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

Xiaomi blacklists “Samsung” and other terms from its phones

But there’s a reason why

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Throughout the past few years, Chinese smartphones have received a lot of flak for its ties to geopolitical issues. Both Huawei and ZTE have already suffered through bans from the American government. Naturally, Xiaomi is in a similar boat. Unfortunately, because of a new research report, things might get worse before they get better.

According to a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre in Lithuania, Xiaomi’s smartphones automatically download a list of terms that they blacklist. The list includes sketchy terms like “China,” “Taiwan Solidarity Union,” and other geopolitical terms. Obviously, including China-related terms can cause a bit of alarm for users elsewhere. However, the blacklist might have uses outside of the obvious.

Spotted by XDA Developers, Xiaomi uses the list for advertising purposes. Besides the China-related terms, the list also includes its brand rivals like “Samsung” and “ZTE.” It also includes pornography and piracy terms. Most ironically, the list also blocks its own smartphone models. The publication spotted that the blacklist is used solely by the smartphone’s advertising platform. Which does make sense now.

The list is designed to block out ads from competing companies and its own (which makes sense since someone who owns a Xiaomi phone probably doesn’t need to see a Xiaomi ad anymore). Blocking pornographic and piracy-supporting ads also makes sense. The China-related terms remain problematic, but there is no indication that Xiaomi uses the list for anything other than advertising.

Further, Xiaomi should activate the filter manually. The automatic download doesn’t automatically mean that the phone is censored. That said, there is still a possibility that Xiaomi can use the filter for more geopolitical reasons. At the very least, current reports don’t point toward that for now.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11T series focuses on mobile filmmaking

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Enterprise

Apple might be forced to ditch Lightning cables for USB-C

New EU ruling wants a universal standard

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Apple’s Lightning cable remains one of the most divisive aspects in the debate between Android versus Apple. A respectable number of Android users refuse to switch simply because Apple keeps its ecosystem locked under its own hardware like the cable. And, of course, who doesn’t empathize with users looking to borrow a charger from a friend only to find out that they use Lightning or USB-C cables? Fret not; a new ruling might force Apple to ditch their Lightning cables.

The European Commission has issued a new ruling proposal to fight against “consumer frustration and e-waste.” The biggest suggestion proposes that all devices should abide by a universal standard: USB-C. Obviously, the brand most affected by such a proposal is Apple. For years, the brand has stood behind exclusive ports, while others have already adopted the more universal USB-C standard.

It’s not a complete loss for the iPhone maker, though. Another proposal wants to unbundle the free chargers in every new smartphone box. Last year, Apple already made the controversial decision to stop including free chargers in new iPhone boxes. Other brands have slowly followed suit. If passed, other brands will have to follow in Apple’s footsteps as well.

Besides those two, the proposal also wants to prevent charging limitations. Tech makers must not limit their charging speeds, regardless of device or charger. Additionally, brands must be more transparent about their charger’s specs in order to properly inform consumers about buying decisions.

As of now, the proposal hasn’t been approved for the entire region yet. Once it has, the region will implement a 24-month transitionary period for brands. Even then, there’s still a chance that the ruling might not make it to other regions. Either way, it’s a good start towards a more universal standard outside of the Lightning cable.

SEE ALSO: Google Pixel 6 series will not have a free charger

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Huawei garners more partnerships for HarmonyOS 2

Huawei is paying attention to its consumers

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Nova 8

Huawei continues to struggle with its loss of Google services for mobile devices. On the brighter side of things, the company is striving for development in other departments as well.

Huawei gives the Philippines another affirmation for its commitment to developing an AI ecosystem. The announcement came at the Huawei Development Day 2021. Strategic planning made 96 percent of the local apps available in the App Gallery.

A key move in this development is their partnerships with banking and e-Commerce apps. GCash, KonsultaMD, and WishFM to name a few, are a part of the key roster for their partnerships.

Some of you may know about the strong partnership of Huawei and DICT ( Department of information and Communications). With this partnership dating back to 2018, they came up with the Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC). This is a national startup competition that targets ICT solutions for real-life problems.

Lastly, the company also presented its funding programs regarding app development. They have recently invested US$ 1 Million to their recognized regions for app development. Namely, APAC, Europe, LA, Middle East, and China.

HarmonyOS 2 and Petal Nearby

At the latter part of 2021, HUAWEI will release a new version of HarmonyOS. Because of this, the “One as All, All as One” tagline is born. Easier connections between devices are expected of this update, as HarmonyOS is the operating system of their devices.

At the HDD event, the company claimed to have four breakthroughs:

  1. DecouopledOS and hardware
  2. Sharing capabilities between devices
  3. Smooth and low latency operation
  4. DevEco Studio

To know more about the four, you can watch the Huawei Developer Day 2021 and skip to the 44:39 timestamp for your convenience.

Petal Search is the search app for Huawei, this allows users to search for places and even restaurants as an example. With their latest introduction to its new channel, Petal Nearby. This is present in numerous devices in 170 countries with 50 languages available and 20 different categories.

Petal Nearby is the result of Huawei studying its consumers behaviors and their search trends. It’s a more location optimized service letting users find local businesses and restaurants based on their preferences. The results vary depending on your location. The user can change the city in case for  advanced planning purposes.

Huawei is finding new ways to develop their services for its consumers. The company is doing whatever it can to survive in this competitive industry.

 

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