Enterprise

US has blocked another major Chinese company

Due to “unacceptable risk”

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After a seemingly successful crusade against Huawei and an ongoing battle against TikTok, the Trump administration is starting separate fights against other companies. Recently, the government inquired about Tencent’s potential connections with the Chinese government. Skipping the line, the US has blocked another major Chinese company.

This time, the country’s target is China’s biggest chipmaking company, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC). Earlier this month, the government had already pondered on the potential ban. Today, the Commerce Department added SMIC to the current list of blacklisted Chinese companies.

According to a Reuters report, the SMIC’s hardware poses “unacceptable risk,” potentially succumbing to military use. As expected, potential customers must now apply for an operating license to do business with the SMIC. Likewise, the SMIC denies any ties with the Chinese military.

With the inclusion, the SMIC joins the likes of Huawei, ZTE, and TikTok in facing adversity on American soil. Since Trump’s crusade against Huawei and ZTE, the United States has shone critical eyes against several Chinese companies operating in the country.

At the point, all implicated Chinese companies have not enjoyed any long-lasting reprieve from American criticism. Now, after SMIC’s inclusion, the list keeps growing with no signs of stopping.

SEE ALSO: Globe will replace Huawei-supplied equipment

Enterprise

PayPal and Venmo will now accept cryptocurrencies

Good news for Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum

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PayPal has announced it’ll let users transact via cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and more. Now users can buy, hold, and pay using cryptocurrencies on the online wallet and payments platform.

Using its leverage across tens of millions of merchants, PayPal can help bitcoin and rival cryptocurrencies gain wider adoption as a viable payment method. PayPal has almost 350 million users worldwide along with 26 million merchants.

PayPal owned Venmo will also let users make peer-to-peer cryptocurrency transactions and a general rollout is scheduled for the first half of 2021. Following the announcement, the value of Bitcoin surged by 5 percent on the same day.

The company says it’ll initially support Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Behind the scenes, Paxos will handle the trading as well as custody. For users, the biggest benefit will be they can store their cryptocurrency with PayPal and won’t have to go through real time exchange before each payment.

All cryptocurrencies will be first converted to fiat currency (like US$) at the time of settlement. Access to the service will be available in the coming weeks. However, users won’t be able to pay until early 2021.

PayPal isn’t the first major company to adopt crypto payments. Mobile payments provider Square as well as trading service Robinhood Markets already support cryptocurrencies. But PayPal’s reach is considered to be massive, having a ripple effect on the whole industry.

In the second quarter, PayPal processed payments worth a whopping US$ 222 billion. Hence it’s adoption of cryptocurrency goes a long way in supporting the niche industry.

Bitcoin and many other virtual currencies have been around for a long time, but exposure to retail customers for general payments has been close to zero. These currencies are extremely volatile, making them perfect for traders and short-term investors. Although their inherent benefits are yet to reach the average Joe.

With one of the world’s largest fintech institution opening doors for virtual coins, the future looks optimistic for increased adoption.

Read Also: Basics of cryptocurrency: Risks and benefits

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Enterprise

Acer launches 3 new TravelMate laptops for enterprise use

Comes with military-grade design

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Alongside a host of upgrades to its existing lineup, Acer announced three new laptops in the TravelMate series. TravelMate laptops are not available for retail purchase and can only be purchased by businesses or enterprises via the commercial channel.

Hence, these laptops are designed to keep purely work in mind and are supposed to be power houses. This includes TravelMate Spin P4, a convertible touchscreen notebook; TravelMate P4, a powerful machine with a traditional build; and TravelMate P2, a durable notebook with tonnes of ports.

The laptops are powered by 11th Gen Intel processor and Iris X graphics or NVIDIA GeForce MX350 dedicated GPU. They can sport up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and longer battery life. Acer claims the Spin P4 and P4 can last up to 15 hours on a single charge while the P2 clocks in 13. The former duo takes just an hour to charge the battery by 80 percent.

Being the fancier laptop, the Spin P4 gets Gorilla Glass protection and 360 hinge convertible design. The Spin P4 also gets MIL-STD-810G certification, which means it can endure rugged usage. The keyboard is spill proof and the corners are shock absorbent.

The Spin P4 and P4 are light weight and weigh around 1.5kg. The P2 is slightly heavy at 1.6kg. All three laptops support WiFi 6 and 4G LTE compatibility via an eSIM. On the port section, a Thunderbolt 4 port is included along with the standard selection of USB-C, USB 3.0, and more.

Lastly, the laptops are secured by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 with an anti-tampering chip. Additionally, it has support for Windows Hello, built-in webcam covers, and a fingerprint reader for authentication.

Pricing and Availability

The TravelMate P2 (TMP214-53) will be available in North America in March 2021 starting at US$ 799.99; in EMEA in November starting at 759 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 4,999.

The TravelMate P4 (TMP414-51) will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 899.99; in EMEA in November starting at 899 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 5,999.

The TravelMate Spin P4 (TMP414RN-51) will be available in North America in December starting at USD 999.99; in EMEA in November starting at 999 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 6,999.

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Enterprise

Indian telco Jio and Qualcomm successfully test 5G

Sidelining the Chinese

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In a major breakthrough for the Indian telecom industry, equipment maker Qualcomm and Indian telco Jio have announced a partnership to deploy 5G solution in the country. The two announced their network will be based on indigenous technology, indirectly shunning Chinese contenders like Huawei.

Backed by India’s top conglomerate Reliance, Jio has gained a massive share in one of the world’s most crucail telecom markets. The telco aims to deploy high-speed 5G that can offer speeds up to 1 Gbps.

Jio acquired Radisys in 2018 and the company is expected to play a critical role in developing the company’s 5G solutions. When combined with Qualcomm’s gear, the partnership can scale 5G networks throughout the country without depending on foreign tech stacks. Adding to this, Jio has also said it’s considering options of selling its in-house technology to other carries for a seamless transition.

“This achievement not only supports Jio’s 5G credentials, but also signifies the entry of Jio and India into the Gigabit 5G NR product portfolio,” the two companies said in a statement.

The company is leveraging NR or New Radio technology that is similar to 4G’s LTE. It’s a globally accepted standard and many phone makers have already announced support.

At present, only a few countries are capable of offering 1 Gbps speeds and this includes the US, South Korea, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. 5G is expected to launch in India soon, although these claims are countered by critics for being too optimistic.

India’s mobile telecom industry has only three players left and Jio is considered the mightiest. It raised tens of billions from marquee investors like Facebook, Google, and Qualcomm. However, established players like Vodafone-Idea were on the verge of bankruptcy and Airtel has managed to find solid ground only recently.

Read Also: This Indian telco has raised more than $20 billion during the pandemic

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