HMD is bringing a 5G smartphone and wireless earbuds to the US

Over the past four years or so, HMD has carved out a nice little niche for itself with its Nokia-branded handsets. The instant name recognition of a legacy brand was a nice little perch on which to gain some footing in an overcrowded market.

Pricing has long been a key to its appeal, as well, and that’s on display with the arrival of the company’s first 5G-enabled handset. The Nokia 8.5 5G runs $699 and goes up for pre-order today in the U.S. It will also be hitting Amazon in the coming weeks. It’s not cheap by the company’s standards, but it’s definitely among the more competitively priced 5G handsets around.

The phone is also set to make an appearance in the upcoming Bond film. It features four rear-facing cameras, including a 64-megapixel lens and a macro — an uncommon but increasingly popular alternative on the latest batch of smartphones. The screen is a massive 6.81 inches, and the device is — unsurprisingly — powered by Qualcomm’s mid-tier Snapdragon 765G.

Today’s announcement also finds Nokia bringing its fully wireless earbuds stateside. No specific time frame was given for the Power Earbuds, but they’ll be priced at a reasonable $99. There’s stiff competition in the market, these days — especially in the low end of the market — but the buds have been getting a pretty positive reaction for their price point, thanks to a comfortable design and a ridiculous 150 hours of battery courtesy of their massive charging case.

#5g, #earbuds, #hardware, #hmd, #nokia, #smartphones

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China tops 110 million 5G users in less than a year

Over 110 million users in China have signed up for 5G plans, announced president of the China Academy for Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a think tank under the telecoms watchdog Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, at an industry event on Wednesday.

That makes China the largest 5G market in terms of user size, the think tank president said. The milestone came in less than a year after China’s top carriers rolled out  5G plans for consumers, and just over a year after the authority began issuing 5G licenses for commercial use.

The number is still a small fraction of the overall subscription. In June, China’s three state-run carriers collectively commanded some 1.6 billion mobile subscribers (suggesting China’s 1.4 billion population owned over one mobile device per capita).

China’s 5G ambition is a multi-pronged effort among the government, network carriers, telecoms equipment makers, device makers, and software developers. Policymakers need to show consumers visible improvement on network speed, and as such the carriers have been aggressively setting up 5G base stations across the country — more than 460,000 towers by July.

China was adding an average of 15,000 new 5G base stations every week, said an official in July. The government has plans to raise that number to 600,000 by the end of 2020, covering all prefectural-level cities nationwide. A clear winner in China’s 5G push is Huawei, which makes both 5G devices and the infrastructure that undergirds the next-gen network.

In the meantime, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and their rivals are rushing to launch 5G compatible handsets. China has sold over 93 million units of 5G mobile phones this year so far, according to recent data released by CAICT. 5G phones accounted for 60% of total shipments in August.

China’s rapid shift to 5G is also driving the need for new hardware parts like integrated circuits. The country produced over 100 billion units of ICs during the first half of 2020, representing a 16.4% year-over-year gain, said an industry official in July, adding that much of the demand came from 5G-related projects.

#5g, #asia, #china, #tc

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Latent AI makes edge AI workloads more efficient

Latent AI, a startup that was spun out of SRI International, makes it easier to run AI workloads at the edge by dynamically managing workloads as necessary.

Using its proprietary compression and compilation process, Latent AI promises to compress library files by 10x and run them with 5x lower latency than other systems, all while using less power thanks to its new adaptive AI technology, which the company is launching as part of its appearance in the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield competition today.

Founded by CEO Jags Kandasamy and CTO Sek Chai, the company has already raised a $6.5 million seed round led by Steve Jurvetson of Future Ventures and followed by Autotech Ventures .

Before starting Latent AI, Kandasamy sold his previous startup OtoSense to Analog Devices (in addition to managing HPE Mid-Market Security business before that). OtoSense used data from sound and vibration sensors for predictive maintenance use cases. Before its sale, the company worked with the likes of Delta Airlines and Airbus.

Image Credits: Latent AI

In some ways, Latent AI picks up some of this work and marries it with IP from SRI International .

“With OtoSense, I had already done some edge work,” Kandasamy said. “We had moved the audio recognition part out of the cloud. We did the learning in the cloud, but the recognition was done in the edge device and we had to convert quickly and get it down. Our bill in the first few months made us move that way. You couldn’t be streaming data over LTE or 3G for too long.”

At SRI, Chai worked on a project that looked at how to best manage power for flying objects where, if you have a single source of power, the system could intelligently allocate resources for either powering the flight or running the onboard compute workloads, mostly for surveillance, and then switch between them as needed. Most of the time, in a surveillance use case, nothing happens. And while that’s the case, you don’t need to compute every frame you see.

“We took that and we made it into a tool and a platform so that you can apply it to all sorts of use cases, from voice to vision to segmentation to time series stuff,” Kandasamy explained.

What’s important to note here is that the company offers the various components of what it calls the Latent AI Efficient Inference Platform (LEIP) as standalone modules or as a fully integrated system. The compressor and compiler are the first two of these and what the company is launching today is LEIP Adapt, the part of the system that manages the dynamic AI workloads Kandasamy described above.

Image Credits: Latent AI

In practical terms, the use case for LEIP Adapt is that your battery-powered smart doorbell, for example, can run in a low-powered mode for a long time, waiting for something to happen. Then, when somebody arrives at your door, the camera wakes up to run a larger model — maybe even on the doorbell’s base station that is plugged into power — to do image recognition. And if a whole group of people arrives at ones (which isn’t likely right now, but maybe next year, after the pandemic is under control), the system can offload the workload to the cloud as needed.

Kandasamy tells me that the interest in the technology has been “tremendous.” Given his previous experience and the network of SRI International, it’s maybe no surprise that Latent AI is getting a lot of interest from the automotive industry, but Kandasamy also noted that the company is working with consumer companies, including a camera and a hearing aid maker.

The company is also working with a major telco company that is looking at Latent AI as part of its AI orchestration platform and a large CDN provider to help them run AI workloads on a JavaScript backend.

#5g, #airbus, #analog-devices, #articles, #artificial-intelligence, #autotech-ventures, #battlefield, #cloud-computing, #cto, #delta-airlines, #disrupt-2020, #edge-computing, #enterprise, #future-ventures, #javascript, #sri-international, #startups, #steve-jurvetson, #tc

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5G in rural areas bridges a gap that 4G doesn’t, especially low- and mid-band

Collage of cartoon animals and houses, all with satellite dishes.

Enlarge / This might be the best listing image Aurich has ever created. The duck just kills me. Look at his little hat! (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

In this third installment of our series explaining what we can expect from 5G, we’re going to focus on how 5G deployment can impact rural and underserved areas.

A brief refresher: What is 5G?

If you didn’t read the first article in the series, you might need a refresher on what 5G actually is—and is not. The term “5G” itself doesn’t refer to any particular frequency range; it just specifies the communications protocol being used—like 2G, 3G, and 4G before it. You may sometimes also see the term 5G NR, which simply means “fifth generation, new radio”—the two terms are interchangeable. Fortunately, and unlike earlier generations, there are no competing standards—5G is just 5G.

With that said, much of what you’ve heard about 5G likely does refer to specific frequencies that it can operate at. There are three general bands allocated for 5G, which are further subdivided and leased to individual carriers. Those are the low, mid, and high bands. The low and mid bands are 600MHz-900MHz and 2.5GHz-4.2GHz, respectively. These bands share similar radio characteristics with existing 4G LTE low and high bands; taken together, you may also hear the pair of them referred to as “sub-6GHz” or “5G FR1.”

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#5g, #5g-nr, #cellular-broadband, #feature-report, #features, #fixed-mobile-broadband, #mobile-broadband, #tech

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Motorola gives its foldable Razr another go with the addition of a 5G model

Last year’s Motorola Razr reboot should have been a slam-dunk. An iconic name attached to a cutting edge form factor — what could possible go wrong? A lot, turns out, especially in the world of foldables where nothing seems to go according to plan. Some questionable design choices gave rise to a poorly reviewed device that continued the trend of foldable stumbles.

This week, however, the reboot is back. And this time, it’s, well, refined. In a blogpost announcing the launch of the “New Razr With 5G,” the Lenovo-owned brand is quick to note that, “We’ve heard from consumers that they feel tethered to their devices and want a way to stay connected while still living in the moment.” To put a finer point on it, here’s a quote offered to TechCrunch from a spokesperson,

We’re confident in our foldable system, which is why we retained much of the same technology from the first iteration of Razr. While evolving razr’s design to include 5G, we focused on areas to make mechanical refinements, based on direct consumer feedback.

In other words, the new Razr is the device that consumer feedback built. Now with 5G. It’s in keeping with the new version of the Galaxy Fold that Samsung recently launched. As many in the industry anticipated, the initial round of foldable devices would bump up against many of the issues commonly attributed to first generation devices. Here that means an update to things like the hinge, which drew some heat from reviews the first time around.

There’s also an improved camera — another issue with the original. This time out, it’s a quad pixel 48-megapixel sensor with improved low light shots and falser autofocus. There’s also a 20-megapixel one inside the device. The battery — another pain point on the original — has been upgraded slightly, from 2,510mAh to 2,800mAh. The company says it’s an “all day” battery, though the demands of 5G might have something to say about that. I suspect the demands of thinness really presented a brick wall when it comes to maxing out battery capacity.

The 5G comes courtesy of the Snapdragon 765G processor. That maintains the original’s inclusion of a mid-range processor (710 last time out), but this time Qualcomm has included next-gen wireless in an attempt to speed up adoption. At $1,400, it’s $100 less expensive than the original, but it’s certainly still pricey enough to make a middling processor a definite head scratcher. It’s true you’re paying for the foldable screen here, of course, but at that price, everything really ought to be the latest and greatest.

The new New Razr will be available in the fall.

#5g, #foldable, #hardware, #mobile, #motorola, #razr

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As the smartphone market declines, 5G models are set to see continued growth in 2020

Things have gone from bad to worse for a stumbling smartphone market in 2020. Already plateauing and decline figures have taken a big hit from COVID-19. The pandemic has hampered sales of non-essential items, particularly those best enjoyed outside of the home. According to new figures from Canalys, smartphone shipments are set to experience a 10.7% decline for the year.

There are a couple of silver linings worth noting. For starters, 5G adoption continues to growth. The firm projects that some 280 million units will be shipped in 2020, with the Greater China market making up a majority at 62% of the total figure, thanks in part to lower cost devices like the Realme V3, which retails for less than $150 U.S. — a remarkable price for a product with next-gen wireless.

Image Credits: Canalys

North America is in second place, with around 15% of shipments, while EMEA and Asia Pacific (sans Greater China) are projected to each make up around 11%. A 5G-enabled iPhone 12 should help speed up adoption as well, when it’s launched in the next month or so.

“Smartphone vendors have relentlessly pushed new product launches, as well as online marketing and sales during the post-lockdown period, generating strong consumer interest for the latest gadgets,” analyst  Ben Stanton says in a release. “Gradual reopening of offline stores, improving logistics and production have provided necessary uplift for most markets to move into a more stabilized second half of 2020.”

5G was expected to have a rebounding effect for the industry — though the pandemic quickly hampered those plans. Likely it has gone a ways toward helping prohibit a further slide in sales. And numbers are still expected to rebound somewhat in the 2021, at 9.9% year over year. That’s not quite enough to return things to pre-2020 levels, but would no doubt be a welcome sign for an industry that has shown signs of decline for some time now.

#5g, #canalys, #hardware, #iphone, #mobile

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AT&T’s current 5G is slower than 4G in nearly every city tested by PCMag

AT&T logos seen on the window and door of a building.

Enlarge / An AT&T sign and logo on Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (credit: Getty Images | Mat Hayward)

AT&T smartphone users who see their network indicators switch from “4G” to “5G” shouldn’t necessarily expect that they’re about to get faster speeds. In PCMag’s annual mobile-network testing, released today, 5G phones connected to AT&T got slower speeds than 4G phones in 21 out of 22 cities.

PCMag concluded that “AT&T 5G right now appears to be essentially worthless,” though AT&T’s average download speed of 103.1Mbps was nearly as good as Verizon’s thanks to a strong 4G performance. Of course, AT&T 5G should be faster than 4G in the long run—this isn’t another case of AT&T misleadingly labeling its 4G network as a type of 5G. Instead, the disappointing result on PCMag’s test has to do with how today’s 5G phones work and with how AT&T allocates spectrum.

The counterintuitive result doesn’t reveal much about the actual differences between 4G and 5G technology. Instead, it’s reflective of how AT&T has used its spectrum to deploy 5G so far. As PCMag explained, “AT&T’s 5G slices off a narrow bit of the old 850MHz cellular band and assigns it to 5G, to give phones a valid 5G icon without increasing performance. And because of the way current 5G phones work, it often reduces performance.”

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#5g, #att, #biz-it, #opensignal, #pcmag, #t-mobile, #verizon

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Taking 5G to work, in offices, and on the factory floor—will it help?

Artist's impression of 5G.

Enlarge / Artist’s impression of 5G. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

In our last 5G explainer, we talked about the potential impact of the 5G cellular protocol—and the various bands over which it operates—on gaming. Today, we’re going to explore what the improved throughput and latency associated with 5G networks might mean for work rather than play.

For the most part, the improvements are iterative, not revolutionary—and they’re the same ones we talked about in the gaming piece. Upgraded equipment in towers means lower network latency, and mmWave connections to outside devices mean less contention for sub-6GHz devices inside buildings.

Where mmWave connections to devices are possible—which for the most part, will mean “outdoors, in high population areas”—users can expect extremely high throughput and low latency. But mmWave has far lower range and penetration than the sub-6GHz connections we’re familiar with, and we don’t expect indoor users to be able to get a connection. You don’t necessarily need a clean line of sight to a tower—the massive MIMO antenna arrays mmWave deployments use are highly directional and can make good use of RF reflections to get around obstacles—but punching through an exterior wall to an indoor space is almost certainly too much to expect.

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#5g, #biz-it, #feature, #feature-report, #features

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Samsung’s got a new budget 5G handset and a fitness tracker with a two-week battery

Yesterday’s overflow Galaxy Unpacked event was about one thing and one thing alone: the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Honestly, it was a bit anticlimactic after its predecessor found Samsung unveiling five new devices. But the singular focus wasn’t for lack of new stuff to show off. In fact, the company just unleashed a whole slew of new products across a wide range of categories, including a gaming monitor, charging pad, refrigerator and washing machine.

There are two in particular I’d like to break out here, however: the new Galaxy Fit 2 band and A42 5G handset. The latter in particular is worth highlighting, given the company’s huge push into 5G this year. Samsung is betting big on pushing early and hard on the next-generation wireless tech.

Early this year, the company announced that it would be standardizing 5G across its flagship products. The company has also made a major push toward embracing the tech on its budget devices, including the A7 and now the A42. 5G hasn’t quite turned out to be the market correction the industry was banking on, due in no small part to a slowdown in sales from the pandemic. Certainly few banked on that. But while Apple has yet to announce a 5G iPhone (give it a month or two, mind), Samsung’s already loaded up.

And importantly, the A42 looks like it may be Samsung’s cheapest 5G offering (though we’re still waiting on exact pricing). Honestly, Samsung wasn’t particularly chatty about the device during an IFA-tied event. Though we do know there’s a quad-camera system and a 6.6-inch display. Honestly, one of the most remarkable things about 5G is how quickly affordable devices have hit the market, thanks in part to the efforts of component makers like Qualcomm.

Image Credits: Samsung

The Galaxy Fit 2 is notable mostly for the inclusion of a 15-day battery (per Samsung). It can autodetect five different kinds of workouts and monitors sleep. It’s nice to see Samsung still offering something up to the dwindling tracker market, even as its (and the world’s) focus has clearly shifted over to smartwatches.

#5g, #fitness-trackers, #hardware, #mobile, #samsung, #smartphones, #wearables

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New report details Apple’s plan for iPhones (and other gadgets) this year

A new report from Bloomberg’s Debby Wu and Mark Gurman says that Apple tasked its suppliers with building “at least 75 million” 5G iPhones. That’s in the ballpark of what was produced last year, so Apple is expecting strong sales despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More interesting for our purposes here, though, are tidbits about what those iPhones—and other Apple products planned for release this year—look like.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Bloomberg story claims that Apple has a busy holiday season ahead of it. The sources say that Apple plans to launch four 5G iPhone models, a new iPad Air, two new Apple Watch models, over-ear headphones, and a new HomePod speaker. They also allude to a modestly updated Apple TV 4K and the long-rumored AirTags product, but the story did not claim that those are coming this year.

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#5g, #airpods, #apple, #apple-watch, #apple-watch-series-6, #homepod, #ipad-air, #iphone, #iphone-12, #iphone-12-pro, #iphone-12-pro-max, #tech

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The 5G version of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 starts at $850 and arrives September 18

2020 was going to be the year 5G went truly mainstream. Things obviously haven’t gone according to plan these past several months, but this is undoubtedly the year Samsung went all-in on the next generation technology. After being one of the first to market with a 5G device, it’s since made its way across the company’s various flagships and even onto a couple of mid-range phones.

With the arrival of the Galaxy Tab S7 5G, Samsung also becomes one of the first to add the extra layer of connectivity to its line of premium tablets. At today’s big Unpacked redux event, we’re finally getting a better look at what the 5G version, including the ever important pricing and availability.

The 5G models hit the market September 18 for $850 for the S7 — that’s a $200 premium over the standard model and the same starting price as the S7+. The 5G S7+, meanwhile, runs $1,050.

I’ve got a full write up of the non-5G version of the S7+ here. All of the words should pretty much apply to the new models, expect, you know, with more 5G. Honestly though, I don’t really have 5G access at the moment in the neighborhood in Queens I live in. In that case, the system reverts to LTE connectivity.

For that reason, this is going to be a pretty niche model. Honestly, the connect tablet market is still relatively niche to began with — and that’s likely to be even more so the case for 2020, when people are continuing to work from home in large numbers.

Pre-order for the tablets opens tomorrow.

#5g, #galaxy-tab, #hardware, #samsung

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Meet the $3,300 edition of the Galaxy Z Fold 2

If you’re going to spend $1,000 on a phone, you might as well spend $2,000. And honestly, if you’re going to spend $2,000, why not just go for it and spend $3,300? That seems to be a chief guiding principle behind the Samsung Galaxy Fold Z 2 Thom Browne edition — a handset for those who want the priciest mobile device you can buy — and then some.

Image Credits: Samsung

Samsung has been partnering with the high-end American fashion designer for a couple of devices now. The Z Fold 2 edition follows the release of the Thom Browne Galaxy Z Flip, which also cost an additional $1,100 over the price of the standard foldable. Per the press materials:

[T]he second release further explores its shared ethos to provide a deeper level of hardware and software integration. The geometric grey and signature multicolor stripe is complemented by a grosgrain pattern, creating a visual texture of fabric on Galaxy Z Fold2’s unique design. Software additions, including a new lock screen and exclusive photo filter, digitize the Thom Browne world and bring a sense of luxury into every interaction.

Further justifying the device’s cost is the inclusion of a Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Buds Live — neither of which ship with the standard Fold Z 2. And perhaps even more importantly, it’s something you can lord over the heads of your slightly more frugal friends who only shelled out for the regular Fold.

It’s all part of the company’s work to frame the foldable as a truly luxury product. The standard model notably also ships with Samsung’s upgraded Premier Service. That includes “on-demand concierge support” and a one-time screen replacement for accidental damage. All solid additions for a still-new form factor. But the company is also tossing in Founders Card membership, access to a bunch of golf/country clubs and a meal from a Michelin star restaurant (terms and conditions apply, obviously). However, still no free Galaxy Buds with the standard model.

If all of that sounds good to you, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 Thom Browne edition goes up for pre-order tomorrow and enters general availability on September 25. The edition is limited to 5,000 units, so act now, I guess.

#5g, #foldables, #galaxy-fold, #galaxy-z-fold-2, #hardware, #samsung, #tc

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Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold arrives September 18 for $2,000

As far as launches for revolutionary products are concerned, the Galaxy Fold could have gone a lot better. It’s not for lack of hype, of course. Years of prelude punctuated by Samsung’s own breathless expectations provided plenty of build-up, but in the end, the device felt like a partially baked disappointment.

A number of early units broke for a variety of reasons. Samsung recalled the foldable, went back to the drawing board and released it on a delayed timeline. I ran into issues with my second sample pretty quickly. At the end of the day, the device just demanded a level of gingerliness most users can’t really afford with a day-to-day mobile device.

The Galaxy Fold Z 2, which was the centerpiece of today’s Unpacked annex event, is largely devoted to addressing the biggest complaints about the original. Given the issues with the original, that’s about as admirable a goal as any. We were all aware that the Galaxy Fold was going to be a learning process for Samsung — and certainly there’s a certain degree of throwing caution to the wind — but relative to the company’s other device, it just didn’t feel finished.

Image Credits: Samsung

We certainly didn’t feel comfortable advising people to purchase the device for $2,000. The Fold Z 2 is priced the same (which is to say still prohibitively expensive for most), but it could be the product the first gen should have been. I’m going to wait until we’ve had sufficient review time to say anything definitive about the device, but in Samsung’s defense, the company does seem to have addressed most of the major issues with the original — thanks in no small part to some advances introduced with Flip last year.

The biggest update here is the addition of what the company calls “Ultra Thin Glass” to the primary foldable 7.6-inch display. That was one of the largest pain points of the original — as cool as the technology is, it’s not worth a lot if the touchscreen can’t withstand touches. The technology here is more or less the same as what Samsung introduced with the Flip.

Image Credits: Samsung

The same goes for the new “sweeper” technology, which builds in a brush to wick away particles that might otherwise fall into the phone. This was another issue with the original — crap was getting behind the screen, causing damage when pressure was applied to the front by the user. This is the third-generation of the feature, according to Samsung, sporting a thinner brush than the original. Per the company:

To achieve this, Samsung developed new innovative sweeper technology to achieve the same level of protection in a smaller space. The Galaxy Z Fold2 Hideaway Hinge features revolutionary slim cutting technology, modified fiber composition and adjusted fiber density.

That’s a fancy way of saying they made thinner bristles. The hinge has also been improved to allow the device to stand at a variety of angles. That’s going to be an important point as the company looks to compete directly with the likes of Microsoft’s Surface Duo and any other dual-screen devices coming down the road. That’s augmented by Flex Mode (another Flip addition), which reconfigures the screen to make the best use of the partially open display.

Image Credits: Samsung

The other big update here is the addition of a much larger front-facing screen. At 6.2 inches, the front of the device is actually a serviceable display for use while the device is closed. Last time around, the front-facing screen had a weirdly long aspect ratio and wasn’t really great for anything but notifications. The company seemingly took something away from Huawei’s first dip into the foldable category.

The new Fold has 5G support, of course — that’s now standard across the company’s flagships, along with some mid-tier devices. That’s coupled with a beefy 4,500 mAh of battery life (split in two, each behind a display), 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s only one memory/storage option for the device for the States, which will run $2,000.

That entitles the buyer to the Galaxy Z Premier service, which includes on-demand support for the phone and a one-time replacement after accidental screen damage. There’s also a bunch of other perks thrown in, like Founders Card membership and access to golfing, or dinner at a Michelin-star restaurant. I would have preferred a pair of Galaxy Buds, to be honest, but Samsung’s really pushing the luxury angle here.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is up for pre-order September 2, and starts shipping on the 18th.

#5g, #foldable, #galaxy-fold, #galaxy-z-fold-2, #hardware, #mobile, #samsung

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What the advent of 5G—mmWave and otherwise—will mean for online gaming

Artist's impression of gaming with 5G.

Enlarge / Artist’s impression of gaming with 5G. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

There’s been a lot of buzz about 5G over the last year—much of it, sadly, none too coherent. Today, we’re going to take a detailed, realistic look at how we can expect 5G to improve cellular broadband, with a focus on the impact we might be able to expect on gaming. Surprise: the news is actually not bad!

What is 5G?

Before we can talk about what to expect from 5G, we need to talk about what 5G actually is—and isn’t. 5G, short for “fifth generation,” is the next cellular communications protocol. 5G is not, specifically, any given frequency or band. There are two major bands 5G can operate on—millimeter wave, and sub-6GHz. Exactly which frequencies within those bands your devices will use varies from carrier to carrier, and country to country.

Up close with a cellular transmission tower.

Up close with a cellular transmission tower. (credit: George Frey / AFP / Getty Images)

The sub-6GHz band isn’t new territory; the frequencies in use there are the same ones carriers already use for 4G / LTE service. Sub-6Ghz can further be divided into low-band—under 1GHz—and mid-band, at 2.5GHz-3.5GHz. Low-band offers greater range from the tower, but at lower speeds; the mid-band offers greater speed, but lower range. It’s worth noting that “lower range” isn’t necessarily a curse—the greater the range from the tower, the more users you have sharing the same finite amount of airtime, and the lower the speeds and less predictable the latency you’ll see.

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#5g, #bandwidth, #cell-phones, #cellular-networking, #feature, #feature-report, #features, #latency, #networking, #tech

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Want Verizon or AT&T 5G? You’ll have to buy an expensive unlimited plan

A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.

Enlarge / A Verizon booth at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles in September 2018. (credit: Verizon)

Verizon is adding some perks to its wireless plans this week, but some things aren’t changing: Verizon still restricts 5G service to its most expensive unlimited-data plans. If you want to save money by getting a limited-data plan, you’ll have to make do with 4G only—which, admittedly, is not a big problem for most people given how sparse Verizon’s 5G network is.

AT&T still enforces a similar restriction, including 5G only in its unlimited-data plans while selling limited-data plans without 5G. T-Mobile is taking a different approach, saying on its website that “5G access is included in all our plans, at no additional cost.”

Verizon’s announcement on Monday added features to the company’s existing unlimited plans without changing the price. One perk played up in the announcement is the Disney Bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. That’s a little better than Verizon’s current unlimited plan that includes one year of Disney+ but no Hulu and ESPN+. Verizon said the new versions of the plans will be available on Thursday this week.

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#5g, #att, #biz-it, #t-mobile, #verizon

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BlackBerry’s smartphone brand switches hands again, set to return as a 5G Android handset

A good brand is hard to kill. Over the past several years, the smartphone space has seen a resurgence of once-mighty mobile brands making a comeback with various degrees of success. HMD’s Nokia phones are probably the best and most successful example, but even Palm had a brief moment in the sun.

And then there’s the case of BlackBerry. TCL surprised the mobile world by bringing the brand raring back with an Android handset that re-embraced the QWERTY keyboard. That, in and of itself, wasn’t enough, of course. But TCL has the chops to deliver quality hardware, and certainly did so with the KeyOne. I know I was surprised the first time I saw one in person behind the scenes at CES a few years back.

Early this year, TCL announced the end of the partnership, noting, “We… regret to share… that as of August 31, 2020, TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices.” From its phrasing, it seemed like a less than amicable end for the deal. But TCL has already moved on to producing devices under its own brand name after years of subsidiaries and branded deals.

All of which brings us to this week’s announcement that a company you’ve never heard of, called OnwardMobility, is bringing the BlackBerry name to hardware for North America and Europe (other branding deals have existed in other markets). It’s a strange deal for starters, due to the fact that OnwardMobility is hardly a household name. It’s based in Austin, Texas, has fewer than 50 employees and was founded in March of last year, perhaps with such a partnership in mind.

After all, while a branding deal is far from a guaranteed recipe for success, it is, at least, a way of getting that first foot through the door. I’m not really sure I would be writing anything about OnwardMobility for TechCrunch dot com at the moment, were it not for the promise of reviving the BlackBerry name yet again. So that’s something. The company’s staff also notably involves some former TCL folk, as well as people involved with the BlackBerry software side of things. Another name that pops up a lot is Sonim Technologies, another Austin-based company that is a subsidiary of a Shenzhen-based brand of the same name. They largely specialize in rugged devices for first responders.

CEO Peter Franklin has both Microsoft and Zynga on his resume, and produced this fairly low-fi YouTube video to explain the company’s mission:

OnwardMobility says it’s a standalone startup. No word yet on investments or investors, though it will certainly be interesting to find out who’s backing this latest push to make the BlackBerry name relevant again. Notably, the company’s not sharing renders yet, either, but says it’s bringing a 5G device to market in 2021, with a physical keyboard and the focus on security that’s long been a key differentiator for the BlackBerry brand.

BlackBerry (the software company) certainly seems to be on board with its new partner here. CEO John Chen had this to say about the deal:

BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand. We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer.

More or less what you’d anticipate on that front. For now, the news is basically OnwardMobility’s entry onto the scene and announcement of its BlackBerry licensing deal. I’m honestly not sure how much clout the BlackBerry name holds in 2020 — nor do I necessarily believe there’s a critical mass of consumers clamoring to return to the physical keyboard. So OnwardMobility has a lot to prove in an extremely crowded mobile market. I guess we’ll see what it has to offer next year. Stay tuned.

#5g, #blackberry, #hardware, #john-chen, #mobile, #onwardmobility, #peter-franklin, #smartphones, #tcl

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Chip and phone supply chain shaken as Huawei faces mortal threat

Chip and phone supply chain shaken as Huawei faces mortal threat

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The global chip and smartphone industries are bracing for severe disruption after the US launched tougher sanctions against Huawei that some said could mean “death” for the company.

Washington said on Monday that no company worldwide would be allowed to sell semiconductors made using US software or equipment without a license if Huawei was involved at any stage of the transaction.

The move closed a loophole in a May version of the rule that allowed Huawei to buy off-the-shelf chips if they were not custom-made to its designs.

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#5g, #huawei, #policy, #sanctions, #tech

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

The Galaxy Note Ultra is a $1,399 smartphone. Even by Samsung’s standards, this is a high-end luxury device. It’s the phone for people who board the plane early and derive a sense of pride in watching the rest of us slowly shuffle onto the plane, wondering just how close to the back we’ll get.

Sure, most or all of these features will eventually trickle their way down into less-expensive models, but this is the phone for those willing to pay a premium to get a year ahead of the competition.

5G is the perfect example of the phenomenon. Still a luxury on last year’s models, it’s now standard across the Note line (and almost certainly will be with the Galaxy S when the new models arrive in six months). The world’s cellular networks may not have been ready to support it at the time, but it was yet another bleeding-edge tech available for early adopters willing to pay a premium.

The truth of the matter is you’d be getting a nice phone whether you opt for the Note 20 or Note 20 Ultra — or, for that matter, any member of the S20 line. In spite of the $400 gulf, there are only a few key differences between the Note 20 and the Ultra. The first and most immediate difference is the screen. That’s how you know you’ve got a truly premium device. It’s really, really big.

Here that means the difference between a 6.7-inch (2,400×1,080) and 6.9-inch (3,088×1,440) display. It’s a far smaller difference than the gulf between the 6.2-inch and 6.9-inch S20 options. It’s ultimately to the detriment of the Note line that its largest screen size is the same as the S20, and that there’s relatively little size difference between the two Notes. I would say that the high-end is really starting to bump up against the ceiling on smartphone screens, but we’ve said that time and again, and yet here we are.

Image Credits: Veanne Cao

The primary factor that has facilitated the Note’s growth from what seemed like an impossible large 5.3 inches to 6.9 in its nine-year existence is Samsung’s commitment to reducing the handset’s screen-to-body ratio. Even so, the Ultra is a very large phone. I can’t wrap my hand fully around it. Honestly, depending on the size of your hands and/or pockets, the sheer size of the product could well be a deal breaker.

The upshot of having such a big phone is that you get more space for a battery. Here that means a 4,500mAh battery life to the 20’s 4,000. That’s good, but still significantly smaller than the S20 Ultra’s 5,000mAh, likely owing to the presence of the S Pen slot, which eats up a chunk of the internal footprint. I was able to make it more than 24 hours on a single charge (closer to 28), definitely hitting the company’s benchmark of “all day” life.

Your results, as ever, will vary. But that goes double in a time when 5G coverage remains spotty in the U.S. Samsung sent a model with a Verizon SIM (TC’s parent company, for the record). I wasn’t able to get onto the 5G network in Queens where I live, but things did flick on when I walked across the bridge into Manhattan over the weekend. In a more ideal situation, I would be able to do a more controlled test between LTE and 5G battery ratings, but it’s 2020 and ideal is far too much to hope for.

Image Credits: Veanne Cao

The other major difference between the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra is, of course, the camera. Once again, the camera module is massive. Samsung’s freshened up the industrial design a bit, but it’s frankly still pretty massive. That’s forgivable, however, when you factor in what the handset is packing here. Both new Notes sport a triple camera system, but the Ultra swaps the 12-megapixel wide lens for a 108-megapixel, joining the 12-megapixel ultra wide and 12-megapixel telephoto.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

The setup is similar to the S20 Ultra’s, with a few important distinctions. For starters, the time-of-flight depth camera has been swapped out for a laser autofocus. The TOF definitely feels like a more future-proofing aspect. In addition to current portrait mode demands, it will likely play an important role as augmented reality becomes an increasingly important aspect of mobile software, going forward. That said, laser autofocus just feels more pragmatic for the demands of everyday picture taking. And even without portrait mode enabled, the camera setup has a real and effective bokeh on images and is pretty effective with close-up macro photos.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

The other big update here are some tempered expectations on the Space Zoom front. Introduced for the S20 Ultra, the feature promised a mind-boggling 100x zoom. The truth of the matter was less exciting, as anything approaching that top number was ultimately unusable. Most shots ended up looking like a work of abstract impressionism. The Note Ultra keeps things to a still-impressive, but more manageable, 50x.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

You’re still risking some fairly serious image degradation at that number, but overall, the results are going to be more pleasing than going double that number. And overall, the zoom on this thing is really excellent. Using the default photo software, I’d recommend sticking to the three tree icons to switch between the three primary cameras. That will keep it at a maximum 10x optical zoom. But if you need a bit more than that, go for it.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Samsung’s approach to camera quality has been largely hardware-focused, and the results are clear in the images it takes. It’s a contrast to Google’s approach, which seeks to almost exclusively differentiate itself with computational photography. The Pixel’s camera is very good in its own right, but it just can’t compete with the Note on things like quality zoom. Of course, Samsung’s approach costs money. It’s important to remember that we’re talking about a $1,400 phone here, friends.

The screen is really excellent. The colors can be a bit oversatured for my tastes — particularly when it comes to bright reds, but that’s an easy fix by toggling from “vivid” to “natural” under screen settings. For some the reds might be a bit muddy under the latter setting. Either way, it’s really just a matter of personal preference, but I recommend playing around with it. The 120Hz refresh rate makes for some extremely fluid animations, but this is also one of those features you can easily disable when you need to conserve battery.

The directional mic was one of the more underrated features introduced on the S20, allowing you to determine the focus of the audio recording based on the device’s positioning. Cooler still is the ability to use the Galaxy Live Buds as mics while recording. That’s something that will come in handy for standup interview videos, particularly in noisy environments.

Image Credits: Veanne Cao

The Note 20 is among the first devices to sport the Snapdragon 865+ — essentially an overclocked version of the flagship 865 you’ll find on the S20. The clock speeds are a bit souped up here and graphic performance has been improved by about 10%. Mobile processors don’t really get better than this in 2020. I plan to post something a bit more complete on the Microsoft partnership that brings some exclusive Game Pass content to handset (honestly, I’m waiting on one of those Bluetooth mobile Xbox controllers at the moment).

But this thing sings for most of your everyday tasks, and will likely be one of the better handsets for cloud gaming, as the latest flagship Snapdragon has been paired with 12GB of RAM. There’s also a good 128GB of storage here, expandable to a very good 512GB. Better still, that can be expanded to a ridiculous 1TB courtesy of the microSD slot (also available on both S20 models, but absent in the regular Note).

I probably write this every time a new Note comes out, but I’m not really a stylus person, even after nearly a decade of playing around with Note devices. That said, I continue to be impressed with the device’s ability to recognize my truly terrible handwriting. Maybe I’ll be a convert one of these generations. Stranger things have happened I guess. The S Pen is quite refined and very responsive after all of these generations. Air Actions let you use the stylus as a control even at a distance — a neat enough feature, but once again one I don’t see myself using. Other cool new additions here include Audio Bookmark, which will sync recordings to the notes you’re taking. Definitely helpful, though I anticipate it will be more so when Samsung introduces live transcriptions à la Google Recorder one of these generations.

Image Credits: Veanne Cao

If you’ve read enough of these bi-annual Samsung flagship reviews, you probably know what’s coming next. The Note represents more of a refinement over its predecessor than something more substantial. If your Note is a year or two old, you certainly don’t need to run out to replace that also very-good phone. That’s just sort of where we’re at in the life cycle of the mobile industry. On the whole, updates just feel more incremental.

But as with each of these devices, the Note 20 Ultra represents some of the finest mobile hardware you can purchase at this point in time. The camera, especially, deserves to be called out for its truly excellent capabilities. But, as ever, the finest is going to cost you. If you can stomach the idea of a $1,400 Android phone, they don’t come much better than the Galaxy Note Ultra.

#5g, #hardware, #note-20, #reviews, #samsung, #samsung-galaxy-note-20, #smartphones

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FCC beats cities in court, helping carriers avoid $2 billion in local 5G fees

A close-up shot of $100 bills.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Viktoryia Vinnikava | EyeEm)

The Federal Communications Commission has defeated dozens of cities in court, with judges ruling that the FCC can preempt local fees and regulations imposed on wireless carriers deploying 5G networks. The ruling is good news for AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

The FCC voted to preempt cities and towns in September 2018, saying the move would prevent local governments from charging wireless carriers about $2 billion worth of fees over five years related to deployment of wireless equipment such as small cells. That’s less than 1 percent of the estimated $275 billion that the FCC said carriers would have to spend to deploy 5G small cells throughout the United States.

Cities promptly sued the FCC, but a ruling issued yesterday by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit went mostly in the FCC’s favor. It wasn’t a complete victory for the FCC, though, as judges overturned a portion of the FCC ruling that limited the kinds of aesthetic requirements cities and towns can impose on carrier deployments.

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#5g, #biz-it, #cities, #fcc, #policy, #small-cells

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Trump administration announces major midband spectrum auction for 5G

5G is increasingly coming into focus as a set of technologies that has the potential to dramatically expand the quality, bandwidth, and range of wireless connectivity. One of the major blocks to actually rolling out these technologies though is simply spectrum: there just isn’t enough of it available for private use. 5G needs spectrum at very low frequencies to penetrate buildings and increase range, and it also needs high frequencies to support the huge bandwidth that future applications will require.

The crux though is in the midband — frequencies that can support a mix of range, latency and bandwidth that could become a mainstay of 5G technologies, particularly as a bridge for legacy infrastructure and devices.

Today, the midband of U.S. spectrum is heavily utilized by government services like the military, which uses the spectrum for everything from conflict operations to satellite connectivity. That has prevented commercial operators from accessing that spectrum and moving forward with wider 5G deployments.

That’s why it is notable today that the White House announced that the 3450Mhz to 3550 Mhz spectrum will officially be handed off to the FCC for an auction that will allow private operators to access midband spectrum. Given the legal process involved, that auction is expected to take place in December 2021, with private operation of services likely beginning in 2022. Usage of the band is expected to follow the spectrum sharing rules of AWS-3, according to a senior Trump administration official.

According to the White House, a committee of 180 experts was assembled from all the armed services and the Defense Secretary’s office to look at where a segment of the DoD’s spectrum could be freed up and moved to private usage to back 5G.

Such efforts are in line with the MOBILE NOW Act of 2017, which Congress passed in order to spur government agencies to speed up the process of allocating spectrum for 5G uses. That act encouraged NTIA, an agency which advises on telecom issues for the U.S. government, to identify the 3450Mhz to 3550Mhz band as a major area of study back in 2018, and earlier this year in January the agency found “viable options” for converting the band to private use.

It’s the latest positive step in the long transition of wireless to 5G services, which demands changes in technology (such as the wireless chips in cell phones), spectrum allocation, policy development, and infrastructure buildout in order to come to fruition.

Ted S. Rappaport, a professor of electrical engineering and the founding director of NYU WIRELESS, an academic research center focused on advanced wireless technologies, said that “It’s great news for America … and a terrific move for U.S. consumers and for the U.S. wireless industry.”

He noted that the particular frequency was valuable given existing knowledge and research in the industry. “It’s not that far from existing 4G spectrum where engineers and technicians already have good understanding of the propagation. And it’s also at a spectrum where the electronics are very low cost and very easy to make.”

There has been growing pressure on U.S. government leaders in recent years over the plodding 5G transition, which has fallen behind peer countries like China and South Korea. Korea in particular has been a world leader, with more than two million 5G subscribers already in the country thanks to an aggressive industrial policy by Seoul to invest in the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and take a lead in this new wireless transition.

The U.S. has been faster at moving ahead in millimeter (high frequency) spectrum for 5G that will have the greatest bandwidth, but it has lagged in midband spectrum allocation. While the announcements today is notable, there will also be concerns whether 100Mhz of spectrum is sufficient to support the widest variety of 5G devices, and thus, this allocation may well be just the first in a series.

Nonetheless, additional midband spectrum for 5G will help move the transition forward, and will also help device and chip manufacturers begin to focus their efforts on the specific bands they need to support in their products. While it may be a couple of more years until 5G devices are widely available (and useful) in the United States, spectrum has been a key gating factor to reaching the next-generation of wireless, and a gate that is finally opening up.

#5g, #government, #hardware, #mobile, #policy, #trump-administration, #wireless

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Here are all the things Samsung announced at today’s Unpacked event

Samsung’s first virtual Unpacked ranked somewhere between Microsoft and Apple’s recent events in terms of overall presentation and general awkwardness. The show kicked off seven minutes late, and a number of on-screen presenters certainly tended toward the more…awkward side of things, but overall, it was a decent first virtual event as the company embraces what it’s branded as “The Next Normal.”

Toward the end of the show, mobile head TM Roh noted, “Going forward, 5G and foldable will be the major pillars of Samsung’s future.” 5G is certainly a no-brainer. The event saw the company taking a step toward standardizing the next-gen wireless technology across its flagship mobile devices — as well as making its first appearance on the company’s tablets.

Image Credits: Samsung

As expected, the big news is the latest version of Samsung’s perennial favorite phablet line. The Note 20 gets 5G for both models and now comes in 6.7 and 6.9-inch models. The Ultra version gets a 120Hz refresh rate along with a hybridized 50x super zoom, using the same technology introduced with the Galaxy S20 earlier this year.

The most unsung addition might be UWB (ultra-wideband), which will enable a number of new features, including close proximity file sharing, a future unlock feature (with partner Assa Abloy) and a find my phone-style feature with an AR element. Xbox head Phil Spencer also made a brief remote cameo to announce Game Pass access, bringing more than 100 streaming titles to the device.

The models start at  $1,000 and $1,300, respectively. They’ll start shipping August 21.

New to the 5G game is the Galaxy Tab series. Samsung says the line includes “the first tablets that support 5G available in the United States.” The S7 and S7+ sport an 11 and 12.4-inch display, respectively, and start at $650 and $850, respectively. No word yet on pricing for the 5G versions.

Image Credits: Samsung

The event included a pair of new wearables. The more exciting of the two is probably the Galaxy Buds Live. Samsung has made consistently solid wireless earbuds, and the latest version finally introduce active noise canceling, along with some cool features like the ability to double as a mic for a connected Note device. The bean Buds are available today for $170.

Image Credits: Samsung

I’d be lying if I said the most exciting part of the Galaxy Watch 3 wasn’t the return of the physical bezel — long the best thing about Samsung’s smartwatches. Also notable is the addition of improved sleep and fitness tracking, along with an ECG monitor, which Samsung announced has just received FDA clearance. The Galaxy Watch 3 runs $400 and $430 for the 41mm and 45mm, respectively. There will also be LTE models, priced at $50 more.

Image Credits: Samsung

As for the foldable side of things, the event also found Samsung announcing its latest foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, with help from superstar boy band, BTS. The focus on the new version mostly revolves around fixing the numerous problems surrounding its predecessor. That includes a new glass reinforcement for the screen and a hinge that sweeps away debris that can fall in and break the screen in the process. More information on the foldable will be announced September 1.

#5g, #galaxy-fold, #galaxy-tab, #hardware, #mobile, #samsung, #samsung-unpacked-2020, #wearables

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The Galaxy Tab S7 will bring 5G to Samsung’s tablet line

Samsung’s going all in on 5G. The company was an early adopter for the next-gen wireless technology and has just offered it across the newly announce Galaxy Note 20. Turns out its new tablets will be getting the connectivity as an upgrade option.

The Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ were among the five devices launched at today’s unpacked event, arriving as “the first tablets that support 5G available in the United States,” according to the associated press material. And certainly they’re ahead of the curve here, though I’d expect to see the option become more common in the coming year, as carriers push toward a saturation point.

The two models sport 11- and 12.4-inch screens, respectively, coupled with four speakers featuring Dolby Atmos and Samsung’s own AKG tuning. The insides look fairly uniform, with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, augmentable up to 1TB by way of a microSD card. The on-board batteries are pretty nicely sized at 8,000mAh and 10,900mAh on the S7 and S7+, respectively. Definitely curious to see how much of an impact 5G will have on life.

The tablets are arriving at some point this fall, starting at $650 for the S7 and $850 for the S7+. No word yet on pricing for timing or the 5G models, however, but Samsung promises they’ll be hitting the States at some point.

#5g, #galaxy-tab, #hardware, #samsung, #samsung-galaxy-tab

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Nebraska and Iowa win advanced wireless testbed grants for rural broadband

Everyone wants more bandwidth from the skies, but it takes a lot of testing to turn laboratory research projects into real-world performant infrastructure. A number of new technologies, sometimes placed under the banner of “5G” and sometimes not, is embarking on that transition and being deployed in real-world scenarios.

Those research trials are crucial for productizing these technologies, and ultimately, delivering consumers better wireless broadband options.

We’ve talked a bit about one of those testbeds called COSMOS up in northern Manhattan near Columbia University, which is pioneering 5G technologies within a dense urban environment. The same National Science Foundation-funded research group that financed that project, the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research program (PAWR), has now selected two finalists for its fourth location, which has a specific focus on rural infrastructure.

Research teams in Ames, Iowa affiliated with the Iowa State University and Lincoln, Nebraska affiliated with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln each won $300,000 grants to accelerate their planning for the testbeds. Those teams will use the grants to optimize their proposals, with one expected to receive the final full grant next year.

The goal for this latest testbed is to find next-generation wireless technology stacks that can deliver cheaper and better bandwidth to rural America, areas of the country that are not well-served by traditional cable and fiber networks nor current wireless cell tower coverage.

Whoever wins will join the existing three wireless testbeds in New York City, Salt Lake City, and the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

PAWR itself is a joint public-private initiative with $100 million in funding to accelerate America’s frontier wireless innovation. It’s co-led by US Ignite, a NSF run initiative to bring smart city ideas to fruition, and Northeastern University.

#5g, #mobile, #us-ignite, #wireless

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Lenovo brings some unique features to its new gaming phone

Gaming phones are a weird one. They make sense on paper to some degree. As we well know, everyone’s a gamer these days, and much or most of that gaming happens on mobile devices. So why aren’t devoting gaming phones a more popular phenomenon? It’s not for lack of trying.

Lenovo’s the latest company to toss its hat in that highly-specific ring. That’s the sort of thing you can do when you’re the size of Lenovo and can experiment with such things. Gaming phones are a kind of go big or go home proposition, and the company’s doing mostly the former with the Legion Phone Duel, a mobile addition to the company’s Legion line of gaming PCs.

For starters, the handset was briefly alluded to in Qualcomm’s recent Snapdragon 865 Plus announcement — and is now is one of a very small club of phones sporting the chip. From where I sit, however, the most interesting thing about the category is the way it affords manufacturers an opportunity to experiment with ideas in a way that you don’t often see on flagships. And, indeed, there’s definitely some interesting stuff happening here.

For one thing, it’s got two batteries — something you don’t really see outside of foldables. Of course, those sport them for the very pragmatic reason that phone batteries don’t fold. Here, however, the batteries are separated to prevent overheating, leading the company the split the extremely health 5,000mAh capacity in two. You’re going to need that sort of battery for a gaming-centric 5G handset.

Also worth pointing out is the horizontal pop-up selfie camera — the most notable feature from early leaks. The idea here, of course, is that serious mobile gaming happens in the landscape configuration. As such, the design makes sense for video capture to stream to services like Twitch and YouTube. It’s a highly specific case use, of course, but this is highly specific phone. And, of course, your results of taking selfie video on the mobile device you’re using to game may vary.

Speaking of unique feature positions, there are also two separate USB-C charging ports — one in standard position on the bottom, and the other on the side. Again, the idea here is to make it as easy as possible to remain in landscape mode. If you’ve ever attempted to charge your phone and play a game at the same time, you know how much of a pain that can be.

Along with the aforementioned Snapdragon chip, you’ll also find up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. The display is 6.65 inches at 2340×1080, with a 144Hz refresh rate. The phone does not appear to be coming to the U.S. for now, but will be available this month in China (where it will be called the Legion Phone Pro), followed by the Asia Pacific region, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Latin America.

Pricing is TBD.

#5g, #gaming, #hardware, #lenovo, #mobile

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The 5G version of Samsung’s foldable Galaxy Z Flip arrives August 7

Samsung has been portioning out morsels of news in recent weeks in an attempt to prime the pump ahead of its big Unpacked event. On Monday, the company announced plans to unveiled five new “power devices” (including the new Galaxy Note) at the event. As of this morning, however, it seems the Galaxy Z Flip 5G won’t be among the mystery devices, as the company has officially made the device official today.

The device is set to arrive August 7, priced at $1,450. Not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination, but still only $170 more than the asking price of the original Galaxy Z Flip (and roughly $500 cheaper than the original Galaxy Fold. The Flip was, of course, much more positively received than the Fold, which seemed to run into one problem after another. In fact, the consensus around the device is that Samsung could have saved itself a considerable headache if it had made the Flip its first foldable.

Notably, the new version of the device is the first Samsung product announced to support Qualcomm’s newer chip after the Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G chip. There are also two new colors: Mystic Gray and Mystic Bronze. Most of the other bits and bops mentioned in the press release seem to line up with the original Flip, which launched 10 million-billion years ago, in February 2020.

The device is one of two foldables expected from the company, the other being the Galaxy Fold 2, which is expected to carry a similarly lofty price tag as its predecessor.

#5g, #foldable-smartphone, #galaxy-z-flip, #hardware, #mobile, #samsung, #samsung-galaxy-z-flip, #smartphones, #tc

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Nord is OnePlus’s sub-$500 5G handset

While other premium smartphone makers were exploring mid-tier devices amid slowing sales, OnePlus’s prices were slowly creeping up. It’s true that the company never cracked the $1,000 price point (beyond a few limited-edition models), but for those following the company’s story, it felt like it was straying a bit from its biggest appeal: flagship-quality devices at highly competitive prices.

Today’s introduction of the Nord allows the company to continue to explore a more premium path for its flagship devices, while focusing on additional markets with something more affordable. In that sense, it’s not dissimilar to the tack being taken by Apple, Google and Samsung, all of whom have offered “budget flagships” in recent years as a response to market forces.

Something that warrants mentioning right off the bat, however, is that the Nord is not coming to North America. Instead, the product is — for now, at least — limited to India and certain parts of Europe, where it will start at 27999 INR and 399 Euros, respectively, putting it firmly under the $500 price point. The other important bit of information here is that, in spite of its low price, the handset sports 5G, realizing the promise of low-cost next-gen wireless courtesy of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

It is, of course, not Qualcomm’s flagship — the 865 is reserved for the OnePlus 8, which runs a couple hundred bucks more than the Nord. But while the company skimped on certain aspects of the handset, others seem to go above and beyond the price point. OnePlus has experience offering premium design at low prices, and that’s the case here. The Nord doesn’t feel like a budget device. It’s a bit on the thick side, but the build quality is excellent, down to the glass back.

The screen is a 6.44-inch AMOLED with that 90 Hz refresh rate OnePlus has been pushing for a while. It sports the same 49-megapixel main sensor as the 8, coupled with an eight-megapixel wide angle and a depth sensor for improved bokeh effects. Interestingly, it’s actually the first OnePlus device to sport dual-selfie cameras. There’s a 32-megapixel main (the highest res front-facing camera on any of its products), coupled with an 8-megapixel wide-angle, similar to the rear.

The battery is a healthy 4,115mAh. I haven’t had the phone long enough to perform battery tests, but it will be interesting to see how it holds up to the added strain of a 5G connection. That’s coupled with OnePlus’s Warp Charge, which claims to refill it from zero to 70% in 30 minutes.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

There’s a new Blue Marble color; honestly, I’m not a fan. It’s not quite as hideous as the color scheme on the new Buds, but I’m going to strongly recommend going with the Gray Onyx here. But you do you, friend.

It goes on sale in Europe and India on August 4. There’s also an extremely limited (50-person) North America “beta program.” If you’re reading this, you’re probably not going to be on it, however. But good luck. All said, it seems to be a pretty excellent deal for the price.

#5g, #hardware, #nord, #oneplus, #smartphones

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Verizon’s 5G network is tiny—Verizon ads “falsely implied” it’s nationwide

A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.

Enlarge / A Verizon booth at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles in September 2018. (credit: Verizon)

Verizon has reluctantly agreed to stop running ads that falsely imply the carrier’s 5G mobile service is available throughout the United States.

Verizon 5G makes heavy use of millimeter-wave signals that don’t travel far and are easily blocked by walls and other obstacles. On top of that, 5G is generally only available in small areas instead of throughout entire cities. Yet Verizon has been running a commercial that “falsely implies that Verizon 5G service is broadly available nationally,” the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus said yesterday. The council also recommended that Verizon discontinue two TV commercials and refrain from making the same claims in future ads.

The NAD runs the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system that companies use to challenge each other’s advertising claims. The NAD’s critique of Verizon’s 5G ads was unusually pointed. The group said it “recommended that Verizon discontinue claims which communicate that its 5G service is widely available in cities across the country, and that its service is broadly and readily accessible in cities where it has been launched.”

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#5g, #att, #biz-it, #policy, #verizon

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Decrypted: As tech giants rally against Hong Kong security law, Apple holds out

It’s not often Silicon Valley gets behind a single cause. Supporting net neutrality was one, reforming government surveillance another. Last week, Big Tech took up its latest: halting any cooperation with Hong Kong police.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and even China-headquartered TikTok said last week they would no longer respond to demands for user data from Hong Kong law enforcement — read: Chinese authorities — citing the new unilaterally imposed Beijing national security law. Critics say the law, ratified on June 30, effectively kills China’s “one country, two systems” policy allowing Hong Kong to maintain its freedoms and some autonomy after the British handed over control of the city-state back to Beijing in 1997.

Noticeably absent from the list of tech giants pulling cooperation was Apple, which said it was still “assessing the new law.” What’s left to assess remains unclear, given the new powers explicitly allow warrantless searches of data, intercept and restrict internet data, and censor information online, things that Apple has historically opposed if not in so many words.

Facebook, Google and Twitter can live without China. They already do — both Facebook and Twitter are banned on the mainland, and Google pulled out after it accused Beijing of cyberattacks. But Apple cannot. China is at the heart of its iPhone and Mac manufacturing pipeline, and accounts for over 16% of its revenue — some $9 billion last quarter alone. Pulling out of China would be catastrophic for Apple’s finances and market position.

The move by Silicon Valley to cut off Hong Kong authorities from their vast pools of data may be a largely symbolic move, given any overseas data demands are first screened by the Justice Department in a laborious and frequently lengthy legal process. But by holding out, Apple is also sending its own message: Its ardent commitment to human rights — privacy and free speech — stops at the border of Hong Kong.

Here’s what else is in this week’s Decrypted.


THE BIG PICTURE

Police used Twitter-backed Dataminr to snoop on protests

#5g, #apple, #artificial-intelligence, #beijing, #bt, #cell-phones, #china, #companies, #data-mining, #dataminr, #decrypted, #facebook, #george-floyd, #google, #government, #huawei, #internet-data, #iphone, #law-enforcement, #microsoft, #officer, #palantir, #peter-thiel, #privacy, #security, #spokesperson, #supreme-court, #surveillance, #techcrunch, #technology, #telecommunications, #telecoms-infrastructure, #twitter, #united-kingdom, #united-states

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UK U-turns on Huawei and 5G, giving operators until 2027 to rip out existing kit

The UK government has confirmed a widely expected U-turn related to “high risk” 5G vendors linked to the Chinese state — attributing the policy shift to the US recently imposing tighter sanctions on Huawei’s access to its technologies.

UK digital minister Oliver Dowden told parliament the new policy will bar telcos from buying 5G kit from Huawei and ZTE to install in new network builds from the end of this year. While any of their kit that’s already been installed in UK 5G networks must be removed by 2027.

Although legislation to enable the enforcement of the policy has still to be laid before parliament and could face challenges from MPs who want to seek a more rapid removal of Huawei kit.

Yesterday telco BT warned against any overly rapid rip-out of existing Huawei kit, suggesting it could cause mobile network outages, generate security risks and further delay upgrades to the country’s fiber broadband network which the government included in its manifesto. BT CEO Philip Jansen had suggested an ideal timeframe of seven years to remove existing Huawei 5G kit so the government appears to have served up its best case scenario, while still piling additional cost on next-gen network builds.

Dowden conceded that the new policy will also delay the rollout of UK 5G networks but claimed the government is prioritizing security over economic considerations.

“Clearly since January the situation has changed. On the 15th of May the US Department of Commerce announced that new sanctions had been imposed against Huawei through changes to the foreign direct product rules. This was a significant material change and one that we have to take into consideration,” he told parliament.

“These sanctions are not the first attempt by the US to restrict Huawei’s ability to supply equipment to 5G networks. They are, however, the first to have potentially severe impacts on Huawei’s ability to supply new equipment in the United Kingdom. The new US measures restrict Huawei’s abilities to produce important products using US technology or software.”

Dowden said the National Cyber Security Center had reviewed the new US sanctions and “significantly” changed their security assessment as a result — saying the government would publish a summary of the advice that had led to the policy U-turn when challenged on the U-turn by the shadow digital minister.

“Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain the UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment affected by the change in US foreign direct product rules,” Dowden added.

A Telecoms Security Bill had been slated to be introduced before the summer recess but will now be delayed until autumn given the policy swerve.

In terms of costs and time associated with restricting and then ripping out Huawei kit from UK 5G networks, Dowden suggested it would add between two to three years more to 5G rollouts — and cost up to £2BN.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and I must be frank about the consequences for every constituency in this country,” he said. “This will delay our roll out of 5G. Our decisions in January had already set back that rollout by a year and cost up to a billion pounds. Today’s decision to ban the procurement of new Huawei 5G equipment from the end of this year will delay the rollout by a further year and will add up to half a billion pounds to costs.”

The additional set of requiring operators to rip out existing Huawei 5G kit by 2027 will entail “hundreds of millions of pounds” more to their costs.

“This will have real consequences for the connections on which all our connections relay,” he further cautioned, warning against that going any “faster and further” than the 2027 target — saying to do so would add “considerable and unnecessary” additional costs and delays.

“The shorter we make the timetable for removal the greater the risk of actual disruption to mobile networks,” he also said.

It’s a very significant change of government policy vs the package of restrictions announced in January when Boris Johnson’s government expressed confidence it could manage any risk associated with vendors with deep links to the Chinese state.

And Dowden faced a barrage of questions from opposition politicians about the “screeching U-turn” and the associated delays to the UK’s 5G network infrastructure from not having taken this decision six months earlier. 

Shadow digital minister Chi Onwurah said the government’s digital policy lay in tatters — and called for it to set up a multi-stakeholder taskforce to lead the infrastructure charge. “This entire saga has shown that the government cannot sort this mess out on their own,” she said. “We need a taskforce of industry representatives, academics, startups, regional government and regulators to develop a plan which delivers a UK [5G] network capability and security mobile network in the shortest possible timeframe.”

On government backbenches, Dowden’s statement was more broadly welcomed. Although Johnson has faced significant internal opposition from a group of rebel MPs in his own party to his earlier Huawei policy so it remains to be seen whether they can be convinced to back the new package. One rebel MP source, speaking to the Guardian, warned the fight is back on — saying they’ll table amendments to the telecoms security bill to further shrink the timeframe to rip out Huawei kit, including also for 3G and 4G, not just 5G.

On the issue of what’s to be done with kit from high risk vendors that’s in use in non-5G networks, the government sought to slip in another delay today — with Dowden telling parliament the issue “needs to be looked at”, and announcing a “technical consultation with operators to understand their supply chain alternatives”.

“Given there is only one other appropriate scale vendor for full fiber equipment we are going to embark on a short technical consultation with operators to understand their supply chain alternatives. So that we can avoid unnecessary delays to our Gigabit ambitions and prevent significant resilience risks,” he said.

The technical consultation will determine government policy toward Huawei outside 5G networks, Dowden added.

The government has said before it’s taking steps to increase diversification in the supply chain around 5G network infrastructure kit. Dowden reiterated that line today, saying the UK is working with Five Eyes partners to try to accelerate diversification, while tempering the ambition by couching it as a global problem.

Over the longer term he said the UK wants to encourage and support operators to use multiple vendors per network as standard, though again he cautioned that the development of such open RAN networks will take time. In the nearer, medium term, he suggested other large scale vendors would be needed to step in — saying the government is already having technical discussions with alternative telecoms kit makers, including Samsung and NEC, about accessing the UK market to plug the gap opened up by the removal of Huawei equipment.

“We are already engaging extensively with operators and vendors and governments around the world about supporting and accelerating the process of diversification. We recognize that this is a global issue that requires international collaboration to deliver a lasting solution so we’re working with our Five Eyes partners and our friends around the world to bring together a coalition to deliver our shared goals,” he added.

We’ve reached out to Huawei for comment.

#5g, #bt, #china, #europe, #huawei, #mobile, #nec, #samsung, #security, #supply-chain, #telecommunications, #uk-government, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #zte

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Rapid Huawei rip-out could cause outages and security risks, warns UK telco

The chief executive of UK incumbent telco BT has warned any government move to require a rapid rip-out of Huawei kit from existing mobile infrastructure could cause network outages for mobile users and generate its own set of security risks.

Huawei has been the focus of concern for Western governments including the US and its allies because of the scale of its role in supplying international networks and next-gen 5G, and its close ties to the Chinese government — leading to fears that relying on its equipment could expose nations to cybersecurity threats and weaken national security.

The UK government is widely expected to announce a policy shift tomorrow, following reports earlier this year that it would reverse course on so called “high risk” vendors and mandate a phase out of use of such kit in 5G networks by 2023.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning, BT CEO Philip Jansen said he was not aware of the detail of any new government policy but warned too rapid a removal of Huawei equipment would carry its own risks.

“Security and safety in the short term could be put at risk. This is really critical — because if you’re not able to buy or transact with Huawei that would mean you wouldn’t be able to get software upgrades if you take it to that specificity,” he said.

“Over the next five years we’d expect 15-20 big software upgrades. If you don’t have those you’re running gaps in critical software that could have security implications far bigger than anything we’re talking about in terms of managing to a 35% cap in the access network of a mobile operator.”

“If we get a situation where things need to go very, very fast then you’re in a situation where potentially service for 24M BT Group mobile customers is put into question,” he added, warning that “outages would be possible”.

Back in January the government issued a much delayed policy announcement setting out an approach to what it dubbed “high risk” 5G vendors — detailing a package of restrictions it said were intended to mitigate any risk, including capping their involvement at 35% of the access network. Such vendors would also be entirely barred them from the sensitive “core” of 5G networks. However the UK has faced continued international and domestic opposition to the compromise policy, including from within its own political party.

Wider geopolitical developments — such as additional US sanctions on Huawei and China’s approach to Hong Kong, a former British colony — appear to have worked to shift the political weather in Number 10 Downing Street against allowing even a limited role for Huawei.

Asked about the feasibility of BT removing all Huawei kit, not just equipment used for 5G, Jansen suggested the company would need at least a decade to do so.

“It’s all about timing and balance,” he told the BBC. “If you wanted to have no Huawei in the whole telecoms infrastructure across the whole of the UK I think that’s impossible to do in under ten years.”

If the government policy is limited to only removing such kit from 5G networks Jansen said “ideally” BT would want seven years to carry out the work — though he conceded it “could probably do it in five”.

“The current policy announced in January was to cap the use of Huawei or any high risk vendor to 35% in the access network. We’re working towards that 35% cap by 2023 — which I think we can make although it has implications in terms of roll out costs,” he went on. “If the government makes a policy decision which effectively heralds a change from that announced in January then we just need to understand the potential implications and consequences of that.

“Again we always — at BT and in discussions with GCHQ — we always take the approach that security is absolutely paramount. It’s the number one priority. But we need to make sure that any change of direction doesn’t lead to more risk in the short term. That’s where the detail really matters.”

Jansen fired a further warning shot at Johnson’s government, which has made a major push to accelerate the roll out of fiber wired broadband across the country as part of a pledge to “upgrade” the UK, saying too tight a timeline to remove Huawei kit would jeopardize this “build out for the future”. Instead, he urged that “common sense” prevail.

“There is huge opportunity for the economy, for the country and for all of us from 5G and from full fiber to the home and if you accelerate the rip out obviously you’re not building either so we’ve got to understand all those implications and try and steer a course and find the right balance to managing this complicated issue.

“It’s really important that we very carefully weigh up all the different considerations and find the right way through this — depending on what the policy is and what’s driving the policy. BT will obviously and is talking directly with all parts of government, [the National] Cyber Security Center, GCHQ, to make sure that everybody understands all the information and a sensible decision is made. I’m confident that in the end common sense will prevail and we will head down the right direction.”

Asked whether it agrees there are security risks attached to an accelerated removal of Huawei kit, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre declined to comment. But a spokesperson for the NCSC pointed us to an earlier statement in which it said: “The security and resilience of our networks is of paramount importance. Following the US announcement of additional sanctions against Huawei, the NCSC is looking carefully at any impact they could have to the U.K.’s networks.”

We’ve also reached out to DCMS for comment. Update: A government spokesperson said: “We are considering the impact the US’s additional sanctions against Huawei could have on UK networks. It is an ongoing process and we will update further in due course.”

#5g, #broadband, #bt, #china, #europe, #gchq, #huawei, #mobile, #national-cyber-security-centre, #security, #telecommunications, #telecoms-infrastructure, #uk-government, #united-kingdom, #united-states

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Motorola announces €349 5G phone for Europe, promises a sub-$500 model for US this year

Last year Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 765, promising to usher in an era of low-cost 5G devices. Motorola, naturally, was more than happy to take advantage of the technology. While the company has been flirting with premium devices (with mixed results), budget devices will almost certainly be the company’s bread and butter for the foreseeable future.

Today the Lenovo brand announced the launch of the Moto G 5G. Set for release tomorrow in Europe, the device is most notable for its €349 ($395) starting price, which puts it well below the market average, as 5G continues to be the realm of the flagship for many competitors.

The device has a number of other features on-board worth noting, including a 21:9 6.7-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a quad-camera set up on the rear. That second bit includes a 48-megapixel main camera with quad pixel tech to allow for more light in shots, an ultra-wide lens, a dedicated macro lens for closeups and a depth-sensing camera.

The macro lens is still fairly rare on smartphones, with Motorola really being the one company that has included the tech on multiple models. For most, it’s probably more a nice curiosity, though there are certainly occasions that call for it. Speaking of curiosities, there’s also a dual-selfie camera on the front, which includes a 16-megapixel main and a wide-angle to cram more people into shots.

Honestly, it’s shaping up to be a pretty interesting product, as far as budget handsets go. There’s also a healthy 5,000 mAh battery, which should go a ways toward keeping the phone alive even with the demands of 5G and the 90 Hz display. The base-level version comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and another  €50 will get you 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’s also coming to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in “coming months.”

Meanwhile, Motorola’s also promising to deliver on a sub-$500 5G handset for the North American market at some time in the fall, adding to the Moto 5G Mod for the Z line as a method for accessing the next-gen wireless tech with its devices.

#5g, #hardware, #mobile, #motorola, #smartphones

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5G was going to unite the world—instead it’s tearing us apart

An illustration of 5G signals over the Chicago skyline.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Photographer is my life)

The world came together to build 5G. Now the next-generation wireless technology is pulling the world apart.

The latest version of the 5G technical specifications, expected Friday, adds features for connecting autonomous cars, intelligent factories, and Internet-of-things devices to crazy-fast 5G networks. The blueprints reflect a global effort to develop the technology, with contributions from more than a dozen companies from Europe, the US, and Asia.

And yet, 5G is also pulling nations apart—with the United States and China anchoring the tug-of-war. Tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade, human rights, the handling of COVID-19, and Chinese misinformation are escalating global divisions around the deployment of 5G. A growing number of countries are aligning with either a Western or a Chinese version of the tech.

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#5g, #policy, #wired

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Sprint 5G is no more, as T-Mobile focuses on its own network

A day after formally completing the sale of Boost, Virgin and other Sprint prepaid networks to Dish, T-Mobile is pulling the plug on Sprint 5G. The move is one in a long list of issues that need sorting out in the wake of April’s $26.5 billion merger. And like a number of other moves, it’s set to leave some customers in the lurch.

The end of Sprint’s 2.5 GHz 5G comes as T-Mobile opts to focus on its own network. T-Mobile already started the process in New York City, a few weeks after the merger and has since completed it in a handful of other cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

As CNET notes, while most existing Sprint 5G customers won’t be able to make the transition with their existing device, Samsung Galaxy S20 5G users are in the clear here. For everyone else, T-Mobile is offering up credits on leases for new 5G handsets.

T-Mobile told TechCrunch in a statement, “We are working to quickly re-deploy, optimize and test the 2.5GHz spectrum before lighting it up on the T-Mobile network.”

Along with the sale of Boost, 5G was a big selling point for T-Mobile’s Sprint acquisition. The carriers argued that the deal was necessary to keep them competitive with first and second place carriers AT&T and Verizon when it came to the next-generation wireless technology.

At the time FCC chairman Ajit Pai agreed stating, “This transaction will provide New T-Mobile with the scale and spectrum resources necessary to deploy a robust 5G network across the United States.”

Earlier this week, OpenSignal awarded T-Mobile the top spot in availability, noting, “In the U.S., T-Mobile won the 5G Availability award by a large margin with Sprint and AT&T trailing with scores of 14.1% and 10.3%, respectively.”

#5g, #mobile, #sprint, #t-mobile

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T-Mobile already trying to get out of merger conditions on 5G and hiring

A T-Mobile logo on the window of a store.

Enlarge / A T-Mobile logo at a store in New York on April 30, 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

T-Mobile is already trying to get out of merger conditions imposed by state regulators in California less than three months after completing its acquisition of Sprint.

T-Mobile yesterday filed a petition with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), asking the agency to provide two extra years to meet 5G build-out requirements and to eliminate a requirement to add 1,000 new employees. T-Mobile, which had agreed to other conditions imposed by the federal government, completed the Sprint merger on April 1 without waiting for California’s approval. T-Mobile claimed the state has no jurisdiction over wireless transactions. CPUC, which says it does have jurisdiction, imposed conditions when it approved the merger on April 16.

T-Mobile’s petition to CPUC could be a prelude to a lawsuit against California if the carrier doesn’t get what it wants. On 5G, T-Mobile’s petition targets a condition requiring average speeds of 300Mbps to 93 percent of California by the end of 2024. T-Mobile asked the CPUC for an extra two years to comply, saying it should have until the end of 2026. T-Mobile claims the 2024 date was a mistake “because the 2024 date was a proxy—used [by T-Mobile] at the beginning of the regulatory approval process in 2018—for the period ending six years after closing (which of course occurred in 2020).” Changing the deadline to 2026 would bring the condition “in line with the company’s network model, which includes coverage projections for three- and six-year periods from close,” T-Mobile said.

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#5g, #biz-it, #california, #cpuc, #merger, #policy, #sprint, #t-mobile

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Apple is now worth 1.5 trillion dollars

Monochrome line graph shows a steady rise.

The Nasdaq chart representing Apple’s stock performance over the past five years. (credit: Nasdaq)

Today, Apple became the first US company to achieve a $1.5 trillion market capitalization. The stock surged even as investors began pulling back in many other areas of the economy.

Reasons given by investors for the optimism include anticipation of the launch of a 5G iPhone this fall, signs of strong App Store sales, and interest in the potential of ARM-driven Macs, based on a Bloomberg report yesterday that said Apple may announce an ARM transition at its annual developer conference later this month.

Yesterday and today, Apple’s movement ran counter to most of the rest of the market, where investors’ actions have reflected fear of a global coronavirus resurgence and anticipation of bad news from the US Federal Reserve in a report due out today.

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#5g, #aapl, #apple, #arm, #iphone, #stocks, #tech

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A $350 “anti-5G” device is just a 128MB USB stick, teardown finds

Photo of a USB stick sold on the 5GBioShield website.

Enlarge / The 5GBioShield, a USB stick that allegedly protects you from 5G and other radio signals. (credit: 5GBioShield)

Believers of 5G conspiracy theories have apparently been buying a $350 anti-5G USB key that—not surprisingly—appears to just be a regular USB stick with only 128MB of storage.

As noted by the BBC today, the “5GBioShield” USB stick “was recommended by a member of Glastonbury Town Council’s 5G Advisory Committee, which has called for an inquiry into 5G.” The company that sells 5GBioShield claims it “is the result of the most advanced technology currently available for balancing and prevention of the devastating effects caused by non-natural electric waves, particularly (but not limited to) 5G, for all biological life forms.”

The product’s website charges £283 for a single 5GBioShield, which converts to nearly $350. That’s what it costs to get “protection for your home and family, thanks to the wearable holographic nano-layer catalyser, which can be worn or placed near to a smartphone or any other electrical, radiation or EMF emitting device.”

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#5g, #policy

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