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

MediaTek hosts world’s first demo of Wi-Fi 7

Here’s what to expect

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We’ve come a long way from dial-up. Now, the name of the game is Wi-Fi 6. Amid the rise of 5G connectivity, the home internet sector is adopting the current standard for their devices. But, of course, the advance of technology is not stopping. As Wi-Fi 6 tries to take over the entire market, the industry is already working on Wi-Fi 7. With development well underway, what can you expect from the upcoming standard?

Naturally, better speeds. Recently, MediaTek showcased the world’s first live demo of the new technology. In an impressive show, the standard will reportedly achieve speeds 2.4 times faster than what Wi-Fi 6 can do. The technology can maximize uses for the current spectrums available for Wi-Fi at up to 6GHz. The technology can also reduce latency and interference using MLO and MRU features.

According to MediaTek, Wi-Fi 7 will support the ever-growing need for faster internet speeds brought on by emerging uses for online users. These needs include AR/VR applications, cloud gaming, 4K video calling, and 8K streaming. With technology advancing the way it is, high-speed internet — even faster than what’s available today — is turning into a necessity to cope with multi-user households.

MediaTek predicts that products that can support Wi-Fi 7 will start coming out in 2023.

SEE ALSO: Mediatek, AMD collaborate on new Wi-Fi 6E Modules

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Enterprise

Facebook faces British privacy lawsuit worth billions

For allegedly selling its users’ data

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The hits just don’t stop coming. Since being called out for alleged manipulation during the 2016 elections (and arguably before that), Facebook has endured hit after hit from privacy pundits, security firms, and global courts. Now, after much deliberation, criticisms and lawsuits against the platform are finally coming to roost. In Britain, for example, Facebook stands to lose billions in a privacy lawsuit from Britain.

As reported by Reuters, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority senior adviser Liza Lovdahl Gormsen filed the huge lawsuit to represent British citizens who used the platform between 2015 and 2019 — which approximates 44 million people. The suit alleges that Facebook used unfair terms and conditions to force users to give up their rights to their own information. The entire lawsuit is worth GBP 2.3 billion (or approximately US$ 3.15 billion). Though Facebook is worth over US$ 100 billion now, such a lawsuit likely isn’t insignificant to the company.

But, of course, it doesn’t come without precedent. Last year, the company was scrutinized extensively because of whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations. According to the former Facebook employee, the platform knowingly creates ruptures in societies everywhere in the world. Besides its effect on mental health and geopolitics, Facebook was also criticized for selling personal data and treating its users as marketable products.

While Britain’s claim is already extensive, it is far from the only country looking to break the company up. The platform is also facing issues in its own home turf for the same charges. The year is just starting, and this likely won’t be Facebook’s last trip to the legal battlefield.

SEE ALSO: Facebook will force at-risk users to use two-factor authentication

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Samsung inexplicably delays Exynos 2200 launch

No new date set yet

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Before launching the next Galaxy S flagship series, Samsung often unveils the attached Exynos processor ahead of time. However, this year’s Exynos 2200 is still suspiciously absent. According to sources, Samsung was initially set to launch the new chips on January 11. Since it’s already February 12, the chip’s launch is obviously delayed for an inexplicable reason.

The delay did not come with any warning. The Exynos 2200’s launch date came and… nothing. No word from Samsung on a delay reason or even a new launch date. Even Ice Universe, one of the most knowledgeable sources for Samsung, is scratching their head, wondering why Samsung suddenly backed out of the date.

It isn’t Samsung’s first delay, though. Since the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world is going through a massive semiconductor shortage. Several devices have been delayed or are undergoing stock problems. Samsung had already pushed back dates in the past. However, this is a rare last-minute delay.

Of course, despite the delay, Samsung still has time to release the Exynos 2200 before the Galaxy S22’s launch. According to a recent source, Samsung is set to launch the next flagship series on February 8. The upcoming chipset will reportedly perform at par with the recently launched Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Amid inexplicable delays, Samsung still has several launches up its sleeve.

Postponements likely won’t mean much in the grander scheme of things, but it will be an interesting tale to hear why Samsung had to back all of a sudden.

SEE ALSO: Samsung unveils 2022 sustainability initiatives

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