger to facing difficulties against the government. The company has appeared in headlines all over the world for continuing to operate without securing proper permits from the respective countries they operate in. Uber previously faced suspensions and fines in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand among others over a similar issue.

The ride-sharing service has also faced opposition from local taxi drives worldwide. Cab drivers and operators in countries like Spain, Portugal, and many others said Uber is unfair competition.

Update (12:30PM, GMT+8 Manila Time)

It looks like Uber Philippines isn’t going to let their operations stall after all.

According to the company’s official Twitter account, a motion for reconsideration has been filed for the one-month suspension to be lifted. In the meantime, Uber will continue its services despite the LTFRB’s original orders.

In a report by ABS-CBN News LTFRB’s Lizada said the suspension “stands” despite Uber’s motion for reconsideration. The same report stated that Lizada sent a text message to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA saying, “Uber is online again. Let us apprehend them.”

Update (7:20PM, GMT+8 Manila Time)

The LTFRB has denied Uber Philippines’ motion for reconsideration to lift the month-long suspension. In a statement posted on its Twitter account, Uber said it will continue to work on resolving the matter urgently.

SEE ALSO: Grab will give you a free horse ride in Baguio

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Samsung owes Apple US$ 539M for patent infringement

For infringing iPhone patents

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Six years after Samsung was first found liable for infringing on five iPhone patents in its own smartphone designs, they are now ordered by a California jury to pay US$ 539 million in damages to Apple.

The ordered payment is split into two: US$ 533.3 million for infringing on three Apple design patents and US$ 5.3 million for infringing on two utility patents. CNET reports that the infringements in question occurred on Samsung phones sold in 2010 and 2011.

The jury’s ruling is a middle ground for both tech giants, but they are far from what both want. Apple originally sought for more than US$ 1 billion for the damages and Samsung is willing to pay just US$ 28 million.

“This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone, and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.” — Apple

It’s still unclear if Samsung will make an appeal about the ruling, but the recent deliberation is already a long-due result since the South Korean company was sued for patent infringement in 2011 and found liable the following year.

Reuters reported that Samsung has already paid US$ 399 million of the total, so if the jury’s decision gets upheld on appeal, they will have to pay for the balance.

SEE ALSO: Samsung attacks Apple once again in latest video ad

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Vivo Y85 lands in the Philippines, battles the OPPO F7 Youth

It’s basically a cheaper V9

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Vivo’s budget midrange phone finally made its way to the Philippines. If the Vivo V9 is not within your budget but you still want the same set of features, then the Vivo Y85 is your best bet.

The Vivo Y85 is practically a baby sibling of the V9. They share the same design but with minor differences in specifications. The Y85 is powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 processor (MTK 6762) instead of Snapdragon 636, has an 8-megapixel front camera instead of 24-megapixels, and lower 32GB of storage.

It still has dual rear cameras, although the main sensor is downgraded to 13-megapixel and the secondary is now just 2-megapixel.

The rest remains the same with all the AI features, Face Beauty, bokeh effect for portrait photography, and Funtouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

The Y85 is now available in Vivo authorized stores in the Philippines for PhP 13,999 in Ruby Red and black. It’s priced the same as the OPPO F7 Youth which is also a toned-down version of OPPO’s main offering, the F7.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V9 Hands-on: A handsome-looking midrange phone

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Essential cancels Essential Phone 2, puts company up for sale

Another casualty for Android supremacy

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During its announcement last year, the Essential Phone quickly positioned itself as the mythical iPhone killer. Sadly, the hyped-up smartphone spent its considerable amount of resources just for a drop of blood. Now, all its past efforts are causing the company to go under.

Despite all the hype surrounding it, the Essential Phone debuted to tepid applause. While the phone did have its fair share of loyal fans, several complaints criticized its software issues and lackluster cameras. Additionally, it performed terribly in sales, losing handily to its rivals.

Regardless, Essential promised a successor. Unfortunately, they spoke too soon. The company has reportedly canceled all development on the Essential Phone 2.

According to reports, Essential is now focusing its efforts on an undisclosed home tech product. In a recent tweet, Essential founder Andy Rubin subtly confirmed that the company has dropped the sequel and started development on other products in its stead.

To add to the confusion, Essential has also enlisted the help of the Credit Suisse Group. Supposedly, the hiring aims to find potential buyers for the company. Essential’s offers reportedly include selling the whole company, its entire library of patents (which houses the Essential Phone), and the company’s engineering team.

Currently, Essential has not finalized any deals yet. However, the mere existence of talks indicates that the company is already flirting with the idea of throwing in the towel.

At the very least, Essential’s statements confirm that we are not getting an Essential Phone 2 from the company. However, if talks go as planned, Essential might still find its way back into the phone business in the future, particularly under a new manufacturer.

As of now, the Essential Phone 2 remains a dream for its steadfast fan base. Pretty soon, the company might fall as another defeated combatant in the fight against Apple’s supremacy.

SEE ALSO: Essential Phone gets official Android 8.1 Oreo update

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