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May
22
Samsung and Mastercard team up on Digital ID
Posted by Mike Moore on 22 May 2019 02:29 PM

Mobile shopping could be set for a major security boost following a new partnership between Mastercard and Samsung.

The card provider has announced it will be working with the smartphone giant to help develop and push out a new digital identity security system across mobile devices.

This could finally spell an end to consumers needing to remember multiple passwords and login details, instead relying on biometric data or a single digital ID.

User-centric

“At Samsung, we believe consumers should be in complete control of the privacy and security of their personal identity and we’re excited to work with Mastercard to bring the first digital identity solution to Samsung smartphones,” said Yongje Kim, EVP and head of service business office at Samsung Electronics Mobile Division.

Mastercard had previously announced a similar partnership with Microsoft, which it said would help facilitate speedier payment for online purchases through a similar digital ID service.

The company says its new service will feature privacy by design, and be built around user-centric principles such as data ownership, confidentiality, consent and transparency, and will not collect any identity data.

“Our digital and physical lives are merging and we need a digital identity solution that reflects this reality," said Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber & intelligence at Mastercard.

"Without control over how their data is used, people rely on outdated systems that can compromise their security. Our collaboration with Samsung advances a digital identity solution that is bound to a trusted device – the mobile phone – which is used by millions of people every day."


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May
22
Connected businesses ‘can give all workers a voice’
Posted by Mike Moore on 22 May 2019 01:00 PM

Workers across the world are feeling frustrated by a lack of communication between themselves and their bosses, according to new research.

A report from Workplace by Facebook has found that today’s workforce is more dispersed than ever, with a significant portion of employees away from company headquarters. 

Although good for productivity, this disconnect appears to be creating a disconnect between the two parties, leaving workers feeling alienated and lacking a voice.

Connected

The study, which surveyed over 4,000 frontline workers and HQ managers in the US and UK, discovered that only 14 percent of these felt connected to their business home.

Despite 95 percent of business leaders recognising the value of collaboration tools, only 56 percent have rolled them out, leaving many employees feeling they lack a voice.

Less than half (45 percent) of workers said they share their ideas with senior team members, however, 25 percent of employees have had an idea but never told anyone, and a further 38 percent report having shared an idea, only for it to be ignored.

“Collaboration tools are crucial in connecting the unconnected and ensuring everyone has a voice,” Karandeep Anand, VP Workplace by Facebook, said of the findings.

“There is a serious communications failure between managers and frontline workers which is inhibiting innovation and creativity. Some workers may be deskless, but they should not be voiceless.”

“What we're doing here at Workplace is creating a community of people who genuinely believe that the future of work can be better than what's been in the past,” Anand added at an event in London today announcing the research.

“We genuinely believe businesses are better when they're connected (and) when businesses feel connected, and people feel much stronger sense of community, work is better - and that's what Workplace was designed to do.”

“Creating and shaping the future of work isn't just exciting, but a responsibility.”


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May
22
Smartphone cannibalization deals major blow to PC and tablet sales
Posted by Naushad K. Cherrayil on 22 May 2019 12:00 PM

Cannibalisation of smartphones dealt a major blow to the PC and tablet markets in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the first three months of the year, with tablets taking a bigger hit.

Fouad R. Charakla, senior research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), told TechRadar Middle East that there has been a considerable decline of 7.6% in the regional PC sales to 740,489 units compared to 801,369 units a year ago. 

He believes the shortfall of Intel chips in the market also had an impact on PC sales, mainly in the entry-level CPU shipments. “From what we learned was that Intel was prioritizing the supply of high-end CPUs, so, entry-level CPUs suffered. There were some cases where PC manufacturers considered shipping with AMD chips to fill the gap,” he said.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said that vendors had to change their mix due to the shortfall related to production issues. “It is the entry level of the PC market that had a bigger impact. The top three vendors – HP, Dell and Lenovo - got most of the chips they needed while the rest of the vendors weren't getting enough supplies. The three top players have 60% of the market between them,” he said.

Although the chipmaker has invested $1.5 billion more to boost its production, Intel’s CEO Robert Swan said during their earnings conference call recently that supply challenges will persist throughout the third quarter and increased capacity will improve its position in the second half of the year.

“The new Intel CEO had said that these kinds of shortfall will never happen again but we have to see what the changes they are going to implement,” Atwal said. He also thinks that the roadmap for AMD is currently quite looking good for vendors that need another supplier.

Windows 10 helps PC growth in commercial sector

Charakla and Atwal said that the consumer demand for PCs declined significantly, while the commercial sector, on the contrary, achieved growth. “The business sector is positive for the last two years as users move to Windows 10,” Atwal said.

According to StatCounter, the global desktop and laptop market share for Windows 10 was 56.24% in April 2019 compared to 46.07% in April last year. Gartner analyst predicts that Windows 10 will represent 75% of the professional PC market by 2021.

In the GCC, desktop shipments rose about 8% while laptop sales plunged around 15%.

During the same period, the regional tablet market fell 19 per cent year on year to 618,676 units compared to 759,763 units.

“The significant portion of requirements for tablets is fading away and or satisfied either with a laptop or a smartphone,” Charakla said.


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May
22

In 2001, Pixar's Monsters, Inc was not only a charming kids film, but a technological marvel: the Pixar animators' super computers had created a world full of fuzzy creatures with hair so natural-looking, you wanted to reach into the screen and give them a hug.

But this was in a closed environment, each strand hand-picked. Fast-forward to 2019 and EA is showing off an equally, if not more, impressive demo.

Check out the video below. It shows off EA's Frostbite engine, developed by in-house studio DICE, demoing hair-rendering technology using what's thought to be comparable to next-generation gaming hardware:

Fantastic, right? Sure, the mannequin is a lot less huggable than Monsters, Inc's Sully, but the hair is just as lifelike. The key difference? This isn't a canned, choreographed performance – this is hair moving in real-time, using EA's in-game engine.

Future-gazing

Now, before tongues start wagging, we can't say for certain if this is representative of what to expect visually from any next-gen PS5 or Xbox Two hardware. Their complete specs remain a tightly guarded secret. 

But you can bet your last dollar that EA, being one of the biggest game publishers in the known universe, will have access to them at this point, and that demos like this are in anticipation of what they know is coming. 

Keep in mind though that this is hair rendering done in pretty much isolation – there's no open world rendering in the background here for instance, so who knows how much system resource this is requiring. But as an indication of where things could go, this is mouth watering.

It's also a bit of a PR booster for EA, too. The Frostbite engine has come under fire recently, given as it was reportedly a key factor in why recent hotly-anticipated titles Anthem and Mass Effect Andromeda were lukewarm on release. 

Developer Bioware simply struggled to get it to work with their ideas, and with EA studios mandated to employ it, couldn't work around its deficiencies.

That's not to say it's not produced great work elsewhere, with the Battlefield series and EA's sports titles built on it to great effect (even if Respawn's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be skipping it). 

FIFA 20, for instance, will continue to use the engine, and the demo shows EA's continued commitment to the tool - so future footballers could (and, hopefully, will) have even more luscious locks.

  • Don't forget Project Atlas too, EA's grand vision for cloud gaming

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May
22
ARM 'stops' all work with Huawei after US ban
Posted by Steve McCaskill on 22 May 2019 11:19 AM

Huawei’s ambitions for the smartphone market have been dealt a serious blow according to leaked documents that suggest chipmaker ARM is suspending all activities with the beleaguered Chinese vendor.

Last week, the US Commerce Department prohibited American firms from doing business with Huawei, a move which means the company’s handsets will no longer receive updates for the Android operating system from Google or access to its popular applications.

However, the impact of that order is set to be far-reaching and could have even more disastrous consequences. The BBC has obtained internal memos ordering ARM employees to stop working on all Huawei contracts and cases to provide any support.

ARM Huawei

ARM’s chip designs are used to power virtually every major mobile chipset, including those from Qualcomm and Huawei’s Kirin processors. ARM is based in the UK and owned by Japanese firm SoftBank, but many of its designs feature US-made technology.

This has led ARM to believe that working with Huawei would see it breach US trade regulations. The BBC also notes that this impacts ARM China, a joint-venture that aims to make ARM technology and localised support available in the country. ARM has a 49 per cent stake.

Huawei is not commenting on the reports, but an inability to use ARM technology in Huawei’s Kirin processors would be extremely damaging. Huawei has been preparing for a ban on US technology for some time, stockpiling components and developing an alternative operating system to Android, but the innovations afforded by ARM would be impossible to replace.

The upcoming Kirin 985 chip is unaffected, but Huawei would be unable to use ARM technology in future iterations.

Huawei has managed to build on domestic success by expanding into Western Europe in recent years thanks to a series of critically acclaimed devices. It is now the world’s second largest manufacturer, recently overtaking Apple, despite being excluded from the US.

ARM has been approached for comment.

Via BBC


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May
22
5G phones: these are going to be the first next-gen handsets
Posted by James Rogerson on 22 May 2019 11:19 AM

Update: The first 5G phones are now available to buy in some regions and ever more are being announced and rumored.

We're now starting to see 5G networks get switched on in a few parts of the world, with more networks in more countries set to launch later in 2019. They're faster than 4G, but you'll need a 5G handset to make use of those speeds.

That's not a huge problem, because during CES 2019 at the start of the year, smartphone chip-maker Qualcomm said it expects to see over 30 5G devices launched in 2019, with most of those being smartphones.

So while the rollout of 5G networks may take some time, you should at least have a choice of 5G phones to whet your appetite.

With that in mind we've created this guide to the various confirmed and rumored 5G handsets. 

You'll find everything we know about these phones below, including when and where they’re likely to launch, and we'll be constantly updating our 5G phones list with all the latest information.

Moto Z3 5G

Image Credit: TechRadar

Motorola already sells a 5G phone, making it the first in the world to do so. Well, sort of anyway, as what it actually sells is the Moto Z3 (a 4G handset from 2018) paired with a new 5G Moto Mod, which adds 5G connectivity to the phone.

At the time of writing this is only available in the US and only on Verizon (which only currently has a 5G network in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis), so it's limited, but technically available.

The Moto Z3 and Moto Mod combined actually also undercut most other 5G handsets, though of course the phone itself is also more dated. The initial 5G service available on the phone is a mixed bag too, but if you just can't wait and you're in the US, this is your only real option right now.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Image Credit: TechRadar

Samsung has announced it first 5G phone and it's a top-end flagship dubbed the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

As well as 5G, the phone has a 6.7-inch QHD+ screen, a 4,500mAh battery, a top-end chipset, 8GB of RAM, and four rear cameras, consisting of a 16MP ultra-wide lens, a 12MP variable aperture lens, a 12MP telephoto lens and a 3D depth-sensing camera.

The Galaxy S10 5G also has a dual-lens front-facing camera (cut into the screen, so there's no notch and minimal bezel), and 256GB of storage.

Currently the phone is only available in South Korea, and it landed two days after the Moto Z3 5G was made available in the US, making Samsung second to offer a 5G phone.

We'd expect it to land in other parts of the world before too long, however, it won't come cheap, with the price starting at 1.39 million South Korean won (roughly $1,220, £930, AU$1,720) for a 256GB phone and 1.55 million South Korean won (about $1,370, £1,040, AU$1,920) for 512GB storage.

OnePlus 7 Pro 5G

Image credit: TechRadar

When OnePlus launched the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, it also announced a 5G version of the latter phone, which is exactly the same in all regards (except that it can connect to 5G networks as well as 4G).

That means it has a curved all-screen AMOLED display, novel pop-up selfie camera, Snapdragon 855 chipset, and 90Hz screen refresh rate. It will set you back quite a bit too, although OnePlus hasn't announced how much.

Unlike many of the phones on this list, we know exactly when we'll get to see the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, because it's being released in the UK alongside EE's networks on May 30. Presumably it'll be available in other regions around the same time.

Huawei Mate X

Image Credit: TechRadar

Huawei announced the Huawei Mate X at MWC 2019 - a phone that not only supports 5G, but also folds.

It essentially has three screens, with one big 8-inch OLED display that can be folded in half, leaving you with a smaller screen on each side of the handset, one of which is 6.6 inches and the other 6.4.

The phone also has a triple-lens camera, a 4,500mAh battery with fast charging, a high-end Kirin 980 chipset, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. All in all the Huawei Mate X could be the most exciting of the early 5G phones, but it also might be the most expensive, as it's set to cost €2,299 (around $2,600 / £2,000 / AU$4,770) when it lands around the middle of the year.

Huawei Mate 20 X

Image credit: TechRadar

As well as the Huawei Mate X, Huawei has plans to release a more 'traditional' 5G handset in the shame of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G which is, as the name suggests, a new version of the Huawei Mate 20 X.

That means it'll be a phone with a huge 7.2-inch screen and triple-lens camera setup, however rumors suggest the 5G phone might have a smaller battery capacity at 4,200mAh. That's still a large power pack, but it doesn't compare to the 4G phone's 5,000mAh, and 5G connectivity is expected to be a bigger drain on battery.

While the Mate X, with its novel form factor, will come late in 2019, we'd expect the Huawei Mate 20 X to release alongside 5G networks – as long as Huawei can solve its Android problems.

Additionally, Huawei has revealed that it is "considering" making a 5G version of the upcoming Huawei Mate 30.

LG V50 ThinQ

Image Credit: TechRadar

LG is another company that has announced a 5G handset, namely the LG V50 ThinQ. Launched at MWC 2019, this phone has a 6.4-inch 1440 x 3120 AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and a triple-lens rear camera, with a 12MP standard lens, a 12MP telephoto one and a 16MP ultra-wide one.

There's also both an 8MP standard lens and a 5MP wide-angle one on the front of the phone.

The LG V50 ThinQ also has a 4,000mAh battery, and it should be built to last, as it's both IP68-certified (for dust and water-resistance) and sports military-grade drop protection. There's also an optional second screen attachment in the form of the LG DualScreen.

The 5G phone can be bought in certain countries now, and in the UK it's an exclusive handset to EE, so it will launch some time after EE's 5G networks on May 30.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 was launched a while ago, and while the standard version doesn't support 5G, a 5G model has now been announced.

This model has a Snapdragon 855 chipset, a 6.39-inch 1080 x 2340 AMOLED screen, 256GB of storage, a dual-lens 12MP rear camera and a dual-lens front camera which slides out of the top of the phone, so there's no need for big bezels or a notch.

A big highlight though could be the price, as at €599 (around £520 / $680 / AU$950) it could undercut most of the first wave of 5G handsets. It's set to land in Europe from May and expected to land in the UK, but it's not clear whether there will be US or Australian availability.

Oppo Reno 5G

Image Credit: TechRadar

On April 24 Oppo announced the Oppo Reno 5G, a phone which as well as 5G has a triple-lens camera, including a 10x lossless zoom lens, a 48MP lens, and an 8MP ultra-wide lens.

It also has a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, a 4,065mAh battery, a 6.6-inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen, a pop-up selfie camera, and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. It's coming to EE in the UK this summer. There's no word on what it will cost there yet, but it's set to be €899, which is around $1,000/£780/AU$1,430.

In the UK, the Oppo Reno isn't available yet in either a 4G or 5G model, but we're expecting to see both soon – it could therefore be the first phone to launch in both a 4G and 5G model simultaneously.

iPhone 12

Image Credit: TechRadar

Apple will of course eventually launch a 5G phone, but it's not likely to be one of the first companies to do so.

Rumors suggest that Apple won't put 5G support in the iPhone 11 and that instead we'll have to wait until 2020 and the iPhone 12, or even until 2021 for 5G.

As of April 2019, the latest news on that front is that Apple is currently deciding which company's 5G modem chips to use. Apparently it was using Intel, but the company has abandoned plans for 5G modems after reportedly missing deadlines.

Now it's not clear what company will be used, but Qualcomm looks like a strong possibility, despite the two companies recent legal battles.

The good news though is that whenever Apple launches its 5G iPhone it's likely to be globally available, since iPhones are sold in most countries.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G

Image credit: TechRadar

While not quite official yet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is very likely to land in a 5G flavor, given that the Galaxy S10 has. Not only that, but Verizon has claimed that a 5G model is coming this year and mention of 5G next to a codename associated with the Note 10 has been found in Samsung source code.

Honor

Image Credit: TechRadar

Given that Huawei has launched a 5G phone it's not overly surprising to hear that Honor is working on one too, given that this is a sub-brand of the company.

Honor's president said – according to Android Authority – that not only will Honor launch a 5G phone in 2019, but that it will be the first to market with a 5G handset.

That's no longer possible, but it certainly sounds like the phone will be coming soon then, though we have no idea which countries it will be sold in.

Black Shark

Image Credit: TechRadar

As well as the Mi Mix 3 5G, it looks like Xiaomi will launch a 5G phone under its Black Shark banner and it will probably land this year according to Black Shark's VP. This seemingly won't be the Black Shark 3 though, as it will apparently land before that phone, so it might be a 5G version of the Black Shark 2, but that's not yet confirmed.

ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G

Image Credit: ZTE

ZTE has also used MWC 2019 to announce a 5G phone, specifically the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G.

Set to land in Europe and China during the first half of 2019, this has a Snapdragon 855 chipset, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and a trio of rear cameras, namely a 48MP standard lens, a 20MP wide-angle lens and an 8MP telephoto lens.

There's also a 20MP front camera, a 6.47-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen with a notch, 6GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery and 128GB of storage. Pricing and exact availability is still to be confirmed.

Vivo

Image Credit: TechRadar

Vivo is also known to be working on a 5G phone, but as yet we don't know much about it and it won't be one of the very first, with the company aiming for a commercial launch in 2020, according to GadgetsNow

We also wouldn't count on the phone being widely available, since most Vivo handsets aren't.

Sony

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony has confirmed that it will make a 5G phone, but only when the tech rolls out. The company hasn't got more specific than that yet.

Royole FlexPai

Image Credit: Royole

The foldable Royole FlexPai launched globally during CES 2019 at the start of 2019, and while it's not 5G enabled right now, a software update later in the year will unlock support for the fifth generation of network.

You can buy the FlexPai now, however it's expensive and we found during our hands on time with the phone that the software needs some serious polish before we'd be able to think about recommending it as a viable everyday device.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G

Image credit: TechRadar

While not quite official yet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is very likely to land in a 5G flavor, given that the Galaxy S10 has. Not only that, but Verizon has claimed that a 5G model is coming this year and mention of 5G next to a codename associated with the Note 10 has been found in Samsung source code.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G

Image credit: TechRadar

While not quite official yet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is very likely to land in a 5G flavor, given that the Galaxy S10 has. Not only that, but Verizon has claimed that a 5G model is coming this year and mention of 5G next to a codename associated with the Note 10 has been found in Samsung source code.


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