News

ZTE is in panic mode after US imposes trade ban

MediaTek pledges help but is it enough?

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We’re in the endgame now. After suffering through the turmoil of the past few months, ZTE is now feeling the full force of government intervention.

Since last year, the Chinese-born company has found itself embroiled in a controversy involving US politics. The United States government accused the company of selling its merchandise to Iran, a no-no country for US imports.

Since the accusation, ZTE has pleaded guilty, initially agreeing to fire the erring employees. However, the company has failed to do so. Now, they face a US ban that threatens to eradicate their business for at least seven years, if not forever.

Following up on its warnings, the US has banned ZTE from doing business within the territory, from selling phones to buying parts for them. The company is now in the fallout, enlisting a crisis team to handle the massive issue.

The ban has ensured that ZTE can’t rely on Qualcomm, Dolby, and Google products anymore. They have yet to find adequate replacements. However, the Taiwan-based MediaTek has already secured a permit to supply the company with fresh parts to replace Qualcomm.

For a finnicky industry when it comes to specs, getting new parts isn’t as easy as a 1-2-switch. For example, ZTE’s premium handsets rely on Qualcomm’s more powerful chops. Further, a switch from Qualcomm to MediaTek heavily affects public perception.

Currently, ZTE is in negotiations with the US government to reverse the ban. They have also requested US telcos to retain stock space for them, should the ban be reversed.

However, the future remains bleak for the tech company. Without US sales or parts, the company has halted to a standstill. While they can still sell to other countries, the withdrawal of US parts has taken their toll on ZTE’s sales.

According to some reports, employees are left without things to do, despite still reporting to work. ZTE officials, however, are requesting their employees to maintain a state of calm amid affairs.

ZTE maintains that they have enough cash to remain in business in the meantime. However, if they don’t find resolution to this issue, ZTE might find itself on the chopping block of failed smartphone brands.

SEE ALSO: ZTE’s new concept phone has two notches

News

Leaked images reveal Huawei’s first OLED TV

Will have 14 speakers underneath the screen

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Image source: Weibo

Last year, Huawei debuted its first in-house operating system, a potential replacement for the loss of Google support. However, instead of a smartphone debut, the so-called Harmony OS will debut in a television set first. Months later, the operating system officially launched in Honor’s smart TV series, the Honor Vision.

Now, Huawei is launching more Harmony devices under its own main branding. Hinted at for months, the company’s first OLED TV has finally revealed more details through official teaser posters leaked on Weibo.

Based on these posters, the Huawei Smart TV X65 will have a 65-inch OLED screen. Fitted with a 24-megapixel camera, the TV can automatically adjust its colors to match the room it’s in. Likewise, Richard Yu, chief executive officer for Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, has teased an all-new input method for users. Presumably, this undisclosed method involves the camera in some fashion.

Additionally, the huge display will house 14 under-screen speakers. In line with this, the speakers’ sensors will apparently adjust its sound calibrations automatically to fit your current housing.

Finally, the Huawei Smart TV X65 will officially debut on Wednesday this week. Though still part of Huawei’s TV series, the upcoming smart TV adds to the company’s long-term roadmap to introduce a connected ecosystem of smart devices.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Sound X with hi-end audio launches

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Apps

Zoom CEO apologizes as privacy concerns continue mounting

Hackers have been able to exploit multiple loopholes

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With the rapid rise in its usage amid the forced work-from-home setup due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Zoom has found itself having to apologize over legitimate concerns about the app’s privacy and security.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan admitted his team made missteps with his company’s video-conferencing platform. “We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations,” Eric Yuan said in a blog post. “For that, I am deeply sorry.”

The company shall focus on addressing these privacy issues first, and all new feature updates will be paused for the coming 90 days. The company will also periodically release transparency reports to build confidence. The practice is followed by giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to show how they’ve complied with local enforcement with regard to user data.

However, Zoom came under attack after a man alleged the company illegally sold user data to Facebook and filed a lawsuit. It opened Pandora’s box. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), as well as independent cybersecurity experts, raised questions over its level of encryption.

Over the past week, “Zoombombing” was trending on Twitter, as unauthorized people have been able to access meetings and share hate-speech or pornographic images.

Moreover, the company clarified that its target audience was large institutions that had full IT support. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, the platform has seen a humungous rise in users, reaching 200 million active users from just 10 million within a month.

The pandemic has forced people to stay indoors and companies are trying their best to adopt the “work from home” model. Zoom became the most preferred platform for everyone. Keeping that in mind, most users are new to the platform and range from schools to even remote house parties.

Yuan has also assured that all chat messages are safe, their password authentication protocols haven’t been compromised, and they’ll continue to ensure these loopholes are fixed on priority.

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Gaming

A Japanese company tried doing work meetings in Animal Crossing

WFH just got better

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Image source: Livedoor

Today, New York City banned the use of Zoom in schools and universities. In the past few weeks, the city trained its teachers and employees in using the platform to maintain some sort of semblance amidst the pandemic. However, after numerous reports about Zoom’s security, the world is quickly changing its perspective on easily accessible teleconferencing software.

Naturally, with Zoom’s quick exit as the world’s most reliable platform, everyone is looking for an alternative. In Japan, a company tried a meeting in the cutest possible place today, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Over the weeks since its debut, Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the world by storm. In short order, the adorable simulation game invited friends to virtual desert island paradises from all over the world. It replaced a sense of community lost in today’s pandemic.

Reported by Livedoor, a Japanese publication, the Japanese company tried the game as a platform to work from home. According to the report, an employee invited its editorial staff to a single desert island. Besides meeting, the staff even went on a fishing trip together.

Image source: Livedoor

Though fun, the experiment was less than stellar. After concluding the meeting, the writer listed down the few but critical disadvantages at working in Animal Crossing’s island paradises.

For example, the game can’t facilitate file transfers or private person-to-person chats. Also, usernames are almost impossible to recognize. Adding contacts on the island involves alphanumeric codes assigned to each Nintendo Switch user. And, of course, it’s hard to focus on actual work with island chores always lurking in the background.

As an adorable game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons fails as a productivity pusher. That said, the game is one of the most relaxing gaming experiences on this side of the pandemic era.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo announces Switch ports for Borderlands, Bioshock, and more

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