Enterprise

Trade war: How the US played its trump card wrong

The dragon is no longer sleeping

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The US and China are embroiled in a trade war and the last few months have witnessed unprecedented escalation from both sides. Tensions between the two countries are ongoing and virtually two power blocs have been created. The conflict has also changed everyone’s outlook on technology forever.

US President Donald Trump banned American companies from working with Huawei, one of China’s largest technology companies. This meant Huawei could no longer use American technology, including Android. Thankfully, an interim resolution lets Huawei transact with American counterparts right now.

However, this was a blaring reminder for China. It depends too much on the US for technology and this needs to end. For two power blocs, interdependence isn’t an option. And the US played its trump card at the wrong time, in a wrong way.

Trade war affecting free flow of tech

Technology has been freely flowing since the inception of the Internet. Everyone has been connected to a neutral medium of communication except for a few countries. The flow of information has been so fast, yet transparent. Adding to this, open-source has been a boon for everyone since technology is never restricted and everyone gets a chance to experience it.

Even if a service or product is proprietary, companies have been quick to monetize it via licensing. There are apps that are built in one country and used by citizens of another country that’s thousands of miles away. In a nutshell, we’ve always imagined modern or digital technology to be easily transferable.

But, the US proved it can stop this flow of sanctions or bans, only to reverse the decision. We can call this saber-rattling. They wanted to serve a warning and the message has been received. However, China also realized one thing, it needs to become truly independent.

China’s alternatives

The Chinese internet is different from the rest of the world’s internet. It’s guarded by a nation-wide firewall and heavily censored by the state. A few services like Google and Facebook aren’t available. This has already made way for homegrown alternatives like Baidu, Weibo, and WeChat.

Now, Huawei is gearing up for the worst. It accelerated work on its own operating system, HarmonyOS. It’s expected to roll-out slowly in the coming quarters. In a bid to challenge Google Maps, they’re also planning to unveil a mapping service known as Map Kit.

Every Chinese company would be scrambling to create a backup plan, preparing for the worst. In the short term, they’ll suffer due to sudden shortcomings. But in the longer run, the US loses its leverage.

The ban is bad for progress

The US government’s ban on Huawei is ill-timed. The company is a leader in 5G deployment due to its patents and manufacturing ability. The world needs Huawei to effectively deploy the next standard of wireless communication. If the US wants its allies to avoid Huawei, alternatives need to be available, and that’s not the case.

Even US companies aren’t very fond of getting dragged in the trade war. Trump agreed that tariffs on China will hamper Apple’s ability to compete with Samsung. Not to forget all the revenue US companies lose after sanctions are applied or the Chinese develop their own alternative.

Other countries also have only two options — get in line with the US or develop its own cushion. A territorial divide has also prompted countries like India to lobby for data localization. In case relations turn sour tomorrow, how much control do you want to give others?

These questions and hypothetical scenarios are often considered to be an exaggeration. And I don’t blame them. But the US could’ve used this trump card later, actually benefiting from it.

Enterprise

Samsung is selling the Galaxy Z Flip’s screen to competitors

Despite all the negative criticism

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Do you believe in the power of foldable smartphones? Today’s biggest foldable phone makers want you to buy into the new technology — whether it’s the pioneering Galaxy Fold or the refreshed Motorola razr. However, as you might have seen recently, foldable technology is still miles away from perfection. Touted as the next revolution of smartphones, the flexible display still suffers issues in durability.

Despite all that, Samsung is cashing in all its chips on the imperfect technology. Announced today, the South Korean tech giant is selling its new technology — dubbed as Ultra-Thin Glass (or UTG) — to competitors. The patented technology is up for grabs to anyone willing to pay Samsung for it.

The company is selling the display under the tagline “Tough, yet Tender.” The branding alludes to the 30μm panel that supposedly goes beyond the capabilities of last year’s model — at least, according to Samsung.

Currently, the UTG is still exclusive to the Galaxy Z Flip — which is getting some flak of its own. It will likely make its way to other Samsung devices in the future as well.

Unfortunately, Samsung has not confirmed any willing customers at the moment. However, the company is also enjoying a modicum of market leadership, owing to its early adoption (and development) of the technology. With the sale announcement, they can capitalize on other companies’ desires to build their own foldable phone.

Regardless, foldable technology is still an imperfect art. Though the Galaxy Z Flip allegedly sold out already, the device’s reception is up in the air. Who knows where foldable technology will fare in the future?

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s customer service offerings you might not know about

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Enterprise

Samsung’s customer service offerings you might not know about

Remote support, 24/7 live chat and more

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One thing you must always consider when buying an electronic device is the scope of warranty and support reliability. Most manufacturers fail in either one, but poor support reliability is a more common issue. Having reliable manufacturer support for your device is critical especially that devices inevitably break down in time.

Samsung recognizes the merits of having reliable support for its devices. As such, it launched three support mechanism where its consumers can choose from when their devices need troubleshooting.

Remote Service

Samsung consumers who bought handheld devices, TVs, and digital appliances can avail of remote support services for help and troubleshooting. By accessing the support app on their devices, consumers can place a secure call to the customer service team. A dedicated team of engineers can then remotely view and control specific device settings, and provide product assistance.

Live Chat

Consumers can also access the live chat feature available on Samsung’s website. This feature is also available through the Samsung Members’ app, which can be downloaded on the Google Play Store. Having a live chat enables consumers to ask the customer service anytime, anywhere. This is handy especially when a Samsung appliance breaks down, and there are no nearby technicians or service centers available.

After-sales services

Apart from offering convenient remote service and a 24/7 live chat, Samsung also offers a variety of after-sales services for the consumer’s peace of mind. These various services make cumbersome troubleshooting a thing of the past and give consumers a sense of security when buying a Samsung device or appliance.

  • Nationwide service network — Samsung has over 150 authorized service branches where they can bring small appliances (40 inches and below) for troubleshooting with dedicated technicians.
  • In-home service — Consumers with bigger appliances can schedule a home visit from dedicated technicians.
  • Support hotline — Those opting to call Samsung’s hotline may do so by dialing #GALAXY or #425299 for mobile devices. For appliances, they can call the toll-free hotline 1-800-10-7267864 (PLDT) or 1-800-8-7267864 (Globe).
  • Online manuals — Samsung also has online tutorials and FAQs for its devices. They are readily available on Samsung’s website or through the Samsung Members’ app.

With a variety of support services available to consumers, Samsung is ensuring its consumers that the company is ready to help them especially when an inevitable breakdown occurs.

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Enterprise

Apple: Coronavirus might cause iPhone shortage

Won’t meet expected revenue by March

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If, during a tense situation, someone say that they are doing okay, there is a slight chance that things are going the opposite way. Today’s coronavirus epidemic, for example, has affected the tech industry more than it has proclaimed. For the most part, China-dependent companies — like Apple — have waved off any adverse effect caused by the rampant virus, despite taking precautions.

Unfortunately for them, deception can only last so long. Recently, Apple has released its quarterly guidance report for investors. Compared to the general populace, investors require utmost transparency. As such, Apple revealed the potential setbacks heading into the second month of the coronavirus situation in China.

Mainly, Apple doesn’t “expect to meet the revenue guidance” expected by March. Both supply and demand are falling especially in China.

On the supply side, Apple’s Chinese manufacturers are reeling from the forced closures enacted both by the Chinese New Year holiday and the coronavirus safety protocols. For now, the factories are remaining open (or have since re-opened). Regardless, Apple is working together with the factories to ensure worker safety. Because of the shifted focus, iPhone supplies will temporarily decrease and will likewise “temporarily affect revenues worldwide.”

On the demand side, Apple is mulling over the closures of their retail stores in affected Chinese regions. Naturally, without a retail store, maintaining adequate supply is useless. To Apple’s fortune, these closures are affecting only Chinese customers. Regardless, China is an important market for the iPhone maker.

As consumers outside China, we won’t likely feel Apple’s pains on the demand side. However, a shift in supply — even a tiny one — will ripple across the globe either through launch delays or delivery shortages. If you’re an Apple fan, you might want to hang on to your old iPhone a bit longer.

SEE ALSO: Apple starts the year with a bang in their latest revenue report

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