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Apple Music With Hi-Res May Be Launching Soon | TECHBYTESApple could be adding a new Hi-Fi tier to its Apple Music, offering high-resolution music streaming to better compete with Spotify.
Sources close to Hits Daily Double claim the announcement will be made within weeks.
This means the new "Hi-Fi" tier will bring CD-quality, lossless audio to iPhones and iPads.
Details are sketchy at the moment, but the new Apple Music HiFi will reportedly cost $9.99 per user, the same as its individual plans.
Essentially, Apple Music HiFi will provide a high-quality
Apps limited to max of 5GB RAM in iPadOS: ReportDespite Apple offering the M1 iPad Pro in configurations with 8GB and 16GB of RAM, developers are now indicating that apps are limited to just 5GB of RAM usage, regardless of the configuration, the app is running on.
The M1 iPad Pro comes in two memory configurations -- the 128GB, 256GB and 512GB models feature 8GB of RAM, while the 1TB and 2TB variants offer 16GB of memory, the highest ever in an iPad.
Even with the unprecedented amount of RAM on the iPad, developers are reportedly severely limited in the amount they can use, MacRumors reported on Friday.
Posted by the developer behind the graphic and design app Artstudio Pro on the Procreate Forum, apps can only use 5GB of RAM on the new M1 iPad Pros.
Attempting to use anymore will cause the app to crash, the developer said.
According to the report, after making stress tests and other tests on the new M1 iPad Pro with 16GB of RAM, it turned out that the app can use only 5GB of RAM.
Following the release of its M1-optimised app, Procreate also noted on Twitter that with either 8GB or 16GB of available RAM, the app is limited by the amount of RAM it can use.
The previous maximum RAM in an iPad was last year's iPad Pro which featured 6GB of RAM, regardless of storage configuration.
Given, a 5GB limit on apps imposed by iPadOS wouldn't necessarily ring any alarm bells as developers would have access to the majority of the available memory, the report said.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/apps-limited-to-max-of-5gb-ram-in-ipados-report/83064375
Apple sued over false accusations in Apple Store theftsSan Francisco: Apple is being sued by a man due to repeated accusations that he was behind numerous thefts at Apple Stores in the US, attempted robberies that were conducted by others who were impersonating him.
The lawsuit, filed on May 28 in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, is suing Apple and Security Industry Specialists, a contractor working for Apple on store security.
The lawsuit claims the plaintiff Ousmane Bah was falsely accused of performing some Apple Store thefts, which led to his arrest in New York in November 2018, AppleInsider reported.
The lawsuit appears to be a continuation of another legal action by Bah against Apple and SIS, launched in April 2019.
It seems the claims are the same as in that lawsuit, but specifically takes aim at the activities in the Massachusetts Apple Stores.
According to the lawsuit, Bah received a learner's permit for driving in New York state in March 2018, which took the form of a printout that contained details of his height, weight, date of birth, and eye colour, but not his photograph.
Bah lost his temporary permit within the following two months but had received a permanent plastic version with his photograph.
The missing temporary permit is alleged to have been used by someone else as identification for an Apple Store theft in Greenwich, Connecticut in April 2018.
The man is said to have not resembled Bah at all, aside from being Black, such as being 6 foot 1 inch tall when Bah is 5 foot 7 inches.
Bah said Apple and SIS created a record for Bah as the thief in the video and published the information to both SIS agents and Apple Stores in the US.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/apple-sued-over-false-accusations-in-apple-store-thefts/83087293
Intel reiterates chip supply shortages could last several yearsTAIPEI: Intel Corp's CEO said on Monday it could take several years for a global shortage of semiconductors to be resolved, a problem that has shuttered some auto production lines and is also being felt in other areas, including consumer electronics.
Pat Gelsinger told a virtual session of the Computex trade show in Taipei that the work-and-study-from-home trend during the COVID-19 pandemic had led to a "cycle of explosive growth in semiconductors" that has placed huge strain on global supply chains.
"But while the industry has taken steps to address near term constraints it could still take a couple of years for the ecosystem to address shortages of foundry capacity, substrates and components."
Gelsinger had told The Washington Post in an interview in mid-April the shortage was going to take "a couple of years" to abate, and that it planned to start producing chips within six to nine months to address shortages at U.S. car plants.
Intel announced a $20 billion plan in March to expand its advanced chip manufacturing capacity, building two factories in Arizona and opening its plants to outside customers.
"We plan to expand to other locations in the U.S. and Europe, ensuring a sustainable and secure semiconductor supply chain for the world," Gelsinger said, without elaborating.
Intel's plans could directly challenge the two other companies in the world that can make the most advanced chips - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
The two have come to dominate the semiconductor manufacturing business, moving its centre of gravity from the United States, where much of the technology was once invented, to Asia, where more than two-thirds of advanced chips are now manufactured.
Intel unveils fastest chip for laptops, 5G product for PCsChip giant Intel on Monday announced a pair of new 11th Gen U-series chips, one of which marks the first 5GHz clock speed for thin and light laptops.
At the virtual 'Computex 2021' tech event, the company also introduced its first 5G product for the next generation of PC experiences, called Intel 5G Solution 5000, following the previously announced collaboration with MediaTek and Fibocom.
The two new mobile U-series processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics are called Core i7-1195G7 and Core i5-1155G7.
The Core i7-1195G7 is the one that is the most powerful one, achieving 5.0GHz clock speed.
The new 11th Gen mobile chips offer four-core and eight-threads configurations.
"We've taken the world's best processor for thin-and-light Windows laptops and made the experience even better with the addition of our two new 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics," said Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms.
"In addition, we know real-world performance and connectivity are vital to our partners and the people who rely on PCs every day, so we're continuing that momentum with more platform capabilities and choice in the market with the launch of our first 5G product for PCs: the Intel 5G Solution 5000," he added.
The Intel 5G Solution 5000 claims to deliver nearly five-times speed increases over Intel Gigabit Long-Term Evolution (LTE) from anywhere.
Acer, ASUS and HP are among the first OEMs expected this year to enable modern connected laptops with the Intel 5G Solution 5000 based on 11th Gen Intel Core U- and H-series processors.
The Intel 5G Solution 5000 builds on two recently announced collaborations with ecosystem partners, China Mobile, HP and MediaTek and DoCoMo and HP, to usher a new generation of fully connected PCs, the company said.
Realme expands Smart TV 4K lineup with new 43-inch, 50-inch models priced from Rs 27,999Chinese smartphone maker Realme Monday launched new models of Realme Smart TV 4K in two sizes--43-inch and 50-inch, priced at Rs 27,999 and Rs 39,999, respectively.
The smart TVs will go on sale from June 4, 2021, 12 noon onwards at Realme .com, Flipkart, and mainline channels.
The new 4K LED smart TVs come equipped with Dolby Vision that offers high-dynamic-range (HDR) with a wide color gamut of up to 83% NTSC and 90% DCI-P3.
The Realme Smart TV 4K further provides seven display modes--Standard, Vivid, Sport, Movie, Game, Energy Saving, and User.
The Realme Smart TV 4K features a 4K UHD processor by Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek, a quad-core 64-bit architecture, an ARM Cortex-A53 1.5GHz CPU, and a Mali G52 GPU. The hardware is paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB of flash ROM that powers the Android 10-based TV platform.
On the media and entertainment side, the Realme Smart TV 4K comes with 24W quad stereo speakers located at the bottom of the TV, comprising one full-range speaker and one tweeter. The speaker setup is claimed to reproduce sound from 148Hz to 20,000Hz.
The speaker hardware is combined with the Dolby Atmos immersive audio technology and DTS HD Sound System, a home theatre audio format of surround sound audio technology for movie production.
Additionally, the smart TVs are equipped with hands-free voice control, in combination with Google Assistant that allows the users to check information or control the TV and AIoT devices with the Google voice assistant.
It also comes with the TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification.
The Realme Smart TV 4K comes with a one-year warranty plus a one more year screen warranty.
"The first range of Smart TV by Realme was a huge success and we are hoping our customers will show the same affection to the new range of Smart 4K TVs. Our vision is to provide customers with a relaxing viewing experience and to bring best-in-class technology to every Indian in order to build smart, free, trendsetting, and connected lifestyles," said Madhav Sheth, Vice President, Realme and Chief Executive Officer, Realme India and Europe.
"Whether you love watching movies, streaming shows, or gaming, these Realme TVs with the immersive sound of Dolby Atmos® and the ultra-vivid picture of Dolby Vision® will take your entertainment experience to the next level", added Ashim Mathur, Senior Regional Director, Emerging Markets, Dolby Laboratories.
Realme launches X7 Max 5G powered by Dimensity 1200 chipset from Rs 26,999Chinese smartphone brand Realme Monday expanded its X-series smartphone range with the launch of X7 Max 5G, which is also its first smartphone powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 5G chipset.
The Realme X7 Max 5G comes in two variants--8GB RAM+128GB ROM priced at Rs 26,999, and 12GB RAM+256GB ROM priced at Rs 29,999.
It will be available in three colors--Mercury Silver, Asteroid Black, and Milky Way.
It will go on sale from June 4, 2021, 12 noon onwards at Realme.com, Flipkart, and mainline channels.
Features-wise, the Realme X7 Max 5G smartphone comes with a 6.43-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, with a 20:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, and a 360Hz touch sampling rate. It is claimed to offer a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, and a 91.7% screen-to-body ratio.
Under the hood, it packs a 6nm-based Dimensity 1200 5G chipset having a "1+3+4" octa-core architecture that combines one A78 ultra-large core at 3GHz, three A78 large cores, and four low-power cores. It supports dual-channel UFS3.1, too.
Thanks to 5G connectivity, it offers 5G+5G Dual SIM Dual Standby for independent networking with standalone (SA) network, along with support for Voice Over 5G New Radio (VoNR) and 5G carrier aggregation.
The smartphone is powered by a 4500mAh battery that supports 50W SuperDart Charger that is said to charge 50% of the battery in about 16 minutes.
The rear side of the smartphone houses a triple-camera setup of a 64MP primary Sony IMX682 sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 2MP macro lens. It packs a 16MP camera at the front.
The Realme X7 Max 5G comes with Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res, in addition to Realme UI 2.0 based on Android 11.
It is IPX4 certified which means the smartphone is resistant to water splashes from any direction.
"Realme believes that the next-gen flagship chipsets should feature new processes, new architecture, and new 5G technology to deliver cutting-edge performance and the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 in Realme X7 Max 5G will provide a far advanced dual 5G experience to our users. Realme believes in providing future-ready devices to its customers and with Realme X7 Max 5G we believe the young users will be able to cherish the benefits of advanced 5G technology," said Madhav Sheth, Vice President, Realme and Chief Executive Officer, Realme India and Europe.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/realme-launches-x7-max-5g-powered-by-dimensity-1200-chipset-from-rs-26999/83110792
Japanese companies to develop chipmaking technology with TSMC: NikkeiAbout 20 Japanese companies, including electronic component maker Ibiden Co, will work with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) to develop chip manufacturing technology in Japan, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Japan's government will pay half of the 37 billion yen ($337 million) cost of a research facility, The Nikkei said, without disclosing its sources.
TSMC in February said it will spend about $178 million to open a material research subsidiary near Tokyo.
In a statement to Reuters, TSMC said that facility "aims to leverage more expertise in the field of materials to bring value to the industry".
"We appreciate the support from Japan's government for us to drive semiconductor technology advancement together with TSMC's partners in Japan," it added, without elaborating.
Japan wants to cooperate with the Taiwanese company to help its semiconductor manufacturers to stay competitive as chip demand grows with the expansion of 5G infrastructure, autonomous driving technology, data centres and artificial intelligence (AI).
Ibiden did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Samsung sales drop in Q1 foundry market on US plant suspensionSeoul: Samsung Electronics maintained the second spot in the foundry market in the first quarter of the year, but its share fell slightly due to the temporary shutdown of its chip plant in the US, a report showed on Monday.
Samsung's foundry business logged a market share of 17 percent in the January-March period, down from 18 percent a quarter earlier, after its revenue dropped 2 percent to $4.108 billion, according to the latest report from industry tracker TrendForce.
"This February, a freak winter storm in Texas caused power outages in Austin and forced Samsung to temporarily shut down its fab Line S2 that was located in the vicinity," TrendForce said.
"The suspension of wafer input at the fab for almost a whole month caused Samsung to become one of the very few foundries that posted a revenue drop for 1Q21."
Samsung, also the world's largest memory chip producer, earlier said it suffered more than 300 billion won ($270 million) in damage due to a wafer production disruption at its Texas plant, reports Yonhap news agency.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) raised its dominant market share by 1 percentage point to 55 percent in the first quarter with revenue of $12.9 billion, up 2 percent from the last three months of 2020.
"TSMC's main revenue drivers have been its 7nm and 16/12nm nodes," it said. "The revenue from the 7nm foundry service has kept climbing at a stable pace thanks to orders from AMD, MediaTek, and Qualcomm, registering a QoQ increase of 23 percent for 1Q21."
Another Taiwanese chipmaker, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), took the No. 3 spot in the foundry market with a 7 percent share, with its revenue increasing 5 percent quarter-on-quarter to $1.67 billion.
The quarterly total revenue of the top 10 foundries rose by 1 percent quarter-on-quarter to a record high of $22.75 billion in the first quarter, according to TrendForce.
"Owing to soaring demands for various end devices, manufacturers have been ramping up their component procurement activities, and foundry capacities, as a result, have been in shortage since 2020, with various foundries raising their wafer prices and adjusting their product mixes to ensure profitability," it said.
The market researcher predicted that the total revenue of the top 10 foundries will likely reach a new high with a 1-3 percent increase expected in the second quarter of the year.
Japan's Renesas sees fire-damaged chip plant back to full capacity by mid-JuneTOKYO: Renesas Electronics Corp on Tuesday said restoring full production capacity at a fire-damaged chip plant in Japan would take longer than expected, predicting a return to normal by mid-June rather than the previously estimated end of May.
Capacity on the Naka plant's 300mm chip line in eastern Japan had returned to about 88% of pre-fire levels at the end of May, the company said in a statement. All new equipment would be installed and switched on "by mid-June", it added.
The fire, caused by an electrical fault, was a blow to carmakers around the world already struggling to find enough automotive semiconductors. Renesas makes nearly a third of the microcontroller chips used in cars around the world.
An area of 600 square meters (6,458 square feet) was burned in the fire, with 23 machines destroyed and the ultra-sensitive clean room needed for chip manufacturing filled with smoke and soot.
The Japanese government called on equipment makers to help Renesas, while customers, including Toyota Motor Corp sent officials to help the chipmaker restart the line.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/japans-renesas-sees-fire-damaged-chip-plant-back-to-full-capacity-by-mid-june/83136001
Twitter partners RazorPay for Tip Jar service, in talks with othersAs it enables iOS and Android users in India to send money or 'tip directly to their select favourite accounts with substantial followers, Twitter has collaborated with payments gateway provider RazorPay to facilitate the Tip Jar feature in the country.
Reliable sources told IANS on Thursday that Twitter, which is also in talks with other payments providers in the country, will not charge its users for the 'Tip Jar' service.
Once you clicks on the 'Tip Jar' icon, you will be redirected to a Razorpay payments gateway webpage in a usually manner, and you can then pay via various modes like UPI, net banking, debit or credit cards etc.
Currently, the 'Tip Jar' feature supports a variety of payment options and links like Bandcamp, Cash App (owned by Square, a Jack Dorsey company), Patreon, Paypal and Venmo.
At the moment, only a small group of people including non-profits, journalists and creators around the world who use Twitter in English will be able to add Tip Jar to their profile and receive tips.
Everyone using Twitter in English can send tips or cash gifts to a limited number of accounts. Turning on Tip Jar adds an icon next to the Follow button on your profile page,
You will also be able to toggle the Tip Jar feature. Android users will be able to send money in Twitter's audio chat app Spaces.
"We're updating our tipping prompt and Help Center to make it clearer that other apps may share info between people sending/receiving tips, per their terms," Twitter had said.
New rules designed to prevent misuse of social media; WhatsApp users have nothing to fear: Prasad IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said that WhatsApp users have nothing to fear about new social media rules, that are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms, and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal. Prasad said that the government welcomes criticism including the right to ask questions.
"The rules only empower the ordinary users of social media when they become victims of abuse and misuse," Prasad posted on micro-blogging platform Koo, and also tweeted.
The government fully recognises and respects the right of privacy, he asserted.
"Ordinary users of WhatsApp have nothing to fear about the new Rules. Its entire objective is to find out who started the message that led to commissioning of specific crimes mentioned in the Rules," Prasad added.
The new IT rules require the social media companies to set up an India-based grievance redressal officer, compliance officer and nodal officer "so that millions of users of social media who have a grievance get a forum for its redressal", he said.
The government on Wednesday had staunchly defended its new digital rules, saying the requirement of messaging platforms like WhatsApp to disclose origin of flagged messages does not violate privacy, and went on to seek a compliance report from large social media firms.
The new rules, announced on February 25, require large social media platforms -- defined as those with over 50 lakh users in the country -- to follow additional due diligence, including appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.
Non-compliance with rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.
Twitter asks IT Ministry for 3-month extension on new rulesWith WhatsApp suing the Indian government over the new IT rules for social media platforms, Twitter on Thursday requested the IT Ministry to consider a minimum of three-month extension in order for the company to implement the new intermediary guidelines.
Twitter, which witnessed a police raid on its offices in Delhi and Gurugram early this week related to the alleged Congress toolkit controversy, said that it reaffirms that Twitter continues to accept grievances from users and law enforcement via its existing grievance redressal channel available under the new IT Rules.
Stressing that it will strive to comply with applicable law in India, a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement that right now, "we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve".
"We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules," Twitter said in its first reaction after the police raids on its offices.
On Monday, Delhi Police visited Twitter India's local offices in the National Capital Region after Twitter had marked one of the tweets of BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as "manipulated media".
Twitter's presumptive judgement has triggered widespread outrage among Indian users across the country.
The company spokesperson said that it plans to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation.
"We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian government and believe it is critical to adopt a collaborative approach. It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public," the spokesperson said.
The new rules notified in the gazette of India on February 25 under the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021, came into effect from May 26.
WhatsApp has moved the Delhi High Court against the new IT rules for intermediaries, saying these would violate privacy.
Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said the government is committed to the right to privacy, but simultaneously it also has to maintain law and order and ensure national security.
The Union Ministry of Electronics and IT has written to the social media platforms, directing them to respond on their compliance to the new digital rules as soon as possible.
Facebook has said that the company aims to comply with the provisions of the new intermediary guidelines and is working towards it.
Twitter said in its fresh statement that it is particularly concerned about the requirement to make an individual (the compliance officer) criminally liable for content on the platform, the requirements for proactive monitoring, and the blanket authority to seek information about our customers.
"This represents dangerous overreach that is inconsistent with open, democratic principles," the company argued.
"We urge the Ministry of Electronics and IT to publish these Standard Operating Protocols on procedural aspects of compliance for public consultation. We would request the Ministry to consider a minimum of 3 months extension in order for Twitter to implement the Rules".
Twitter was recently served with a non-compliance notice and have withheld a portion of the content identified in the blocking order under its 'Country Withheld Content' policy.
"The content identified was originally reported to us in the blocking orders issued since February 2021. We maintain that the content reported in the original order constitutes protected, legitimate free speech, under Indian and international law, and we have formally communicated this to the government," the company informed.
Twitter said that it has not taken any action on verified accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists and politicians.
"The escalated content constitutes legitimate free speech. Yet, due to the law's limited scope under Section 69A which gives limited room to an intermediary to defend the content, we have been compelled to withhold in response to a non-compliance notice. Not doing so poses penal consequences with many risks for Twitter employees," the company noted.
Paytm plans to launch India's biggest IPO later this yearPaytm, India's leading digital payments provider, is aiming to raise about Rs 21,800 crore ($3 billion) in an initial public offering (IPO) late this year, according to a person familiar with the deal, in what could be the country's largest debut ever.
The startup, backed by investors including Berkshire Hathaway Inc., SoftBank Group Corp. and Ant Group Co., plans to list in India around November and its offering could coincide with the Diwali festival season, said the person, asking not to be named because the details are private.
Paytm, formally called One97 Communications Pvt. Ltd., is targeting a valuation of around $25 billion to $30 billion from the IPO. The One97 board plans to meet this Friday to formally approve the Paytm IPO, said the person.
Paytm declined to comment in response to emailed questions.
If successful, the Paytm IPO would surpass Coal India Ltd.'s offering, which raised more than Rs 15,000 crore in 2010 in the country's largest IPO so far.
Banks shortlisted to run the Paytm IPO include Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., with Morgan Stanley the leading contender, the person said. The process is expected to get rolling in late June or early July. The banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The public market debut will include a mix of new and existing shares to meet regulatory obligations in India. The country's regulations require that 10% of shares are floated within two years and 25% within five years.
Paytm, led by founder and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma, has been focusing on ramping up revenue and monetising its services over the past year. It's expanded beyond digital payments into banking, credit cards, financial services, wealth management and digital wallets. It also supports India's financial payments backbone, the Unified Payments Interface or UPI.
Paytm has fended off stiff competition from a swath of global players including Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe, Google Pay, Amazon Pay as well as Facebook Inc.-owned WhatsApp Pay. It has the biggest market share of India's merchant payments.
Paytm has over 20 million merchant partners and its users make 1.4 billion monthly transactions, according to numbers in a recent company blog post.
In a recent conversation, CEO Sharma said Paytm had its best ever quarter in the first three months of this year after pandemic-related spending spurred digital payments.
Oppo partners Thales to launch first 5G SA-compatible eSIMChinese smartphone brand Oppo Thursday launched the first 5G standalone (SA)-compatible eSIM on its 5G smartphone, the Oppo Find X3 Pro, developed in collaboration with eSIM connectivity management company, Thales.
"The 5G Standalone (SA) eSIM-based Oppo Find X3 Pro will provide users with the advanced 5G experience offered by 5G SA networks, as well as providing both users and mobile operators with the benefits of eSIM technology," Oppo said in a statement.
The two companies jointly collaborated on eSIM server validation, device debugging, verification, function development, etc., the statement added.
Unlike traditional SIMs that need to be physically inserted into devices, an eSIM or embedded SIM comes integrated with the device.
In addition to smartphones and wearable devices, eSIMs are also increasingly finding their use in connected vehicles and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Furthermore, as Oppo's key eSIM solutions partner, Thales eSIM solutions have also been included in the Oppo Watch, the smartphone brand's first watch with built-in cellular connectivity.
"Through our technical collaboration with Thales, we have made the Find X3 Pro one of the first devices in the world to be equipped with 5G SA-Compatible eSIM. As 5G SA networks are being deployed around the world, the addition of 5G SA-Compatible eSIM brings more possibilities for Find X3 Pro users worldwide," said Xia Yang, Senior Director of Carrier Product, Oppo.
"We are honored to continue our partnership with Oppo, for validating and commercializing the first 5G SA-Compatible eSIM on the Oppo Find X3 Pro," added Jérôme Bendell, Vice President of Thales North Asia and CEO of Thales in China.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/oppo-partners-thales-to-launch-first-5g-sa-compatible-esim/83001077
India's wearables market shipped 11.4 million units in 1Q21, up 170.3% on-year: IDCDriven by demand amid pandemic, the Indian wearables market (earwear, wristband, and watch) grew strongly at 170.3% on-year in 1Q21, shipping 11.4 million units, according to the recent data from the International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report.
The strong growth in the watch and earwear categories led to the highest ever first-quarter shipments in India. The watches category grew 463.8% on-year in 1Q21 to become the fastest-growing category in wearables, while the wristwear category (wristbands and watches) grew 74.8% on-year.
The earwear category too enjoyed a triple-digit growth of 209.3% in 1Q21.
"The ongoing consumer enthusiasm for earwear devices demonstrates the category's healthy appetite. Vendors are trying to capitalize on the ride with low and mid-priced devices. This is not only helping lower the category's ASP but also adding improved features to acquire new users," said Anisha Dumbre, Market Analyst, IDC India.
Category-wise, wristbands declined 22.4% on-year in 1Q21, finishing the quarter with 760,000 unit shipments. It was led by China's Xiaomi. OnePlus, the new entrant in this category replaced Realme for the second position.
Meanwhile, 1.4 million watches were shipped in 1Q21, the second quarter in a row with over a million shipments of watches, as per the report. Noise continued to dominate this category, followed by boAt.
The average selling price (ASP) of the watches category fell to $88 in 1Q21 due to the surge of low-cost devices in the market as vendors attempt to capitalize on this market by introducing more affordable devices.
The earwear category grew 209.3% on-year with 9.3 million shipments in the first quarter of the year, led by boAt at the first position and OnePlus, respectively.
The Truly Wireless Stereo (TWS) category grew 284.4% on-year with a 35.0% share in the overall earwear category. It was led by boAt while OnePlus finished second, mainly supported by OnePlus Buds Z.
However, shipments for overall wearables fell by 24.9% sequentially in 1Q21, owing primarily to a drop in earwear shipments which experienced an on-quarter decline of 28.6% in 1Q21.
"The second wave of the pandemic has caused a sudden stir across vendors and channel partners, impacting the planned launches to postpone and delay in deliveries. However, over last year, the value of wearables has rapidly expanded, and hence, the demand for these devices is expected to continue strong in 2021," said Jaipal Singh, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/indias-wearables-market-shipped-11-4-million-units-in-1q21-up-170-3-on-year-idc/83002761
OnePlus TV 40Y1 With Android TV 9-Based OxygenPlay, Built-in Chromecast | TAMIL | TECHBYTESOnePlus TV 40Y1 has launched in India as the latest model in the company's Y-series. The series earlier had a 32-inch and a 43-inch model, and now the new 40-inch model sits right between them. The OnePlus TV 40Y1 has a 40-inch display with slim bezels on three sides giving the TV a 93.8 percent screen-to-body ratio. It runs Android TV 9-based OxygenPlay and comes with built-in Chromecast. OnePlus TV 40Y1 features 20W speakers that support Dolby Audio.Source: https://www.youtube.com/c/TechBytesIndia/videos
Realme to launch Smart TV 4K in India on May 31Fast-growing smartphone and TV brand Realme on Monday announced it will launch Realme Smart TV 4K in India on May 31.
The Realme Smart TV 4K will come in two sizes -- 50-inch and 43-inch, featuring a spectacular viewing experience with Dolby Vision enabled 4K display and Dolby Atmos immersive audio.
"From a disruptive brand to a tech trendsetter, Realme is now working on a comprehensive ecosystem of Techlife products, including smartphones and Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) products, to offer a life driven by technology to everyone in India," the company said in a statement.
The fastest growing TV brand after its inception, Realme in 2020 launched smart TV (43-inch and 32-inch) and Realme smart TV SLED 4K in 55-inch size in 2020.
The SLED display technology is co-developed by Realme and John Rooymans, chief scientist of SPD Technology (Spectral Power Distribution).
While most LED TVs including QLED use only a blue backlight which is then turned to white, SLED uses Red, Green and Blue (RGB) LED light for the initial stage, hence reducing the harmful effects of blue light and providing higher colour purity.
"The year 2021 marks a new phase of our growth with cutting-edge advanced innovation and technology in the smart TV segment," the company said.
Apple says to hold 'WWDC21' from June 7 to June 11 Apple on Monday sent media invites for its flagship developer conference 'WWDC 2021 from June 7-11 in a virtual avatar.
The annual conference will announce latest software and technologies from Apple.
"And away we go. WWDC21, June 7-11 Join us on June 7 at 10 a.m. PDT as WWDC21 takes off with an Apple Keynote announcing our latest software and technologies," the company said in a media invite.
Free for all developers, WWDC21 will offer unique insight into the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
"We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers," Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing had said in an earlier statement..
"We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play."
WWDC21 is an opportunity for developers to learn about the new technologies, tools, and frameworks they rely on to build innovative and platform-differentiating apps and games.
WWDC21 will provide Apple's worldwide community of more than 28 million developers, as well as the next generation of app developers, with the information and tools needed to turn their ideas into reality.
This year's conference will include announcements from the keynote and State of the Union stages, online sessions, 1:1 labs offering technical guidance, and new ways for developers to interact with Apple engineers and designers to learn about the latest frameworks and technologies.
Israel signs cloud services deal with Amazon, Google Israel's government said on Monday it had signed a deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google for a more than $1 billion project to provide cloud services for the country's public sector and military.
A month ago, AWS and Google won a tender, beating out Microsoft, Oracle and IBM for the four phase project known as "Nimbus".
Finance Ministry officials said they expected to start moving data to the cloud in about two months, but it will not be a centralised system since there are two providers, while some data will not be on the cloud.
The four phases of the project include acquisition and construction of cloud infrastructure, formulating government policy for migrating to the cloud, integration and migration, and control and optimisation of cloud activity.
Nimbus is a multi-year project intended to provide a comprehensive solution for the provision of cloud services to the government, the defence system and other groups in the economy, the ministry said.
It noted that the availability of cloud services in Israel will allow significant transfer of government services to capitalise on the technological advantages in the cloud to improve services to citizens and increase economic efficiency. It will also help promote Israel's innovation and encourage the creation of an eco-system in cloud technologies, it added.
Under the deal, Google and Amazon are committed to making reciprocal purchases and industrial cooperation in Israel equivalent to 20% of the value of the contract.
Another tender process is under way to address the third part of the project, in which dozens of local suppliers will be selected to assist in the migration of government systems to the cloud and the development of systems in the cloud environment.
"They will wait for the Personal Data Protection Bill to be passed. Till then, WhatsApp will send reminders to accept the new policy and not disable any feature," a senior government official told ET. The Bill which is currently with the Joint Parliamentary Committee is likely to be tabled in the Parliament later this year.
Last week, the government directed the Facebook-owned company to withdraw its policy, saying it was harmful to the "interests of Indian citizens". The ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY), had given the company seven days to respond to its letter on May 18.
The official also said that the company in its response to the government two days ago said that it will comply with the provisions of the PDP bill whenever it comes into effect. According to experts, the Bill contains provisions relating to purpose limitation of data collection which may make the latest Whatsapp policy unviable in India.
Another senior official told that though the matter is subjudice in the Court, the government is trying to exert pressure on the company to not force the policy on Indian users. "We have taken the same stance in the Court," he said.
"We have responded to the Government of India's letter and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority. As a reminder, the recent update does not change the privacy of people's personal messages. Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement.
"We will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook," the spokesperson said. "We hope this approach reinforces the choice that all users have whether or not they want to interact with a business. We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP law comes into effect," the spokesperson added.
With over 400 million users, India has the biggest user base for WhatsApp globally.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/whatsapp-wont-limit-functionality-for-users-till-data-protection-law-comes-into-force/82928754
Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter may lose 'intermediaries' tag in two daysTop social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter are at the risk of losing their status and protections as "intermediaries" and may become liable for criminal action, if they do not comply with the IT Rules which were notified in February and come into effect from Wednesday, official sources told ET. Significant social media intermediaries were given three months time to comply with the new rules -- a deadline which expires on May 26 -- but sources said that none of the top platforms has complied till date.
If they lose their immunity as intermediaries, they will be equally responsible for any unlawful content (say obscene pictures or impersonation) as the person posting such content under the Indian Penal Code. The top requirements under the new rules were to appoint Resident Grievance Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Nodal Contact Person and publish their details on their website along with a physical contact address. The rules had also mandated traceability of the originator of messages along with provision for voluntary verification to users as a means to establish their identity.
The platforms were to also furnish monthly reports as to how many grievances were filed and settled. Sources said that the platforms sought more time -- up to six months -- for furnishing compliance but the government is unwilling to give any extension. In their defence, platforms have been saying that they are awaiting instructions from their company headquarters in the US.
"They do business in India, earn good revenue but grievance redressal will have to await instructions from the US. Some platforms like Twitter keep their own fact-checkers whose names are neither made public nor is there any transparency as to how they are selected and what is their standing," said the official.
Except one Indian social media company Koo, none of the significant social media intermediaries have appointed the officers. "The point to note is that why should the appointment of three persons namely Resident Grievance Officer, the Chief Compliance Officer and Nodal Contact Person should take more than three months? People who are victims of social media have suffered because of the abuse practically because they do not know whom to approach in social media in absence of any public information," the official said.
Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp did not immediately respond to ET requests for comments.
After Jio, Airtel plans to add airwaves in eight key marketsCompetitive intensity between Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel is set to rise. Just days after Reliance Jio said it was deploying additional spectrum across Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Bharti Airtel has set in motion plans to add airwaves in eight key markets, including Punjab and Gujarat, in the coming weeks.
Sunil Mittal-led Airtel rolled out additional airwaves in the 1800 MHz band in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Monday and will add units in the 900 MHz band in the latter two circles shortly.
Both telcos aim to boost 4G broadband coverage as vast swathes of India's corporate workforce operate from home amid lockdowns during the Covid second wave. The two operators are leveraging recent spectrum purchases to attract new data subscribers and users from Vodafone Idea. The result: consumers are unlikely to see an increase in their mobile phone bills soon.
"With the fight for mobile broadband users hotting up between Airtel and Jio via fresh spectrum deployments, tariff hikes could be delayed by at least another three months, and any revenue growth till then would come from user adds and a mix improvement via larger share of 4G users," an analyst at a global brokerage told ET.
After deploying 11.2 units and 5 units of additional 1800 MHz airwaves in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, respectively, Airtel is set to add airwaves in the 900 MHz band in Gujarat, UP-East, Kerala, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand to boost high-speed data capacity, a senior company executive told ET.
Last week, Jio deployed an extra 20 units of 4G airwaves in AP/Telangana and 15 units in Karnataka.
Airtel is also adding extra spectrum in the 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands in Punjab, MP and Odisha shortly to ramp up 4G coverage and boost 5G-readiness. It will also deploy 800 MHz spectrum in MP in a few weeks.
In the initial weeks, "Airtel is likely to go flat out to maximise 4G user gains in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu where it has the largest spectrum bank among operators," said another company executive. This, since adoption of work from home, online classes and video streaming have surged, calling for additional spectrum capacities to maintain network experience.
In the auction in March, Airtel acquired 355.45 units of airwaves worth Rs 18,699 crore and market leader Jio picked up 488.35 units in 22 circles for Rs 57,123 crore. Since both telcos have 5G-ready networks, they bulked up on crucial airwaves to cater to the surge in data usage and future-proof themselves ahead of 5G rollouts.
Tatas reviving Tata Teleservices: Company to cater to SMEs in new avatar Tata Sons is reviving telecom entity Tata Teleservices in a new avatar called Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS), which will cater to small and medium enterprises.
The revamped company will also support Tata Electronics, which was created to tap the SME segment, and its SuperApp digital platform, which will bring its various consumer services together.
TTBS has launched Smartflo, a cloud-hosted communication platform targeting SMEs that have a hybrid work culture where people work from home and remote locations. Smartflo can be accessed through mobile phones and desktops.
Tata Sons had written off its investment of Rs 28,600 crore in Tata Teleservices in 2020. The consumer mobile business was transferred to Bharti Airtel but the enterprise segment was not merged with Tata Communications. The company is being rebranded now to tap the SME sector.
Tata Communications caters primarily to large enterprises. India is estimated to have about 63 million small and medium enterprises.
TTBS will offer services including intelligent call routing, call monitoring and an option for a dashboard to check the number of inbound and outbound calls. The service can be used for banking, insurance, manufacturing, ecommerce, healthcare, fintech and SMEs, which deal with customers in large numbers.
Tata Sons has cleaned up the financial mess in the entity and will resume operations on a clean slate, top officials aware of the development said.
Tata Sons did not comment.
The holding company has put together a top team comprising of officials from Tata Teleservices, Tata Sons and Tata Communications to drive the initiative, a senior official said.
Harjit Singh Chauhan, president of the enterprise business at Tata Teleservices, is heading the revamped entity, which is also looking at the 5G space, where it will offer services to other telecom operators.
"Perhaps the most important part for 5G services will be the enterprise segment. Anybody who concentrates their resources towards that segment is following a sound approach. Its success will also depend on the timing and results of the auction of 5G spectrum as well as how the subsequent market plays out," said Mahesh Uppal, director at Com First, a telecom consultancy.
In 2020, Tata Sons made provisions of Rs 16,439 crore for its closed telecom business, taking the total amount written off to almost Rs 60,000 crore.
Tata Teleservices took a hit after its three licences were among those cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2012 for irregularities in spectrum allocations. Later, the company got into a legal spat with its partner NTT Docomo, which decided to withdraw.
Eventually, Reliance Jio's entry in 2016 and a tariff war led the Tatas to sign a pact with Bharti Airtel to hive off the consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices without any debt transfer.
Oppo Reno 5A With IP68 Build, Snapdragon 765G SoC Launched | TAMIL | TECHBYTESOppo Reno 5A has been launched in Japan with IP68 certification. The new Oppo phone comes with quad rear cameras and features a 90Hz display. Other key highlights of the Oppo Reno 5A include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC, 128GB storage, and a hole-punch design. The smartphone also comes preloaded with artificial intelligence (AI) backed features, such as an Ultra Night Video, Live HDR, and Neon Portrait. It is also capable of recording videos from both front and rear cameras simultaneously.
Oppo Reno 5A availability
Oppo Reno 5A price is yet to be revealed. However, the phone is coming to Japan's Y! Mobile early next June in Ice Blue and Silver Black colours. Details about the pricing and availability of the Reno 5A in other markets were not revealed at the time of filing this story.
The Oppo Reno 5A has been designed as the successor to the Reno 3A that was launched last year with a price tag of JPY 39,800 (roughly Rs. 26,600).
Oppo Reno 5A specifications
The Oppo Reno 5A runs on Android 11 with ColorOS 11 on top and features a 6.5-inch full-HD+ (1,080x2,400 pixels) LTPS display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a 90 Hz refresh rate. The display also has up to 180Hz touch sampling rate and 405ppi of pixel density. Under the hood, the Oppo Reno 5A has an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC, along with 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM. There is a quad rear camera setup that houses a 64-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.7 lens. The camera setup also includes an 8-megapixel secondary camera sensor with an f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor with an f/2.4 lens, and a 2-megapixel macro shooter.
For selfies and video chats, the Reno 5A offers a 16-megapixel camera sensor at the front with an f/2.0 lens. The phone also offers considerable dust and water resistance thanks to its IP68 certification.
The Oppo Reno 5A has 128GB of onboard storage that is expandable via a microSD card (up to 1TB). Connectivity options include 5G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v5.1, GPS/ A-GPS, NFC, USB Type-C, and 3.5mm headphone jack. Sensors on board include an accelerometer, ambient light, gyroscope, pedometer, and a proximity sensor. There is also a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.
Seagate may have just unveiled the world's fastest HDD | TAMIl | TECHBYTESSeagate has finally disclosed the official specs of its first dual-actuator hard disk drive (HDD) the Mach.2 Exos 2X14 and listed it on its website.
Although SSDs have now become the standard for business laptops and workstations, HDDs still have a place in data centers due to their ability to store large amounts of data relatively cheaply. However, Seagate's Mach.2 multi-actuator technology aims to speed up the rate at which HDDs can transfer data without sacrificing their storage capacity.
While traditional HDDs have one actuator with read/write heads, the company's Mach.2 drives have two in order to double both their sequential and random read/write speeds. Seagate has been working closely with Microsoft since the end of 2017 to develop its multi-actuator technology and based on the Mach.2 Exos 2X14's specs, its efforts have paid off.
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The company's first Mach.2 drive has a sustained transfer rate of 524MB/s which is even faster than its Exos 15E900, making it the fastest HDD in the world right now.
Seagate's Exos 2X14 HDD has a capacity of 14TB but the drive is essentially two 7TB HDDs fused together in a hermetically sealed helium-filled 3.5inch chassis. It features a spindle speed of 7200 RPM, a 256MB multisegmented cache and a single-port SAS 12GB/s interface.
When plugged into a server in a data center, the host system will view the Exos 2X14 as two logical drives that can be addressed independently. The sequential read/write speeds of Seagate's new HDD are so fast that the drive can even rival some inexpensive SATA/SAS SSDs at a far lower cost-per-TB.
The drive's performance increase does come at the cost of higher power consumption though and the Exos 2X14 drive consumes 7.2w in idle mode and up to 13.5W under heavy load. This amount of power is higher than the 12W usually recommended for 3.5-inch HDDS but data centers can leverage Seagate's PowerBalance capability to reduce power consumption though this does come at the cost of 50 percent lower sequential read/write speeds and five to ten percent lower random reads/writes.
While Seagate's first Mach.2 HDD is now listed on its site, the drive is only available to select customers and won't be coming to the open market anytime soon. However, there is a possibility that the company's multi-actuator technology could eventually be found in other HDDs.
Realme C25 Review | TAMIL | TECHBYTESAfter launching the C12 and C15 with identical processors and similar features last year, Realme has decided to broaden the differences between the successors to these two models in 2021. The C25 (successor to the C15) gets a significant processor upgrade in the form of the MediaTek Helio G70 (instead the older Helio G35) but at the same time, drops the camera count from four to three.
However, despite having more power, the Realme C25 already has a very notable competitor which comes from the manufacturer's own stable, the Realme Narzo 30A (Review). Launched earlier this year, the Narzo 30A gets you an even better Helio G85 processor and has a lower starting price, but also has only two rear cameras. This might leave the Realme C25 in a tough spot, as it will have to lean heavily on its third camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, to stand out. Can that feature make the Realme C25 worth its Rs 9,999 starting price? Or does the Narzo 30A make it irrelevant?
Realme C25 price in India
The Realme C25 is priced at Rs. 9,999 for the base 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, while the higher end variant with 128GB of storage is priced at Rs. 10,999. Both variants are available in new Watery Blue and Watery Grey finishes.
Realme C25 design
Just like the C15, Realme has gone with a plastic unibody with the C25. Its dimensions remain very similar to those of the Realme C15 ₹ 8,989 (Review) and so does the overall design with a new textured finish and a bold, embossed Realme logo at the back.
The camera layout looks similar too, but with the C15's quad-camera setup replaced by three cameras, the LED flash makes its way inside the module. Also, at the back is a fingerprint reader, which is quick to unlock the phone.
The triple-card SIM tray sits on the left of the phone, while the volume rocker and the power/unlock buttons are on the right. The volume rocker sits well above the power button and is hard to reach without adjusting your grip.
Despite being made out of plastic, the phone felt quite bulky at 209g and this is mainly due to the 6,000mAh battery inside. The plastic back is quite prone to scratches, but thanks to the matte finish, does not pick up fingerprints. The fine grooves of the textured back and the rounded edges offer a solid grip.
Today's Top 5 Interesting Trending Technological News | #2 | Tamil | TECHBYTES1. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (2021)
2. Microsoft Office for Android Finally Gets Dark Mode
3. OnePlus TV 40Y1 India Launch Set for May 24
4. Redmi Note 10 5G
5. Social Media Firms Asked by Government to Remove Reference to 'Indian Variant' of CoronavirusSource: https://www.youtube.com/c/TechBytesIndia/videos
Apple HomePod, Mini to support lossless audio via software updateApple is bringing its lossless audio technology to HomePod and HomePod Mini in a future software update.
Apple has developed its own lossless audio compression technology called Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC).
In a new support document, the tech giant also revealed that Apple TV 4K will only support standard lossless audio at its launch.
Apple Music will offer more than 20 million songs in lossless quality for free at the launch of ALAC technology in June that will reach over 75 million by the end of this year.
Most audio compression techniques lose some amount of data contained in the original source file.
Lossless compression is a form of compression that preserves all of the original data.
In addition to Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC), the entire Apple Music catalog is now also encoded using ALAC in resolutions ranging from "16-bit/44.1 kHz (CD Quality) up to 24-bit/192 kHz," the company informed.
Apple will deliver music using lossless audio compression to iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.
"Lossless will play back normally on Bluetooth speakers and headphones. However, Bluetooth connections don't support lossless audio," said the company.
Broadcast radio, live radio and on-demand content from Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, Apple Music Country and music videos will not be available in lossless audio.
"We're offering Apple Music subscribers the additional option to access our entire catalog encoded using lossless audio compression at no extra cost," said the company.
New Apple privacy ad highlights App Tracking TransparencyApple has shared a new privacy-focused ad highlighting how its App Tracking Transparency feature stops various kinds of tracking on the iPhone.
The ad spot follows an average smartphone user as he goes about his daily routine.
Throughout the video, everyday tasks and interactions -- which are meant to reflect common apps -- lead to people collecting more data about him and following him around, reports Apple Insider.
Eventually, the protagonist is surrounded by a large group of people all harvesting his data. But when he pulls out his iPhone and enables ATT, they all begin to disappear.
The ad spot is part of the ongoing "Privacy. That's iPhone" ad campaign, and follows a more explanatory ATT video that was published in late April.
Apple rolled out the ATT in iOS 14.5 as part of a broader privacy push. It's a relatively simple change that requires all apps to obtain permission before they track users across other apps and websites, the report said.
Although praised by digital rights and privacy groups, the feature has been criticised by advertising-dependent companies like Facebook, it added.
An analytics report from earlier in May indicated that 96 per cent of iPhone users are using ATT to opt out of tracking.
A separate survey of smartphone users in the U.S. suggested that the majority support Apple's privacy push, and at least 36 per cent said ATT was their favorite iOS 14.5 feature.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/new-apple-privacy-ad-highlights-app-tracking-transparency/82876973
5G to spur contractual staffing requirement in telecom; hiring sentiment positive: TeamLeaseThe much-awaited 5G services roll-out is expected to spur telecom contractual staffing over the next two years and will emerge as a key driver for hiring activities in the sector, according to a senior official at TeamLease.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) already set the ball in motion for 5G trials earlier this month, when it approved applications of telecom companies including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea for conducting the trials.
According to Deval Singh, Business Head- Telecom, IT and ITES, Media and Government, TeamLease Services, the outlook for contractual hiring in the sector remains positive, notwithstanding some ambiguities on account of the second severe wave of COVID-19.
"Telecom vertical is one of the biggest markets for staffing industry...this was one of the verticals which grew even during the COVID times, and I believe that trend will continue in 2021," Singh told PTI.
The 5G roll-out in future will offer a boost to the economy and to the labour market, Singh said.
"The second wave is a little ambiguous, so no one knows how the growth will be shaped. Having said that, there will be a clear impact for the next two years in telecom industry in a positive way with launch of 5G services, when it comes to economy and when it comes to labour market," Singh noted.
As per TeamLease, the talent requirement by the industry is expected to see 18 per cent growth this year, with profiles ranging from technicians to installation engineers, and from civil engineers to project managers, in demand.
The growth would have been more pronounced but for the second wave of pandemic. The industry is, however, optimistic that once the overall situation improves, 5G would galvanise job opportunities in the sector.
The demand for contractual staff in the telecom sector surged in 2020 despite the backdrop of lockdown and movement curbs, as remote working and social distancing norms drove data usage to new highs, pushing players to invest in network capacities. Telecom services have been categorised as 'essential services' amid lockdown.
"We hired over 50 per cent more in 2020, than in 2019," Singh said but did not comment on absolute numbers. TeamLease Services is a human resource company offering a solutions to over 3,500 employers for their hiring, productivity and scale challenges.
Singh said telecom companies have not put brakes on hiring, and with the government approving applications for 5G trials now, the hiring confidence is "even more".
It is pertinent to mention here that the list of telecom gear makers approved by DoT for trials include Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, C-DOT and Reliance Jio's indigenously developed technologies. The duration of the trials, at present, is for a period of six months, including a time period of two months for procurement and setting up of the equipment.
The permission letters specify that each operator would have to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings in addition to urban settings so that the benefit of the 5G technology proliferates across the country.
A recent report by Ericsson has estimated that India can potentially have 40 million 5G users in the first year when the next-generation service is made available to them.
According to Ericsson ConsumerLab report, consumers have shown willingness to pay 50 per cent more for 5G plans bundled with digital services while they want to pay only 10 per cent more for just 5G connectivity.
Samsung Notes passes 1 billion installs on Play StoreSouth Korean tech giant's Samsung Notes has been downloaded more than one billion times on Google Play Store.
Samsung Notes allows users to create new notes, view, edit and sync notes with other Galaxy devices.
As with many other Samsung Apps, Notes is only compatible with Samsung devices, Android Police reported.
Samsung Notes is like having a handy notebook on phone. Users can write digital or handwritten notes whenever they get an idea and save them for later.
The report said that part of the reason why it needed an extra year and a half compared to its email counterpart to pass the same threshold is mainly explained by the fact that some older Samsung devices didn't come with it pre-installed and the app seems to have been moved to the Play Store more recently too.
With Samsung Notes users can create notes containing texts, images with footnotes, voice recordings and music.
Previously made memos from S Note and Memo also can be imported into Samsung Notes.
It provides various brush types and colour mixers so that you can draw fabulous paintings like professional painters.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/samsung-notes-passes-1-billion-installs-on-play-store/82883226
PhonePe's Indus OS deal in a legal tangleA seemingly straightforward acquisition by PhonePe, of homegrown content discovery platform Indus OS for about $60 million, has spiralled into a legal tangle as India's second-largest fintech battles two existing investors in the five-year-old startup-- Affle Global and early-stage investment firm Ventureast-- in a Singapore court.
Both factions have filed competing lawsuits against the other in the Supreme Court of Singapore. ET has seen court filings, regulatory disclosures and spoken to three sources briefed on the matter.
Walmart-backed PhonePe was in the final stages of closing its acquisition of Indus OS before mid-June with the term-sheet signed and ready, according to the people cited above.
But, Indus OS' minority stakeholder, global mobile advertising company Affle Global sought an injunction over the deal in the Singapore court filing an arbitration case against IndusOS, earlier in May. Affle Global in the case makes an appeal on its right of first refusal (ROFR) against the sale of Indus OS founder's stake to PhonePe.
In turn, PhonePe hit back and dragged Affle and another one of Indus OS' investors--Ventureast--to court in Singapore. This case is slated to be heard on Monday.
PhonePe confirmed the developments to ET and termed Affle's move as an 'unfortunate bad faith stalling tactic'.
"We believe they (Affle and Ventureast) have deliberately and wilfully colluded to act in bad faith and violate the legal provisions of the term sheet which they are both signatories to. Accordingly, we have filed a lawsuit against these parties to protect our legal interests and are confident that the honourable court would uphold our position," the company said.
A person in the know of matters told ET, "it's become really muddy. Affle is raising issues on valuation of Indus OS and right of first refusal (ROFR) on stakes held by the company's founders."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Affle Global said it has not signed any alleged binding-term sheet with PhonePe or any Walmart-owned company with respect to sale of any investment till date.
"We are dismayed about the inaccurate news/information being seeded about the alleged acquisition of Samsung Ventures- backed OS Labs Pte Ltd," the person added.
Responding to a detailed questionnaire from ET, Affle Global claimed that it has invested over $20 million, so far, in Indus OS and owns a 20% stake, while valuing the startup at $90 million.
It also said it has more than 25% minority voting rights in OSlabs Pte Ltd, the Singapore-based holding company of Indus OS.
"Certain matters related to OSlabs Pte Ltd are the subject of arbitration and before the Singapore courts and therefore we are not in a position to share or confirm any specifics. In view of our track record and conduct till date, we are confident that Affle Global Pte Ltd will see a just outcome in the Singapore courts," the company stated.
The escalating boardroom battle has also left a clutch of Indus OS's prominent investors --Omidyar Network India, Samsung's venture arm and JSW Ventures - in a bind with expectations of a quick exit belied by the legal wrangle.
Reiterating PhonePe's commitment to "completing the deal as soon as there is a decision on the court proceedings," a spokesperson for the company said the legal hurdles "will not impact our plans to acquire Indus OS at all."
IndusOS has also been made a defendant, although PhonePe is not seeking damages from Indus OS or its founders.
Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), the publisher of this paper, is an investor in Affle Holdings Pte Ltd, which owns Affle Global.
Why is PhonePe suing Ventureast?
Sources in the know said Affle Global had held talks with Ventureast to buy the investment firm's stake in IndusOS, a successful completion of the transaction would also grant Affle Global increased voting rights.
"Any transactions between existing investors are strictly private and confidential so we are not able to say anything more," Affle said, when asked if the company has bought out Ventureast's stake in Indus OS.
Sarath Naru, managing partner, Ventureast said he can 'neither confirm nor deny' the charges by PhonePe and the lawsuit against Ventureast.
Indus OS keen to seal Phone Pe deal
PhonePe has secured over 30% stake in the Indus OS company and has gained two seats on the board of the startup, according to sources who said Omidyar, JSW Ventures, Micromax and other angel investors have sold their shares to PhonePe with the payments major aiming to acquire around 90-92% stake in Indus OS.
A JSW Group spokesperson said it has no comments to make on the matter. Emails sent to Omidyar, Samsung and Micromax did not elicit any response till press time Sunday.
A representative for Phone Pe said "yes, we have acquired around 30% of the company and are the single largest shareholder of Indus OS already."
" Over the next few days, subject to the outcome of the court proceedings, we hope to conclude the remaining paperwork and get majority ownership of the company. All three founders are staying on and will continue to lead the company's operations post deal too," the person added.
Meanwhile, Indus OS, which is at the centre of this legal storm, said it is willing to close its acquisition with PhonePe and that "all the founders and board members have signed the term sheet to sell a significant majority in the company to PhonePe."
Indus OS was founded by three IIT alumni - Rakesh Deshmukh, Akash Dongre and Sudhir Bangarambandi - in 2015. The company operates a local Android app store called Indus App Bazaar, which offers apps and content in over a dozen Indian languages. The company said it hosts more than 400,000 apps and caters to over 100 million users across India.
The acquisition will help PhonePe bring a wider array of apps on its platform through in-app integrations. This is PhonePe's second acquisition after it bought point-of-sale startup Zopper in 2018.
"We are very excited about executing on the future vision and strategy for Indus OS in alignment with them. I believe this is the best path forward for Indus OS and we remain fully committed to concluding the deal as soon as possible," a spokesperson for IndusOS said.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/phonepes-indus-os-deal-in-a-legal-tangle/82897902
Inside the Discovery-AT&T deal: Cute emails, a big loan and now, a media giantIn the predawn hours of April 1, David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, arrived at a rented town house in Manhattan's Greenwich Village -- decorated with photos of rock stars and one of actor Steve McQueen in sunglasses holding a gun -- to prepare for a meeting that would soon reverberate across the U.S. media industry.
Sworn to secrecy, Zaslav's lieutenants snacked on a breakfast of artisanal doughnuts from a 24-hour bakery as they finalized their pitch. Just before 8 a.m., ahead of schedule, their quarry arrived: John Stankey, the AT&T CEO who controlled the WarnerMedia assets that Zaslav coveted.
A journey that began with an informal, emoji-speckled email exchange in February was now fully underway. The covert discussions would last three months, stretching from Dallas to the Denver suburbs to downtown Manhattan, where a war room was established in the cramped garden level of the rented town house. To prevent leaks, bankers used maritime nicknames like "Columbus" and "Magellan." Even the CEO of WarnerMedia was kept in the dark while his company was being negotiated out from under him.
It would culminate on Monday with the announcement of a blockbuster media deal that combined AT&T's WarnerMedia, including HBO, CNN and the Warner Bros. film studio, with Discovery's cable and broadcast holdings, creating a powerful new force in U.S. entertainment, sports, reality TV, news and streaming video. And it represented an astounding late career act for Zaslav, 61, that would put him in control of one of the biggest media companies in the world.
April 1 was "the moment when we started to get to work to put this deal together," Bruce Campbell, Discovery's chief strategist, recalled in an interview.
This account is based on interviews with 18 people who helped put together or had knowledge of the biggest media deal of the year, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity in order to share the details of sensitive conversations.
Like many a modern romance, the marriage of two of the country's biggest media companies started with an emoji.
On a chilly Saturday in February, Zaslav was watching the Golf Channel at his oceanfront East Hampton, New York, estate when he tapped out an email to the man he wanted to woo. "You around...." Zaslav wrote to Stankey just before 3 p.m. on Feb. 13, adding icons of a golfer and sunglasses. "I've been thinking...."
Only a few minutes passed before his iPhone beamed with the reply. "Always scares me when you do that " Stankey replied. "Would you like to chat?" Their initial conversation lasted several hours.
Zaslav invited Stankey to visit him in New York on March 2. Zaslav lives in Conan O'Brien's former apartment on Central Park West, but he bought a town house in Greenwich Village after his wife, Pam, grew weary of Zaslav's impromptu meetings at their home.
That town house was under renovation -- so Zaslav rented another one, where he eventually met with his potential partner from AT&T.
As the conversations gathered intensity, Zaslav looped in his Discovery brain trust for the April 1 meeting with Stankey, where he needed to put his best foot forward.
Around 5:30 a.m., Zaslav was joined by two associates: Gunnar Wiedenfels, Discovery's chief financial officer, and Campbell, his longtime lieutenant and a colleague of 24 years, who had helped hammer out many of Discovery's acquisitions, including its $14.6 billion purchase of Scripps in 2018 and the $1.1 billion purchase of Eurosport in 2015.
After the group from AT&T arrived, everyone gathered in a room so small that any time anyone received a call, the person would have to leave the room to take it. Campbell spent a good part of the next four weeks pacing around an adjacent kitchen island talking on the phone.
The McQueen photo, Campbell said, "became a totem or sort of the mascot of the deal to me."
Even as Zaslav negotiated with Stankey, he knew he would also have to sell the idea to two of the biggest names in American media. John Malone, billionaire chairman of Liberty Media, and Steven Newhouse, chairman of Advance, which owns Condé Nast, were the primary shareholders in Discovery and would need to sign off.
For advice, Discovery turned to Allen & Co.; AT&T tapped LionTree, the boutique firm run by Hollywood deal maestro Aryeh Bourkoff. Bourkoff's presence was noteworthy: One of his earliest clients was Malone.
In a reminder of the whiplash-inducing speed at which AT&T was shedding WarnerMedia, once a prized asset, one of the bankers involved, Kurt Simon of Goldman Sachs (hired by AT&T), had helped broker its purchase of Time Warner just three years earlier. Now he was back at the negotiating table figuring out how to unwind it.
Code names were used to ensure secrecy. For AT&T, WarnerMedia was "Magellan" and Discovery was "Drake." The Discovery side had its own cryptic handles, calling the deal "Project Home Run," with each company named for baseball greats: "Williams" for WarnerMedia, "Aaron" for AT&T and "DiMaggio" for Discovery.
For AT&T, the appeal was obvious: shedding a big portion of the crushing debt the company had amassed. But in order to complete the transaction, AT&T needed a bridge loan worth more than $40 billion. Goldman Sachs could not provide the entire amount, so JPMorgan stepped in to help cover the loan.
Stankey insisted on another point: He wanted the new company to have a simple ownership structure, with just one class of shares that anyone could buy. It would make the company smoother to run. And by eliminating the use of shares with disproportionate voting power, the AT&T leader would ensure that the new company could be an easier takeover target in the future, should an even bigger suitor -- say, Amazon or Apple -- come calling.
To meet this demand, Zaslav would need to convince both Malone and the Newhouse family to relinquish some of their power in the newly formed business. (Together, Liberty and Advance controlled about 44% of Discovery's voting rights.) In exchange for the concession, Advance was rewarded with a stake worth 14% more than its shares would have otherwise fetched in the new company. Both Malone and Newhouse will sit on the board.
Deals are rarely smooth, and an anomaly with Discovery's share price dovetailed with the negotiations. Discovery's stock began to inexplicably rocket in February and March to $75 from $45 because of a convoluted trading scandal involving Archegos, a little-known private investment firm that bet big on Discovery and other companies via derivatives using billions in borrowed money.
With banks forced to buy shares to hedge their spiraling exposure to Archegos, Discovery's market value jumped nearly 60%, for no obvious reason to outsiders. But by May, the stock had returned to where it was during Zaslav's initial approach, and the two sides ultimately forged a deal that gave 71% of the new company to AT&T shareholders and 29% to Discovery.
Now, the trick was closing it before word could leak out.
One awkward conversation awaiting Stankey was with Jason Kilar, the former chief of Hulu tapped by AT&T, with great fanfare, just a year earlier to lead WarnerMedia. To mark the occasion of his anniversary on the job, Kilar had agreed -- with AT&T's blessing -- to be profiled by The Wall Street Journal. He invited a reporter in late April to interview him on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California, unaware that across the country, his colleagues were feverishly working to close the deal.
At some point during the week of May 3, Stankey dropped the bomb: He informed Kilar that the company would soon change hands, and it was unclear what Kilar's role might be. The 2,600-word Journal profile of Kilar, which included a quote from Stankey, was published on May 14, three days before the deal was announced.
Usually a cheerful presence on Twitter, Kilar didn't bother sharing the article with his 37,000 followers. By the weekend, Kilar had retained entertainment power lawyer Allen Grubman to start negotiating his exit.
A little after 7 a.m. Sunday, Zaslav boarded a corporate jet at a small airport on the East End of Long Island, not far from his home, to head to AT&T's Dallas headquarters to put the finishing touches on the deal. But just over an hour into the flight, word got out through Bloomberg's black-and-orange terminal screens: "AT&T is in talks to combine content assets with Discovery."
"Do we have a problem?" Zaslav asked his colleagues, 36,000 feet in the air. Three months had passed without a leak; could this derail everything?
From across the cabin, David Leavy, Discovery's chief corporate operating officer, offered reassurance: "We'll hold the line."
The jet, a Falcon 7X, landed in Dallas after a three-hour flight. AT&T and Discovery's boards had convened via video, and the deal was unanimously approved. Malone, 80, patching in from his Colorado estate, reflected on how Discovery, a tiny channel dating from 1985, grew into a behemoth that had now absorbed such fabled American brands as Warner Bros. and Turner.
The paperwork wasn't quite finished, but both sides still decided to toast the occasion. A group of Discovery and AT&T executives retired to the telephone company's executive dining room, with its panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Dinner included options of ravioli, steak or fish. The sun was just beginning to set as Zaslav gave a toast.
"These assets aren't just better together," he said. "We think it's going to be the best media company in the world."
Ethiopia shuns China-backed consortium in favour of USAddis Ababa (Ethiopia): Washington has gained a major victory in its push to challenge Beijing's economic influence around the world as a US-backed consortium beat another financed by China in a closely watched telecommunications auction in Ethiopia.
According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Ethiopia said on Saturday that it tapped a group of telecommunications companies led by the UK's Vodafone Group PLC to build a nationwide 5G-capable wireless network. The group had financial backing from a newly created US foreign aid agency for the multibillion-dollar project.
The losing bidder was South Africa's MTN Group Ltd., whose proposal was financed partly by a Chinese investor.
The US agency, International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), offered low-interest loans to Vodafone on the condition that the money won't be used to buy telecom equipment from China's Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp as Washington considers both companies a spying threat.
The DFC was created in 2019 with the aim to offer alternatives to cheap Chinese financing for foreign infrastructure projects, reports WSJ.
The telecom license auction in Ethiopia took on wider geopolitical significance amid heightened competition between the US and China over key technological pursuits, from the rollout of 5G to chip manufacturing.
"The US and China are fighting a proxy war in Ethiopia for influence," said Zemedeneh Negatu, chairman of Fairfax Africa Fund LLC, a US-based investment firm.
The US is using new financial tools to win influence and ensure that strategic assets in foreign countries, while challenging Beijing's economic footprint overseas.
The MTN Group of South Africa, which is a longtime customer of Huawei and ZTE, said it made its bid in partnership with China's Silk Road Fund, which has investments from a couple of Chinese banks.
"This marks the beginning of a new era in our country," the Ethiopian Communications Authority tweeted on Saturday after announcing the winning bidder.
The DFC on Friday said that it is also working closely with US government agencies to monitor the violent conflict in Tigray, which the US has called 'ethnic cleansing', adding that it will carefully consider the impact of any potential financing if the Vodafone consortium, reports WSJ.
The US loans would carry interest rates well below those of commercial banks if the financing goes ahead. The idea is to help the carrier buy equipment from non-Chinese suppliers, such as Ericsson AB, Nokia, or Samsung Electronics. Their equipment is often more expensive than Huawei or ZTE hardware, according to wireless executives and US officials.
Ethiopia is an important US strategic ally because of its location near the Red Sea. The US has tried to neutralise terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the region.
DoT favours price cut for 5G, 700MHz bandsThe Department of Telecommunications (DoT) believes a cut in base price of 5G airwaves and the 700 MHz band plus a lesser upfront payment will be needed to attract telcos to bid for spectrum in the next sale expected sometime in 2022, a senior government official said.
"It is best if the telcos push their case again with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), and a reduction in price and lesser upfront payment is the best way ahead," the official said, asking not to be named.
In the March auction, the government managed to sell only 37% of the over 2,300 units of spectrum across seven bands on sale, with the highly efficient but pricey 700 MHz band going unsold for the second time, owing to, what carriers claims, its high base price.
The DoT is also likely to shortly seek a fresh base price for the 3300 MHz-3600 MHz band earmarked for 5G, the 700 MHz band, and other new bands which can be used for the next-gen technology. Following this, Trai will need to start a fresh consultation process for arriving at the prices. The regulator usually cuts prices of unsold spectrum.
Industry executives say operators Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) are likely to ask Trai to reduce the price of the 3,300-3,600 MHz and 700 MHz bands by at least 50%.
No pressing need for telcos to bid
They will also seek an increase in the spectrum payment moratorium period beyond two years and cut in the upfront payment for airwaves that will be put up for sale in the next auction.
"The 700 MHz band, which is the most efficient sub-GHz 4G band, and the 3.3-3.6 GHz frequencies for 5G need to be reduced by 50-60%," a senior industry executive said, adding that only then will telcos show some bidding interest.
The DoT had earlier accepted the Trai's recommendation of Rs 492 crore per unit for 5G spectrum in the 3,300-3,600 MHz bands, but all the telcos said they won't bid at these levels. A CLSA report said that India's 5G pricing is the most expensive in the world, four times higher than in South Korea and seven times higher than in the UK.
Trai had cut the 700 MHz band price by 43% from the 2016 auction level to Rs 6,568 crore per MHz for pan-India spectrum, which again went unsold in March.
A second telecom executive said the industry is also likely to push for a longer spectrum payment moratorium besides a cut in upfront payment.
So far, winning bidders could pay the entire amount upfront, or 25% to 50%--depending on the band--and the balance over a maximum of 16 equated annual instalments after a moratorium of two years.
"Reserve price of the 700 MHz spectrum is too high and the band has not seen any demand in successive auctions. We do not expect it to change unless the reserve price is lowered sharply," said Kunal Vora, senior telecom analyst at BNP Paribas.
He added that the 3,300-3600 MHz spectrum, also referred to as mid-band airwaves, is likely to be the most popular band for 5G rollout. "Operators will need a large quantity of spectrum in this band to have an effective 5G network and for that, they would prefer low price per MHz.
"Operators have high levels of debt and are likely to prefer the low upfront payment, moratorium and deferred payment liability," Vora added.
The second executive added that if the prices are not reduced and some other conditions not relaxed, there is no pressing need for telcos to bid, especially as Airtel and Jio have already acquired 4G bands in March that are effective for 5G rollouts.
The three telcos did not respond to ET's queries.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/dot-favours-price-cut-for-5g-700mhz-bands/82898428
Poco hit by ecommerce curbs, expects sales rebound in H2The second wave is hurting the sales of the online-only smartphone brand Poco in major states, which have disallowed ecommerce companies to deliver non-essentials but the brand is expecting a quick rebound in sales once the restrictions ease in the second half of this year, a top executive said.
Xiaomi's sub-brand, which became independent in the first quarter of 2020, has grown its sales by four times since then and was even ranked third online smartphone brand in terms of volumes in the month of November last year, according to research firm IDC. But analysts say Poco is yet to establish a strong brand positioning and differentiate itself from Xiaomi.
The current quarter has been tough for the brand as it had to suspend all phone launches for the month of May, Poco country director Anuj Sharma told ET.
"We made a conscious decision to not launch anything in the month of May, amid the second wave. The Poco M2 Reloaded was launched via our Twitter handle, summarising the launch in just three tweets thereby prioritizing the well-being of the employees and the production crew," he said.
Because the brand continues to have a lean portfolio in the India market, its manufacturing operations haven't faced any major disruptions, Sharma said.
"We don't have multiple manufacturing lines developing multiple devices, thus having less impact on the business. We are hopeful that the current scenario will improve and we can pick up from where we left off," said Sharma.
India's sixth largest brand by volume will continue to bring out three-four products per quarter in the sub-Rs15,000 price segment.
"In terms of product portfolio, we don't plan to have an expanded portfolio, to ensure consumers have an easy choice to buy. There will definitely be upgrades to older products, through which we aim to expand our portfolio," the brand head said.
When asked about expanding its retail presence in the offline market, Sharma said the brand will continue to be online-exclusive for the time being.
"Offline market is important in the Indian consumer space. To expand into that, we need to be a bit more established and have coverage with regards to price bands and product offerings before we consider going offline."
Unlike rival Realme, which also emerged from being a sub-brand but grew exponentially in just three years to establish itself independently as India's number fourth and world's number sixth, Poco is yet to make that mark.
"I think Poco needs to have a clear reason for existence," said Faisal Kawoosa, founder and chief analyst at TechArc. "Its phones are as good as its parent brand Xiaomi, its channel strategy is also the same, and so is the target audience. It's not like Realme from the BBK stack, which was for say online initially."
World's supply of chips is in danger unless Taiwan gets vaccinesBack in February, as the world was beating a path to Taiwan's door for help to tackle a shortage of semiconductors, the health minister got into a scrap with China over Covid-19 vaccines.
Beijing, he suggested, had used political pressure to derail Taiwan's plan to purchase five million doses directly from Germany's BioNTech SE, rather than via a Chinese company which held the rights to develop and market the BioNTech-Pfizer Inc. vaccine across China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying retorted that Taipei "should stop hyping up political issues under the pretext of vaccine issues."
Three months later, Taiwan is paying the price for a lack of vaccines, with a surge in virus cases that threatens to trigger a lockdown. Having successfully sidestepped the first Covid wave, the government now faces a health emergency -- only about 1% of its population is vaccinated so far -- with the potential to disrupt the chip industry that dominates the local economy, and which is critical to an already-squeezed global supply.
That's a link made by the head of Taiwan's office in New York, who warned of "logistical problems" without access to more shots. Yet by shunning vaccines from China and warning of more chip shortages if it can't source enough doses elsewhere, the government is giving even greater incentive to the world's biggest economies to make investments that may erode Taiwan's competitive edge in semiconductors over the long term.
Taiwan's predicament illustrates its strategic yet vulnerable position at the confluence of U.S.-China tensions. Separated by a 110 mile (177 kilometer)-wide strait, Taiwan is regarded as a province by Beijing and its conquest is President Xi Jinping's key goal for historical and ideological reasons. The U.S. is an ally of Taipei's democratic government and a big buyer of its exports, dominated by chips produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
The onset late last year of chip shortages that have hobbled industries from autos to computer gaming had looked to give Taipei global leverage. TSMC is the world's leading provider of cutting-edge semiconductors and holds 56% of the so-called foundry business of manufacturing chips designed by customers including Apple Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.
But Taiwan has suffered a sudden reversal of fortunes. The pandemic comes just as a drought triggers power outages, stoking economic uncertainty and a slump in what was the world's best performing stock index in the four years to January.
What's more, the very source of Taiwan's recent geopolitical clout -- its dominance of the market for cutting-edge chips -- is under attack as governments from the U.S. to Europe and Japan, alerted to the strategic nature of the semiconductor supply chain, seek to spur production at home. China is pumping billions into catching up after Washington imposed export controls on U.S. chip technology.
"I think we've become too dependent on Taiwan and Korea, that's the point, we need a more balanced global supply chain," Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Silicon Valley's Intel Corp., the world's biggest chipmaker, said in an interview. The U.S. and Europe should act "more aggressively" to counter the "imbalance" of Asia's lead in manufacturing semiconductors that are mostly consumed in the west, he said.
Intel is a rival and plans to challenge TSMC at the cutting edge, but Gelsinger isn't the only voice making for uncomfortable listening in Taiwan. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said this month that while the Biden administration is working with Taipei and TSMC to address the chip shortage, it's also looking to reduce U.S. dependence on Taiwan. TSMC is in the process of building a new fabrication facility in the U.S.
Some in Washington have suggested that Taiwan is a backdoor to China by enabling tech transfers. Republicans Michael McCaul and Tom Cotton have called on the administration to engage with Taipei to do more to "mitigate the risk of Taiwanese companies providing services and technologies to entities of concern," a reference to Chinese state-backed companies with links to the military.
With the prospect of some $50 billion in government funding to build out chip making in the U.S. and the promise of still more in Europe and South Korea, there are signs that Taiwan is starting to feel the heat.
The government is working to draft a new export control list targeting technologies with military use, to tighten curbs on exports to China and raise the penalty for violations, according to a person familiar with the issue who asked not to be named discussing policy deliberations.
That's after Alchip Technologies Ltd's stock took a beating in April when the Washington Post reported that it supplied chips to Phytium, a People's Liberation Army-affiliated entity. Alchip said it has always been in compliance with government regulations and that Phytium projects were on hold.
Taipei has become more alert to the possibility of Chinese companies ramping up efforts to recruit Taiwanese engineers. Last month the Cabinet met to discuss how to prevent the outflow of local talent, with the Ministry of Labor instructing local job-search websites to remove ads recruiting Taiwanese citizens to work for China, particularly in the semiconductor industry.
Companies and headhunters can be fined as much as NT$500,000 ($17,900) for advertising such jobs and NT$5 million for facilitating local engineers' employment with Chinese companies on the mainland, ministry official Huang Chiao-ting said. Job search site 1111 said it has removed close to 3,000 job listings. Investigators have visited the local offices of four Chinese companies, including Bitmain Technologies Ltd, within the last two months to look into allegations they recruited engineers illegally.
"By more aggressively investigating Chinese companies' efforts to poach Taiwanese engineers, we hope we can help prevent potential trade secrets leaking to China should local talent get hired away," said Judy Chen, a spokeswoman for the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office. She declined to name the other companies probed.
Members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party are considering amending the law to boost penalties for intellectual property theft. Lawmaker Chao Tien-lin is proposing life sentences for those found guilty of economic espionage, a crime not currently on the statute books in Taiwan.
"Taiwan needs to win trust from its partners and help prevent China from building a supply chain from stolen technology," Chao said in comments provided by his assistant.
Whether it's enough to allay concerns in Washington may become clearer with the publication of President Joe Biden's review of the semiconductor supply chain. The 100 day review is due to conclude on June 4. What's already known is that there is bipartisan support to build U.S. chip making, and Taiwan is in the cross hairs.
"Taiwan dominates semiconductor manufacturing, and one company, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, virtually controls the market," Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who introduced the CHIPS for America Act to boost U.S. production, said on the Senate floor this month.
The sustainability of Taiwan's industry has also come into question after it suffered power outages this month, focusing attention on environmental factors including water shortages and uncertainty over future electricity supply for power-hungry chip plants.
Dried reservoir bed at the Second Baoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu, April 2021. Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg
Taiwan can potentially overcome the virus outbreak as well as the power and water shortages, showing its companies "can still satisfy global demand by manufacturing mostly in Taiwan without any issue," said Arisa Liu, a researcher at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research.
In the short term that will require vaccines, most likely from Europe or the U.S.
According to Chunhuei Chi, a former health-policy adviser in Taiwan who is now director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University, "many politicians in Taiwan urged the Taiwanese government to use microchips as leverage" for vaccines.
While the government is reluctant to use that leverage explicitly, "if the U.S. is concerned about the supply of chips from TSMC, the U.S. would have incentives to provide Taiwan with vaccines to make sure production will not be disrupted by this outbreak," he said.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/worlds-supply-of-chips-is-in-danger-unless-taiwan-gets-vaccines/82899680
Netflix in search of executive to oversee gaming expansion: SourceNetflix Inc is looking to hire an executive to oversee its expansion into videogames, a person familiar with the matter said, a sign that it is ramping up efforts to grow beyond its traditional business as streaming competition intensifies.
The move comes at a time when the video gaming industry has benefited from a surge in demand from gamers staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Netflix has experimented with interactive programming in the past with movies such as "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" and "You vs. Wild" that enabled viewers to decide the characters' moves. It has also created games based on shows "Stranger Things" and "La casa de Papel (Money Heist)".
The Information reported https://bit.ly/3wmLqWW earlier on Friday Netflix had discussed offering a bundle of games similar to Apple's online subscription offering, Apple Arcade, as an option.
While the details of the company's games strategy are still very much in flux, it has decided that the games will not feature advertising, the report said.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/netflix-in-search-of-executive-to-oversee-gaming-expansion-source/82849808
Xiaomi Redmi Note series reaches 20 million salesChinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has announced that it has sold 200 million Redmi Note phones across the world.
The series has been the maker's bestseller since the arrival of the first Redmi Note in March 2014 and has been the driving force that pushed Xiaomi up to third place in the world, GSMArena reported on Thursday.
The company also announced China will finally get the Note 10 series on May 26, and the country might get a new device as well, according to an official poster on Weibo.
The upcoming smartphone might feature three cameras, lined up vertically.
While it might look like the regular Redmi Note 10 5G, the dual-LED flash is positioned slightly higher, suggesting a different internal design and likely more changes. We'll just have to wait until next week to hear more details, the report said.
While Redmi is preparing for the local launch of the Note 10, its CEO revealed another milestone -- 45.2 million Note 9 phones were sold all over the globe, which is over 20 per cent of the total amount of 200 million sold since 2014.
In the first half of May, Redmi India has unveiled Redmi Note 10S along with its first-ever Redmi Watch in the Indian market.
The smartphone comes in two storage variants -- 6GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB -- at Rs 14,999 and Rs 15,999, respectively.
Ericsson, Nokia contribute to pandemic relief effortsCompanies like telecom gear maker Ericsson and Nokia are contributing in the fight against COVID-19 in India, including through facilitating procurement of medical equipment. Ericsson said it has made an upfront donation to UNICEF which supports the fight against the pandemic across 35 countries, including India.
The company, in a statement, said it is also encouraging employees to make donations to UNICEF until May 31, 2021 and at the end of this period, Ericsson will match the total employee donations.
"With this money, UNICEF will address the immediate need for medical equipment in India," an Ericsson India spokesperson told .
Apart from this, Ercisson India continues to support initiatives such as collecting COVID test samples for testing at designated government labs in Chennai and Pune, and donating personal protection equipment to hospitals and sanitation workers, which the company started last year, the spokesperson said.
When contacted, a Nokia India spokesperson said the company is supporting hospitals and makeshift COVID-19 facilities with medical equipment.
"Nokia has supported various hospitals at multiple locations to augment capacities with makeshift Covid facilities, ICU beds, oxygen plants, ventilator and other critical medical equipment," the spokesperson said.
Telecom gear firm Huawei India has announced plans to facilitate 400 oxygen concentrators, 400 contactless remote vital parameter monitoring devices, 25 HFNC CPAP oxygen therapy systems, and other medical supplies worth Rs 5 crore for public hospitals, makeshift hospitals and other facilities for COVID-19.
The company has also set up an emergency team to handle all COVID-19-related concerns of employees and their dependents and provide them hospitalisation support.
It has arranged for emergency beds with oxygen support in partnership with leading hospitals for employees and their dependents.
Reliance Jio adds up 20 MHz spectrum in Andhra Pradesh, TelanganaReliance Jio said on Friday that it has successfully implemented additional 20 MHz spectrum across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to enhance subscriber experience. This would add upto the existing 40 MHz spectrum and enhance the total spectrum availability in the region by 50 per cent, a press release from the company said.
In the recently concluded spectrum auctions conducted by the Department of Telecommunications, Jio acquired 5 MHz of 850MHz band; 5MHz of 1800MHz band; and 10 MHz of 2300 MHz band for Telanganaand Andhra Pradesh.
As on date, Jio has gone ahead with deployment of all the three spectrums across all its sites spread across both the Telugu States. As a result, all the customers in the region would be benefitted with immediate effect and their network experience is bound to improve, Reliance said.
According to the latest Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, Jio has extended its market leadership in both these States with over 3.16 crore mobile subscribers and nearly 40 per cent customer marketshare in the region, said the company.
China could have shut down Australia's 5G network without Huawei ban: reportCanberra (Australia): Much before their diplomatic ties spiraled down, Beijing could have shut down Canberra's 5G network and brought the nation to its knees if Huawei was not banned, a top spy has revealed.
The Australian Signals Directorate spent more than eight months trying to find a way to make the Chinese company's telecommunications equipment acceptably safe but ultimately told the Turnbull government the risk could not be contained satisfactorily, as reported by the Sunday Morning Herald.
According to the Sunday Morning Herald, "Australia was the first country to ban Huawei from its 5G system in 2018, a decision many more have followed. The government of Chinese President Xi Jinping continues to demand that Canberra reverse the veto. It is number two on a list of 14 demands released by the Chinese embassy in Canberra in November as a prerequisite to improving relations. Number one on the list calls for China's foreign investment to be unrestricted."
A senior Australian spy said the main risk was not Chinese spying but that Beijing could order Huawei to disconnect the Australian 5G network altogether. "Here's the thing that most commentators get confused about with 5G, including some of our American friends," the spy told this correspondent for the new book Red Zone, extracted in Saturday's Good Weekend magazine. "It's not about the interception of telephone calls. We've got that problem with 4G, we had it with 3G," as reported by the Sunday Morning Herald.
The official said the real problem was that Beijing could order Huawei or the other major Chinese telecoms gear maker, ZTE, "to switch things off, and that disrupts the country - elements of it, or the whole country. That's why you've got to be concerned.
"The sewerage pump stops working. Clean water doesn't come to you. You can imagine the social implications of that. Or the public transport network doesn't work. Or electric cars that are self-driving don't work. And that has implications for society, implications for the economy."
For these reasons, he said, the 5G network would be "No.1 on our critical infrastructure list" in need of protection once it was fully operational.
Huawei has always insisted that if so ordered by China's authorities, it would never comply. The prime minister who made the 2018 decision, Malcolm Turnbull, did not believe the company: "One thing you know - if the Chinese Communist Party called on Huawei to act against Australia's interests, it would have to do it," he said in an interview for the book. "Huawei says, 'Oh no, we would refuse.' That's laughable. They would have no option but to comply."
Beijing passed a 2017 law that requires all companies, private as well as publicly owned, to co-operate with the Chinese government on any national security matter.
But before banning Huawei, Turnbull tried to find a way to make it acceptable: "I went back and forth with Mike Burgess [then head of the ASD and now ASIO's director-general of security], pressing him to find an effective means of mitigating the risk.
"I would have preferred to have all vendors available in Australia, but not at the expense of security."
Burgess assembled a crack team of the ASD's best hackers, a Red Team tasked to act as Beijing. They were told to use Huawei against Australia.
The vulnerabilities they exposed formed the basis for the protection measures the ASD compiled, as reported by the Sunday Morning Herald.
Burgess and his staff brought the full list of more than 300 measures to Turnbull on A3 sheets of paper. They included that Australia would need to have full and sole access to the source code, full access to hardware schematics and that updates should only be done in Australia.
But even then, ASD advised, the risk of the shutdown could not be fully mitigated.
Nvidia sets 4-for-1 stock split, shares riseNvidia Corp on Friday announced a four-for-one stock split as it looks to make its stock less expensive for investors, sending the chipmaker's shares up 3%.
The company's stock, which was last up at over $600 in premarket trading, has gained nearly 12% this year after its value more than doubled in 2020.
Stock splits can potentially attract retail investors who make small trades. However, as brokerages increasingly allow customers to buy parts of shares, the benefit of share splits appears to have diluted over time.
Apple split its stock 4-for-1, while electric carmaker Tesla split its stock 5-for-1 last year, with both companies saying they aimed to make their shares more affordable to individual investors.
Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia said stock holders of record on July 21 would receive dividend of three additional shares after the close of trading on July 19, with the stock trading on a split-adjusted basis beginning July 20.
The announced split will require stockholder approval at the company's annual meeting in June.
BMO investment arm sold Microsoft shares over U.S. Army headset A responsible-investment arm of Canada's Bank of Montreal sold roughly $275 million worth of Microsoft Corp shares because of the company's recent U.S. Army contract for augmented reality headsets, a bank spokesman said on Friday.
BMO's responsible investment managers worried that the $22 billion Army contract Microsoft won in March moves the technology from a proof-of-concept phase to a battlefield-ready product outside its investment strategies' mandate, BMO representatives said.
The contract "sits at odds with our central investment philosophy to avoid companies with damaging businesses practices, and we class bespoke military equipment as one component of our avoid criteria," Jamie Jenkins, head of the Responsible Global Equities team at BMO, said in an e-mailed statement.
Microsoft representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Many traditional socially focused investment funds bar ownership of defense contractors or companies involved in areas like alcohol or gambling. BMO's move shows how such prohibitions can extend to technology companies doing business with government agencies.
On Tuesday, Amazon.com Inc indefinitely extended a moratorium it imposed last year on police use of its facial recognition software due to civil rights concerns.
Over the past two years, Microsoft has worked with the Army on the prototyping phase of what is called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. The project is based on Microsoft's HoloLens product and backed by the Azure cloud computing services. In March the company said the Army had moved into the production phase of the project.
BMO will continue to own Microsoft in traditional investment strategies not bound to social-investing strategies, a spokesman said.
A deal by BMO to sell its European asset-management business to Ameriprise Financial Inc for $1.1 billion remains on track to close in the fourth quarter, the BMO spokesman said.
Irish data regulator resumes Facebook data transfer probeIreland's data regulator has given Facebook six weeks to respond to an investigation that may trigger a ban on the social media giant's transatlantic data transfers following a High Court ruling that the probe could resume.
The case stems from European Union concerns that U.S. government surveillance may not respect the privacy rights of EU citizens when their personal data is sent to the United States for commercial use.
Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), Facebook's lead regulator in the EU, launched the inquiry last August and issued a provisional order that the main mechanism Facebook uses to transfer EU user data to the United States "cannot in practice be used".
"Following Thursday's High Court hearing, we have written to Facebook and have given them 6 weeks to provide us with their submissions," a spokesman for the DPC said in a statement after the court lifted a freeze on the provisional order this week.
Facebook had challenged both the inquiry and the provisional order, saying they threatened "devastating" and "irreversible" consequences for its business, which relies on processing user data to serve targeted online ads.
The ruling does not trigger an immediate halt to data flows. But Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who pushed the Irish data regulator into a series of legal actions over the past eight years, said he believed the decision made it inevitable.
A company spokesman said Facebook looked forward to defending its compliance with EU rules as the Irish regulator's provisional order "could be damaging not only to Facebook, but also to users and other businesses".
If the Irish regulator enforces the provisional order, it would effectively end the privileged access that U.S. companies have to personal data from Europe and put them on the same footing as companies in other nations outside the bloc.
Europe approves SK Hynix's acquisition of Intel's NAND businessSK Hynix, South Korea's second-largest chipmaker, has earned approval from Europe's antitrust watchdog for its acquisition of Intel's NAND business.
SK Hynix said late on Friday that it received unconditional clearance from the European Commission for its takeover of Intel's non-volatile memory unit.
Last October, SK Hynix signed a deal to buy Intel's NAND business for $9 billion, which includes the US firm's solid state drive business and a NAND flash chip plant in Dalian, China.
Following the deal, the South Korean firm had to obtain approval from antitrust regulators in major countries, reports Yonhap news agency.
SK Hynix said antitrust reviews from six countries, including South Korea, China and Britain, are currently in process. The company plans to obtain approval from those countries by the end of this year.
In the US, the company's acquisition deal received approval from the Federal Trade Commission last year and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US in March.
SK Hynix was the world's fourth-largest NAND flash producer with a market share of 11.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to industry tracker TrendForce.
The acquisition of Intel's NAND business is projected to make SK Hynix the world's second-largest NAND flash vendor behind Samsung Electronics.
Offline phone retailers seek relief packageOffline mobile phone retailers have reached out to the government seeking a relief package including moratorium on loans, covid insurance and collateral free loans to support the community pained by shutdown in retail.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, dated May 20, the All India Mobile Retailers' Association (AIMRA) has urged him to extend relief measures such as interest free moratorium for six months, collateral free loans between Rs 25 lacs to Rs 1 crore with minimum interest and covid insurance worth Rs 50 lakhs at minimum premium.
The body has also sought a stimulus package for retailers to meet their standing expenses and ensure priority vaccination of retailers as frontline workers.
Retailers say the mobile phone business is being pushed to the edge of bankruptcy due to outstanding expenses like rentals, electricity bills, bank interest and taxes etc due to absence of rotation in the money cycle.
Besides the uninterrupted delivery of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies has created a non level-playing field driving away sales from the offline channel.
"As while retail remains closed in lockdown, these e-tailers are selling and delivering non-essential products creating an opportunity to win customers, reducing retail demand forcing the to shut down which may lead to huge unemployment," said Sunil Gupta, State President, AIMRA Rajasthan in his letter.
The body, representing close to 1.5 lakh independent mobile phone retailers across the country, has reiterated its stance of not treating mobile phones as essentials as opposed to the demand of phone brands and e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/offline-phone-retailers-seek-relief-package/82852004
Mercedes-Benz extends warranty, free service period till Jun 30German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz on Thursday said it has extended warranty and free service period for its customers till June 30 in view of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Standard warranty cases expiring between April 15 and May 31, 2021, will be honored up to June 30, while claims related to advance assurance extended warranty or motor insurance (by Daimler Financial Services Insurance) lapsed within the same time period can be reported till June 30, 2021, Mercedes-Benz India said in a statement.
Moreover, the company said it is also providing protection against lapsed service and with missed scheduled annual service from April 15 up to May 31, to be honoured up to June 30, 2021, without affecting warranty benefits.
"However, customers should ensure servicing of their vehicles before June 30," it added.
"In the current challenging situation, it remains our endeavour to assure our customers of complete peace of mind when it comes to their vehicles.
"Through these specially crafted service initiatives along with our service teams' ongoing support working remotely, our customers will continue to enjoy a hassle-free vehicle ownership," Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO Martin Schwenk said.
The company also said it is offering customers an extra period to purchase an extended warranty if the vehicle's standard warranty period of 3 years is expiring between April 15 and May 31 by calling the nearest Mercedes-Benz dealership before June 30, 2021.
How Ford burned $12 billion in BrazilA century ago Henry Ford came to Brazil and established the town of Fordlandia, hoping to become an Amazonian rubber baron, but retreated deep in the red. Now the automaker he founded is once again licking its Brazilian wounds, having abandoned production in the challenging market after burning through roughly 61 billion reais ($11.6 billion) in the past decade.
Ford Motor Co announced the closure of its manufacturing plants in January, dealing a heavy blow to its more than 5,000 workers in the country and almost 300 dealerships.
Previously unreported corporate filings show the scale of the financial woes that led to the decision. Ford had burned through $7.8 billion, the bulk in accumulated losses but also some cash injections, according to the documents filed in Sao Paulo state, where the automaker is registered in Brazil.
Add to that the $4.1 billion that Ford will shell out to extricate itself from its commitments, and the price tag for the Brazilian operation rises to almost $12 billion.
Almost all the losses and cash injections were in the past eight years, when the company has lost about $2,000 for every car it sold, Reuters calculations based on the filings and sales data indicate.
Ford, which does not separate out Brazil from South America in its financial results, declined to comment on the losses, cash injections and calculations.
The expensive retreat of the U.S. heavyweight underlines the risks for global automakers in Brazil, a country seen not long ago as one of the most promising growth markets in the world, but where tax, labor and logistics costs are high.
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained finances while Ford's problems also reflect, in part, a strategic misstep that saw it lag rivals in transforming its lineup of unprofitable compact cars into higher-margin SUVs, according to half a dozen sources familiar with the company's Brazilian operation.
Ford had in fact drafted a plan to shift into SUVs, larger cars with higher profit margins, but was too slow to implement it, they said.
"There were no other viable options," Lyle Watters, Ford's head for South America, told Reuters in a statement about the decision to exit the country.
Watters, who will start a new Ford role in China in July, cited an "unfavorable economic environment, lower vehicle demand (and) higher industry idle capacity" for the Brazil retreat.
He declined to comment on the SUV project, saying he would not "speculate on new product plans."
A Ford spokesman in Brazil said the company was implementing "a lean and asset-light business model in the region, with a truly customer-centric mindset".
BRAZIL VS MEXICO
Brazil is largely a lossmaker for global car companies, despite the government providing federal subsidies totaling $8 billion over the past decade and a 35% import tariff to shield local production.
Domestic costs are high. Even though local factories can make 5 million cars a year, more than double the number sold in the country, exports are minimal because prices are uncompetitive. And it costs automakers money to keep factories open while operating at low capacity.
Mexico, by contrast, exports more than 80% of the cars it makes, helped by free-trade agreements with the United States and Canada, making it an attractive alternative for the same carmakers that already operate in Brazil.
A 2019 study by consultant PwC found that selling a Mexican-made car in Brazil was 12% cheaper for an automaker than selling a locally-made vehicle, including production, tax and logistics costs.
The study was commissioned by Brazilian auto industry group Anfavea, which is lobbying the government to reduce taxes and labor costs.
The high Brazilian costs mean even carmakers who pivoted earlier than Ford to higher-margin SUVs, like the Brazilian units of players like Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Toyota Motors Corp, are struggling to stay in the black.
Volkswagen Brazil has lost $3.7 billion since 2011, according to the corporate filings in Sao Paulo state. GM Brazil has received $2.2 billion in cash injections since 2016, and Toyota Brazil last year required forgiveness on $1 billion of inter-company debt, the documents showed.
Volkswagen, GM and Toyota all declined to comment on the filings figures.
The Brazilian economy ministry did not respond to a request for comment about the Ford exit and problems faced by the auto sector.
Ford failed to develop a viable production business in Brazil despite a practice of pursuing tax subsidies, which totaled more than that of its rivals over the past decade.
Since 2011, Ford has reaped about $2.6 billion in tax subsidies, or a third of all federal automotive incentives distributed in that period, according to Reuters calculations based on official tax forfeiture figures.
Ford declined to comment on its tax benefits.
In 2013, however, the business outlook began to change, as commodities prices crashed and dragged the local currency with it, sending Brazil into a deep recession made worse by corruption Removed. At the time, it was the world's fourth largest auto market. It now ranks seventh.
Weak domestic demand and the uncompetitive exports pushed Ford to quintuple its bulk fleet sales between 2011 and 2019, and deepen the discounts to 30% or more, a person familiar with the pricing said.
Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, shored up its Brazilian subsidiary with $1.3 billion in cash injections, in nine transfers between March 2018 and January 2021, according to the Sao Paulo corporate filings.
By late 2019, Ford was considering the key strategic shift to manufacture SUVs in Brazil and had three models planned, according to three of the sources familiar with the operation.
Yet many of its competitors had already been revamping their lineup to produce such vehicles for about two years.
"The truth is, Ford failed to modernize its product lineup at the same speed as its rivals," said Ricardo Bacellar, automotive head at KPMG's consulting arm in Brazil.
In the end, the SUV plans never came to fruition.
By April 2020, the economic pain wrought by the pandemic forced Ford to reevaluate its plans for Brazil, the automaker has said.
Still, Ford made commitments to the government as late as November last year to invest more in Brazil and told its dealers in December that it expected improved sales in 2021, according to a government announcement and the dealers' association.
Yet just weeks later, it halted production.
It closed its three plants, the largest one in Camacari, in the northeastern state of Bahia. It retains only a small operation selling imports, a niche market for high-end cars that the import tariffs make prohibitively expensive for many people.
Ford's all-electric Mustang Mach 1, for example, which starts at $53,000 in the United States, will sell for $94,000 in Brazil, where per capita income is much lower. While Ford sold 18,000 cars in Brazil in April 2019, it sold 1,500 cars in the same month this year.
Ford wires its electric trucks for business customersFord Motor Co's newly revealed electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup doubles down on a bet that the company can beat Tesla Inc and other rivals by giving new technology a familiar face and convincing long-time fleet and business customers that going electric saves money.
Ford officially unveiled the battery electric F-150 Lightning model on Wednesday evening, after giving it a cameo appearance during President Joe Biden's visit on Tuesday to the Rouge manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Michigan, where the trucks will be assembled beginning next year.
Based on customer response, Ford has already moved to increase planned manufacturing capacity for the electric F-150 by "tens of thousands" of vehicles a year, Ford's head of Americas and International Markets, Kumar Galhotra, told Reuters ahead of Wednesday's official debut. He did not disclose the new production targets.
Ford expects to boost annual production of the electric F-150 to 40,000 vehicles or more, starting in 2023, according to Sam Fiorani, head of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions.
Ford executives said ahead of Wednesday's debut they have a different strategy for selling electric trucks and vans in volume from Tesla or General Motors Co..
Where Tesla and GM are positioning their initial electric pickups as lifestyle vehicles for the affluent, Ford executives said they are focused on convincing commercial fleet operators - a market Ford dominates - that the F-150 Lightning and electric Transit are cost-effective, rational choices.
"That's the only way you can build up the volume," said Ted Cannis, Ford's general manager for commercial vehicles.
The electric F-150 and an electric version of Ford's Transit van due out late this year look like, and share many components with, the gasoline versions that are top-selling profit machines for the No. 2 U.S. automaker.
A "commercial base" version of Ford's F-150 Lightning will start at $39,974 before tax credits, including a $7,500 federal tax credit Ford buyers can still get and Tesla and General Motors buyers cannot. That price is about $10,000 more than the cheapest gasoline-fueled F-150.
Besides an estimated 230 miles (370 km) of range, the base F-150 Lightning comes with a 15.5-inch (39.37 cm), Tesla-style dashboard screen, a roomy "frunk" storage space where the gas engine would be, and enough plugs and juice to power a construction site for up to three days, Ford officials said.
A Lightning XLT model, which aligns with the best-selling version of the gasoline F-150, will start at $52,974, Ford said. That is 51% higher than the gasoline XLT's base price.
Ford plans more expensive versions of the F-150 Lightning, including a "Platinum" model with an extended-range battery likely to be priced around $90,000.
Tesla's electric Cybertruck, which looks like it rolled off the set of a science-fiction movie, is due to begin high-volume production in 2022, and its price will start at $39,900. GM's first electric pickup is an "electric supertruck," the GMC Hummer EV, priced from $79,995 to nearly $100,000. High-volume production will begin in fall 2022, after a small initial run of trucks this autumn.
GM plans to introduce a Lightning competitor, the Chevrolet Silverado EV, in late 2022, Fiorani said. It will be built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform that it shares with the upcoming Hummer EV, GM has said.
GM is also moving into the electric delivery van segment with a new unit, BrightDrop, and a new purpose-built electric van.
Ford is using a heavier-gauge steel for the frame of the F-150 Lightning, but did not undertake a complete redesign to integrate the battery pack into the chassis.
By staying close to the current model, Ford can offer the electric truck sooner, at a competitive price "and make money on it," said Darren Palmer, general manager for Ford's electric vehicles.
Ford plans to offer software-enabled services to fleet and business customers, such as tracking driver behavior, predicting maintenance and planning delivery routes, said Ford's Cannis.
Once Ford starts charging for these services, "then you're in the subscription game," Cannis said.
Tesla cars barred from some China government compounds: SourcesStaff at some Chinese government offices have been told not to park their Tesla Inc cars inside government compounds due to security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
The people said officials of at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have been instructed verbally by supervisors not to park their Tesla electric cars at work. It wasn't clear how many cars were affected, the people said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
It wasn't immediately clear whether all government offices in Beijing have imposed such restrictions, nor whether the measure was a formal government injunction or a step adopted by agency officials. It was also unclear whether curbs applied to state agencies nationwide.
While sensors and cameras that can assist driving feature in many automakers' vehicles, the people with knowledge of the matter said the restriction currently only applies to Tesla cars. In March, Tesla vehicles were banned from entering some military complexes in China, sources told Reuters then, citing security concerns over vehicle cameras.
Neither the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which handles media requests for China's government, nor Tesla China officials immediately responded to requests for comment.
The restriction provides a fresh indication of China's continued wariness of the U.S. electric carmaker amid tensions with Washington.
Facing greater scrutiny after safety and highly publicised customer service complaints in China, Tesla is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources told Reuters previously.
China, the world's biggest car market, is the electric car maker's second-biggest market, accounting for about 30% of its sales. Tesla now makes electric Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in a Shanghai plant.
Automakers like Tesla have been equipping more vehicles with cameras and sensors that capture images of a car's surroundings. Control of how those images are used and where they are sent and stored is a fast-emerging challenge for the industry and regulators around the world.
Tesla cars have several external cameras to assist drivers with parking, changing lanes and other features. Chief Executive Elon Musk has commented frequently on the value of the data that Tesla vehicles capture which can be used to develop autonomous driving.
Days after the March ban on Tesla cars in military complexes, Musk appeared by video at a high-level Chinese forum, saying that if Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, it would be shut down.
Tesla said it would open a data centre in China and is developing a data platform for car owners in China.
Huawei to expand smart car partnership with Changan to chips: SourcesChina's Huawei Technologies is expanding its smart car partnership with state-owned Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd to include the design and development of auto-use semiconductors, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The two companies, which unveiled their smart car tie-up in November, have been working together informally on chips for the last few months, two of the sources said. A third source said they might soon form a joint venture for chip development.
With its global smartphone business hammered by U.S. sanctions, Huawei has pivoted to electric vehicles. In addition to the deal with Changan to develop smart cars under a joint as-yet-unnamed brand, the tech giant is also planning EVs under its own marque.
Huawei's new chip partnership with Changan would come amidst a global semiconductor shortage that has hit automakers particularly hard.
It would also represent a significant expansion for Huawei's chip business after U.S. sanctions meant it lost access to the underlying chip design software needed for more advanced chips used in smartphones.
The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Changan did not respond to a request to comment. Huawei said it defers to automakers in public announcements regarding their tie-ups.
Their current smart car partnership calls for Huawei to be in charge of the vehicle's operating system and cabin technologies while Changan would be in charge of vehicle design and engineering.
RIL well-placed in consumer business: SurveyNew Delhi: Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is well-placed in its consumer business segment with telco, retail and digital to benefit in the coming years as it gains traction with improving scale.
BofA Securities conducted an online survey of 1,000 users in India (using Survey Monkey) to gauge the changing consumer thought process and understand traction.
Key insights of the survey showed that on mobile tariffs, 69 per cent of the surveyed users don't mind paying 15-20 per cent higher telco tariffs.
"We see higher proportion (72 per cent/67 per cent) of Jio/Bharti users willing to pay 15-20 per cent more to enjoy the same services vs VIL (65 per cent)," BofA Securities said.
Demand for fixed broadband remains high with 22 per cent users having taken connection during Covid and 15 per cent intending to take soon.
The survey said 26 per cent prefer buying from Big Bazaar, 26 per cent from RIL stores (Reliance Fresh/Smart) and 18 per cent from DMart. This implies RIL will be in a dominant position in offline retail when potential the RIL-Future transaction completes, the survey said.
The JioMart app continues to see strong early traction with 61 per cent of the surveyed users having already tried the app. Of these, 39 per cent intend to continue ordering from JioMart. Among online, Amazon continues to be the dominant e-com site with 65 per cent users preferring it, followed by Flipkart at 25 per cent.
Jio entertainment apps' traction is not as strong, as per the survey.
In the video OTT segment, YouTube remains popular with 50 per cent of users watching it. Only 5 per cent watch Jio TV/Jio Cinema.
On music streaming, Jio is a close No. 3 behind Spotify and Gaana.
Traction on Ed-tech, Health-tech and Gaming apps is good. As many as 61 per cent are using Ed-tech apps with 23 per cent using BYJU's. A total of 70 per cent users play online games and 74 per cent use a health app, with 22 per cent/18 per cent using Medlife/Pharmeasy and 9 per cent using RIL's Netmeds.
"While RIL's traction in these apps is not as strong currently, we believe that given the user demand, RIL would likely focus on improving traction," the survey said.
Snap plans new video editing app, augmented reality featuresSnap Inc, owner of photo messaging app Snapchat, announced Thursday it will launch a new standalone app later this year called Story Studio, with video editing tools to help users make professional-level content for mobile.
Snap said it will also add a new feature to help notable Snapchat personalities earn money by allowing fans to send paid gifts on the app.
The announcements, made during Snap's annual Partner Summit for app developer and brand partners, are aimed at helping the company compete for more usage in a crowded social media landscape in which platforms like Instagram and TikTok are introducing more ways for users to earn money from creating content.
Video creators have earned more than $130 million from posting on its short-form video feature called Spotlight since November, Snap added, which has paid out $1 million per day to Spotlight users.
The Santa Monica, California-based company added it will introduce a camera feature called Screenshop, which for example will let users take a photo of an outfit they see, and then receive clothes recommendations from brands to recreate the look.
Screenshop is part of Snap's years-long investment to grow augmented reality technology, which it views as a way to enhance how users interact with their surroundings. Other tech companies including Facebook and Apple are also investing heavily in AR technology.
Haryana officials told to take action against those spreading rumours linking 5G to COVID spreadDeputy commissioners and district police chiefs across Haryana have been directed to take "strict, coercive and immediate action" against miscreants spreading rumours linking 5G network technology to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said on Thursday. In his directive, Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan said such misinformation has led to incidents of some misguided elements damaging mobile towers and asked the officials to ensure that the telecom and related infrastructure is safeguarded.
"As you might be aware misinformation attributing the fatalities and health problems being faced by people due to COVID-19 virus, is being attributed to the testing of 5G towers. This has led to some incidents in the state resulting in mobile towers/network being damaged by some misguided elements," Vardhan wrote in his letter to the deputy commissioners and senior superintendents of police/superintendents of police.
He said WHO has clarified that such rumours are misplaced as viruses cannot travel on radio wave/mobile network.
Vardhan also mentioned that the Department of Telecommunications under the Union government has also clarified that linking the 5G network technology with COVID-19 pandemic has no scientific basis.
"Besides, the testing of 5G network has not yet started in India. Hence, the apprehension that 5G trials/networks are causing corona virus in India is baseless and devoid of any merit," he wrote.
"I would, therefore, advise you to safeguard telecom infrastructure and other related assets in your district and take strict, coercive and immediate action against any miscreant spreading such misleading rumours," he added.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Sunday said it has urged the Haryana government to curb misinformation being spread regarding 5G testing being responsible for the spread of COVID-19.
In a letter to Vardhan, the telecom operators said some miscreants are spreading rumours that deaths and health problems faced by people due to COVID-19 are caused by testing of 5G technology.
These rumours are spreading at a time when 5G testing has not even started in the country, the COAI had said in a statement here.
Telecom operators have kept Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh out of their list of places for testing 5G network, the association had said.
"We would like to state that such misinformation or rumors being spread are baseless, and there is no evidence or fact to suggest that there is any harmful effect of the 5G services with relation to COVID-19," it said.
Twitter to relaunch its verification featureMicro-blogging platform Twitter is relaunching its verification service to give it more "transparency, credibility and clarity".
The company had halted the verification feature pending a review of its policies.
The US-based platform has now formed six categories of people who will get the verification tag, provided they meet the company's criteria.
This includes government, companies, brands and organizations, news organizations and journalists, entertainment, sports and gaming and activists, organizers, and other influential individuals.
Twitter said it was also working to add categories such as those for scientists, academicians, and religious leaders.
The company has been doing research on automated accounts and plans to introduce a way to denote this account type in the next few months along with launching other features. The application for verification can now be submitted from within the Twitter app itself, it said.
"Over the past several months, we've been working to bring clarity to the verification eligibility criteria and launched a new policy shaped by public feedback. We also started enforcing that policy by automatically removing the verified badge from accounts that no longer meet the updated criteria for verification, such as those that are inactive or incomplete," the company said in a statement.
Twitter has also introduced new guidelines for verified accounts.
"...your account must be complete, meaning you have a profile name, a profile image and either a confirmed email address or phone number. Your account must also be active within the last six months and have a record of adherence to the Twitter Rule," it said.
People who want to be verified will be able to apply for it from within the Account Settings Tab in the app.
Going forward, the company is looking to launch new account types as well.
"Since our last update, we've been doing ongoing research on automated accounts and plan to introduce a way to denote this account type in the next few months, with memorialized accounts to follow. We're also exploring improvements to the Twitter profile to allow people to better express themselves, such as through an About page," it said.
Facebook says restricted 878 items in India from July-Dec 2020 on govt requestNew Delhi: Facebook Inc. received 37,865 legal process requests on data from the Indian government between July and December 2020, according to its latest transparency report released on Thursday. It also received requests for data from the government on 62,754 user accounts and there were about 2435 emergency disclosure requests. Data was produced in about 52% of the requests, Facebook said.
The company said it restricted access in India to 878 items in response to directions from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for violating Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, including content against security of the state and public order. Of these, 10 were restricted temporarily.
Compared to India, Facebook received 57,905 legal process requests from the US government and requests for information on around 102,271 accounts. Facebook said it produced data on 89% of the requests. From the UK, the company received 8241 legal process requests on data and information on 12,753 users/accounts. It produced data in about 88% of the requests.
While also releasing its community standards enforcement report for the first quarter of this year, Facebook said the prevalence of hate speech on Facebook continues to decrease. In quarter one, it was 0.05-0.06%, or 5 to 6 views per 10,000 views compared to 0.07%-0.08% between October to December last year.
Facebook took action on 25.2 million pieces of hate speech content, compared to 26.9 million in Q4 2020. On Instagram it took action on 6.3 million pieces of hate speech content, compared to 6.6 million in Q4 2020.
The company said in Q1 2021, the prevalence of adult nudity on both Facebook and Instagram was 0.03-0.04%. Violent and graphic content prevalence was 0.01-0.02% on Instagram. On Facebook, it was 0.03-0.04%, down from .05% last quarter.
In a post, Guy Rosen, VP, integrity at Facebook wrote that due to improvements in its 'proactive detection technology', Facebook took action on 8.8 million pieces of bullying and harassment content, up from 6.3 million in Q4 2020 and 5.5 million pieces of bullying and harassment content, up from 5 million in Q4 2020.
Etrio expands dealer network to create national footprint for Touro electric 3WEtrio, an electric vehicle (EV) startup, has forayed into the B2C space by establishing dealerships in six states. This move is part of its strategy to expand across the country with its unique EV dealerships. Currently, the company has dealers in Delhi, UP, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
Etrio plans to further strengthen its presence in the country by opening outlets in over 15 states by the end of this financial year. As part of this plan, the company will strengthen its presence in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and also enter Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal.
The primary product line will be the electric three-wheeler range of Touro across both cargo and passenger segments. Also on the anvil are plans to launch new products in the three-wheeler category and enter the electric four-wheeler LCV segment with a one-tonne offering.
The three-wheeler passenger market, which has been affected greatly by restricted movement owing to the pandemic and urban lockdowns, is expected to revive once there is a demand surge. Moreover, the growth of intra-city movement is primarily led by demand in the e-commerce last mile logistics category. Towards meeting this demand, Etrio is working extensively on the ground with its dealers and stakeholders including financiers, charging infrastructure players among others to build an EV ecosystem in the country, the company said in a release.
Deepak MV, co-founder & CEO, Etrio, said, "Etrio has always aimed at making a remarkable and sustainable presence. Our constant focus is innovation and efficiency of our product. This dealership presence is in line with our fundamental belief that the real EV adoption would only happen once a typical driver owner sees the three-wheeler EVs as the preferred option over conventional fuel alternatives. With the battle for total cost of ownership in 3W is being won by the EVs, it's time to build a formidable presence on the ground, create awareness and bring the real 3W customer into the EV fold. For this to happen, the most important role shall be played by our dealers. We at Etrio are in for the long haul and are focused on building a national footprint in a phased manner. Over this financial year, we are going to expand in select states and focus on Tier-II cities besides the prominent metros."
Etrio currently has tie-ups with two leading NBFCs and are looking at adding more to this list. The company is also planning to open Etrio experience centres at select cities across the country, added the company.
Tata Motors and Tata Power install high-speed EV Charging Stations in Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack Tata Motors and Tata Power recently inaugurated 2 high-speed CCS2 EV charging stations one each at TML Dion Automotives, Samantarapur in Bhubaneshwar, and TML Gugnani Autocars, Pratap Nagari in Cuttack. With this, the company operates the largest charging network of 4 chargers throughout Odisha, located on major routes.
The high-speed EV charger is equipped to charge the Nexon EV from 0-80% in one hour. Accessible via the Tata Power EZ Charge, an app designed to offer seamless user interface, Nexon EV users can now easily find, pay for, and use the charging station when away from home. This application will also allow the user to monitor their charge status and get notified when they are ready to go.
"The availability of the charging stations will not only enhance the convenience factor for those who are away from home, but will also actively contribute to addressing barriers to the EV adoption. We are committed to build a seamless charging experience in collaboration with Tata Power and take the EV charging infrastructure to the next level. With a rapidly increasing charging network and the exceptional range that Nexon EV offers, we are confident that our EV customers would like to spend more and more time on the go now." Ramesh Dorairajan, head - sales, marketing and customer care, electric vehicle business unit, Tata Motors, said.
Sandeep Bangia, head- EV, HA & ESCO Business, Tata Power, said, "We are committed to accelerating EV adoption across the country by expanding our charging infrastructure footprint. Currently, all the 4000+ Tata Nexon EV owners can access over 456 charging points installed in 92 cities and on several prominent intercity routes across India. In Odisha alone, we have installed 4 charging points and this number is only expected to increase. The CCS2 charging stations like those installed at TML Dion Automotives, Samantarapur in Bhubaneshwar and TML Gugnani Autocars, Pratap Nagari in Cuttack are typically installed at workplaces, hotels, and commercial areas where EV owners normally spend several hours and can conveniently recharge their vehicles."
Further, to accelerate the adoption of EVs in India, Tata Motors also introduced a holistic e-mobility ecosystem "Tata uniEVerse" to closely leverage the strengths and experience of other Tata Group companies to create a viable EV environment. Through this consumers will have access to a suite of e-mobility offerings including charging solutions, innovative retail experiences and easy financing options.Source: https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/tata-motors-and-tata-power-install-high-speed-ev-charging-stations-in-bhubaneshwar-and-cuttack/82767503
Audi India extends warranty, service period till June 30German luxury carmaker Audi on Wednesday said it has extended warranties and service plans for its customers in India till June 30 in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The extension of standard and extended warranty and service plans are applicable to those customers whose plans lapse during the lockdown months of April and May, Audi India said in a statement.
Customers facing challenges owing to the lockdown will benefit from these extended plans, it added.
Commenting on the step, Audi India Head Balbir Singh said, "In line with the need of the hour of staying home and staying safe, we are rolling out extensions on standard warranty, extended warranty, and service plans for existing Audi customers till June 30, 2021."
He assured customers that they have the opportunity to extend their plans to receive services for their Audi cars.
Sonalika Group offers financial assistance to its dealers' staff affected by COVID-19The Sonalika Group has assured financial support of up to INR 2 lakh to the members of its dealer workforce, depending on the severity of the COVID-19 attack. This is in addition to the ongoing, extensive Dealers' Employees COVID Vaccination Scheme that was launched in April to cover the entire Sonalika family.
The company has assured INR 25,000 to cover the medical expenses incurred by a dealership employee due to a COVID-19 infection. This is in addition to other schemes that are already in force to cover kids of dealers' employees for medical assistance and education of up to Rs. 50,000annually.
In the case of the unfortunate demise of an employee due to COVID-19, the company has assured INR 200,000 that shall be paid to the deceased person's family members. The company has also requested its dealers to support the aggrieved family financially to the best of their ability.
Raman Mittal, the executive director, Sonalika Group, said, "The second wave of COVID-19 wave has been extremely unpredictable and unfortunately has impacted many of our business associates and channel partners, especially dealer employees. We believe that no financial assistance can make up for any kind of health loss or the untimely demise of an individual. However, through the new extensive support measures, we remain committed to standing together with our dealers and their employees across the country while assuring mental support to all."
"While we urge everyone to continue exercising COVID-19 safety protocols, we also request our Sonalika family members to stay in a positive state of mind as this will empower us to come out as a winner as we gradually come out of the pandemic," he added.
Bridgestone takes steps for psychological wellbeing of employeesTyre maker Bridgestone India on Wednesday said it has initiated a slew of measures aimed at de-stressing and for the psychological wellbeing of its employees amid the raging coronavirus pandemic in the country. The company acknowledged that the work from home phenomena has no fixed timings leaving little time for employees to organise their work schedule or be with their families.
It has informed all employees that till 1 pm every Monday will be a no meeting zone giving employees time to organise their work priorities for the week, the firm added.
The HR initiatives also mandates a fixed lunch time for employees during which period, there will be no online meetings, it added.
The Pune-based company also announced that for the next three months, there will be one Friday off for all employees so as to enable them to spend quality time with their families over an extended weekend.
Employees have also been instructed that they should log off by 5pm, Bridgestone India noted.
Another initiative 'Take 5' allows employees to take five consecutive days off work to energise and reinvigorate themselves, it added.
These initiatives will be applicable to both its plants in Pune and Indore and all its offices throughout the country.
The tyre maker said it has contributed towards setting up two Oxygen Generator Plants in Pune and Indore.
The Bridgestone group has supplemented its Indian arm's efforts by contributing 56 ventilators, 120 oxygen concentrators and 10,000 N-95 masks.
"These are unprecedented times and if our efforts can give relief, solace and even a new lease of life to some, I think it is enough to reward our efforts.
"We are grateful to be able to mobilise global support from the Bridgestone family towards procuring essential medical equipment and help us reach out to many more in need," Bridgestone India Managing Director Parag Satpute said.
Electric-vehicle maker Arrival partners with digital mapping company HereBritish electric-van startup Arrival said on Wednesday it had partnered with Here Technologies, a digital mapping company owned by some of Germany's premium carmakers, to provide location and cloud services for its vehicles.
Enhanced performance of its fleets will help reduce carbon emissions, Arrival said.
Major carmakers including Tesla and BMW are adopting the technology despite huge costs, as the auto industry faces tightening Carbon dioxide emissions standards in Europe and China.
Here's software development tools also provide offline functions including route calculation, location search and turn-by-turn navigation, Arrival said.
Arrival has been developing its own technologies since 2015 and using that to enable electric-vehicle production. It went public in March through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
Travel bubbles to stay in the Covid-era, more people buy leisure motorhomes & caravans for tripsFor French retiree Jean-Michel Sibois, travelling will no longer be the same in the age of Covid-19. He is now among legions who have bought motorhomes to escape in their own travel bubbles.
"You don't imagine travelling as before, on an airplane heading to a faraway destination," said Sibois, who recently spent EUR 50,000 (US$ 61,000) on his leisure vehicle. "We really wanted to be a little less confined, a little bit more at peace," he said, citing health and environmental concerns with traditional travel.
Sales of motorhomes have soared across the world in the past year. A record number of leisure vehicles, which include motorhomes and towable caravans, were sold in Europe in 2020, rising 12 percent to around 235,000 units, according to the European Caravan Federation. Record sales were also recorded in the United States in March while in Australia the number of registered leisure vehicles has reached 750,000.
Holidaymakers enjoy the flexibility that motorhomes offer, allowing them to set up camp at caravan parks or in the middle of nature, according to a survey conducted in France for US automaker Ford. Younger buyers say it allows them to take cheaper holidays while older customers feel safer in them during the pandemic.
Julie Vignaux, whose company Nomadism rents luxury campers, said leisure vehicles can be "like a health bubble".
Hundreds of workers pierce and cut into Fiat and Renault vans to add beds, kitchens, bathrooms and sky roofs to the vehicles at a factory of the Pilote company in the western French city of Angers. "It's total excitement. We have a lot of demand, many clients want their vehicles before the summer," said Pilote spokesman Antoine Gueret.
The camper market has grown at a regular pace for many years "but the coronavirus has speeded up growth", Gueret said. The vehicles range in size from vans to palaces on wheels that sell for EUR 200,000. Deliveries at dealerships have been delayed. Production has also been disrupted by the closure of some factories during confinements and a global shortage of semiconductors.
"It's a battle every day to get a vehicle out in time," Gueret said.
In the US, order books for the luxury campers made by Airstream are full until 2022.
"As the pandemic played out, we anticipated that more people would see Airstream as a viable option for safe travel, but the demand far exceeded our expectations," said the company's chief executive Bob Wheeler. "More than 90 percent of everything we ship to our dealers already has a customer's name on it," Wheeler said.
Airstream's parent company, Thor industries, posted record turnover of $2.7 billion in the first quarter and expects demand to saturate the market until the end of the year. The global recreational vehicle market is expected to grow seven percent per year until 2025 after reaching $42 billion in 2020, according to US consultancy Arizton.
"As these vehicles provide a reliable and personal way to travel, it is considered the safest travel alternative during the coronavirus pandemic, while maintaining social distance norms," Arizton said in a report. "Further, the increasing demand for road trips as a getaway from quarantine would also boost growth."
Traditionally seen as a retirement vehicle, campers are now attracting younger customers. "Millennials, a market bigger than the baby boomers, are buying RVs earlier than previous generations," according to Thor Industries.
In the US, the average age of RV owners is 53 but new buyers were around 41 years old last year, according to US RV Industry Association (RVIA). Younger buyers spend around US$ 67,000 on average on RVs, more than older generations, according to RVIA spokeswoman Monika Geraci.
With new campers harder to find, some are turning to the used vehicle market or rentals. Others take matters into their own hands and repurpose their vans. With her theatre school in Brussels closed because of the pandemic, Swiss student Elise Bijou turned her van into a camper to travel from Belgium to Portugal. "By wandering I was able to live through the Covid pandemic almost disconnected from the restrictions," she said.
JK Tyre posts Rs 194 cr PAT for Jan-Mar JK Tyre and Industries on Wednesday reported a consolidated profit after tax of Rs 194.96 crore for the March quarter of the previous fiscal against a consolidated loss of Rs 52.78 crore in the year-ago period. Revenue from operations in the quarter under review rose by 63.21 per cent to Rs 2,927.28 crore compared to Rs 1,792.56 crore in Q4FY20, the company said.
For the fiscal 2020-21, profit after tax grew more than two-folds to Rs 330.93 crore over Rs 141.31 crore in FY20. The revenue from operations in the previous fiscal grew 4.35 per cent to Rs 9,102.20 crore against 8,722.70 crore logged in the year ended March 31, 2020.
"The year began with India in lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic and the economy grinding to a halt with Q1FY21 almost a washout. Economy started opening up gradually from mid-May. As a result of several initiatives taken, JK Tyre recovered fast and achieved the highest sales in Q3FY21 and Q4FY21 increasing its market presence," said Raghupati Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director, JK Tyre and Industries Ltd.
With high capacity utilization, control on costs and reduced working capital, special focus on customer outreach and premium products offering, profitability improved significantly, he said.
"JK Tyre subsidiaries--Cavendish Industries and JK Tornel-- also added to substantial overall improvement in the profitability of the company," he said.
He said the company is fully geared to face challenges emanating from rising raw material prices and prevailing lockdowns under second wave of novel virus, adding, "despite these headwinds, the company expects to continue capturing opportunities that are arising in this new environment in India and abroad."
Ford Motor, SK Innovation to announce EV battery joint ventureFord Motor Co and South Korean battery maker SK Innovation are set to launch a battery joint venture in the United States to support the ramp-up of the No. 2 U.S. automaker's electric vehicle rollout, two people familiar with the matter said.
A memorandum of understanding about the joint venture will be announced on Thursday, the sources, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters. The deal may eventually include a jointly owned plant to make battery cells for use in rechargeable EV batteries, the sources said.
Ford declined to comment other than to say SK is a valued supplier, but scheduled a conference call for 9 a.m. ET on Thursday to provide "an update on Ford batteries." SK Innovation said in a statement it does not comment on specific projects for reasons of client confidentiality.
Talks around the joint venture picked up speed last month after SK Innovation agreed to pay $1.8 billion to LG Energy Solution, a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd, to settle LG's accusations of trade theft by its rival, one of the sources said.
The dispute, which the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden had been on the verge of settling with a ruling, had put SK Innovation's battery cell plant in Georgia at risk. That plant, which is under construction, will serve Ford and Germany's Volkswagen AG.
Biden on Tuesday called for government grants for new battery production facilities as part of a $174 billion EV proposal during a visit to a Ford EV plant in Michigan. He also referenced his administration's role in brokering the settlement between SK and LG Chem.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Thursday for a four-day stay that will include a visit to SK's Georgia plant. The Ford-SK joint venture will highlight close U.S. and South Korean ties on EVs, a key priority for Biden.
SK Innovation is expected to complete the Georgia plant's construction later this year, and is building a second facility next door that is expected to start battery production in 2023. The company has invested $2.6 billion in Georgia.
SK Innovation, with battery production sites in the United States, Hungary, China and South Korea, has an annual capacity of about 40 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of batteries. It aims to ramp up to an annual capacity of about 125 GWh of batteries in 2025, which can power about 1.8 million electric vehicles.
A deal with SK may have Ford taking a similar path as rival General Motors Co, which has a battery joint venture with LG Energy that is building plants in Ohio and Tennessee.
The status of these battery plants is key to the United Auto Workers union, which represents GM and Ford's U.S. hourly plant workers. The union has pressed the automakers to allow workers at these plants to unionize, an approach Biden has backed.
Ford is pushing to electrify key models in its lineup, including the Transit van late this year and F-150 pickup mid-2022, and already sells the all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV. It has said it will invest $22 billion in electrification through 2025.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based company has repeatedly stepped up efforts around batteries, with Chief Executive Jim Farley stating several times the automaker was looking at making its own batteries. Last month, after Ford reported quarterly results, he said things have changed as the automaker has boosted its EV volumes.
"We've totally entered a different zone ... so we've already made the decision to vertically integrate the company," he said on a conference call with analysts.
"We're now building motors, e-axles now, we've been writing our own battery management software for quite some time, and now it's time for us to lock in on the latest technology and to have a secure cell production relationship."
While saying Ford had no news to announce, Farley added, "To be competitive in this industry, a major brand like Ford will have to vertically integrate all the way through the system."
Ford's big bet: Fans of F-150 pickup will embrace electricOn the outside, the electric version of Ford's F-150 pickup looks much like its wildly popular gas-powered version. Yet the resemblance is deceiving. With its new battery-powered truck, Ford is making a costly bet that buyers will embrace a vehicle that would help transform how the world drives.
Branded the F-150 Lightning, the pickup will be able to travel up to 300 miles per battery charge, thanks to a frame designed to safely hold a huge lithium-ion battery that can power your house should the electricity go out. Going from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) will take just 4.5 seconds.
With a starting price near $40,000 (before options), Ford has calculated that an electric version of America's top-selling vehicle will appeal to the sorts of buyers who favor rugged pickup trucks prized for strength and durability. If it succeeds, it could speed the nation's transition away from petroleum burners - a cornerstone of President Joe Biden's broad effort to fight climate change.
"It's a watershed moment to me," Ford CEO Jim Farley said of the electric truck, which was formally unveiled Wednesday night. "It's a very important transition for our industry."
For the Biden administration to prevail in its push for green energy-driven manufacturing, it will need to overcome resistance as well as skepticism. Critics fear the loss of auto industry jobs in a shift away from gasoline-fueled vehicles. Because EVs are much simpler, it takes fewer workers to build them. And bottlenecked supply chains could leave automakers short of computer chips and vehicle batteries, along with other parts, for months and perhaps years.
That said, a vehicle like the Lightning is so critical to Biden's policies that even before its formal unveiling, he visited the Ford plant in Michigan where it will be built beginning next year. The president even drove the truck on a test track.
"This sucker's quick," he declared.
For its part, Ford is taking a significant risk by sinking so much capital into an electric version of a pickup that commands a huge and loyal following. In a typical year, Ford sells about 900,000 F-series trucks nationally. It has been America's top-selling vehicle for nearly four decades.
Gas-powered F-150s are staples on job sites across the nation, where workers haul equipment and materials and often don't see a need for change. So it could be years before Ford realizes a return on its investment in an electric F-150. This year, through April, the company has sold only 10,000 of its new gas-electric hybrid F-150s - just over 6% of the F-150's total sales.
Still, introducing a capable electric truck at a fairly reasonable price could potentially produce the breakthrough that draws many more people to battery-powered vehicles of all sizes, said Ivan Drury, a senior manager at Edmunds.com.
"If you're going to choose one vehicle in the industry that's going to do it, this is going to be the one," Drury said. "I expect this to be a home run, and I expect it to really convert a lot of consumers' minds."
At the same time, the electric truck, due in showrooms by the middle of next year, comes at a time when American drivers remain reluctant to jettison gas vehicles. Through April, automakers sold about 108,000 fully electric vehicles in the U.S. Though that's nearly twice the number from the same period last year, EVs still account for only 2% of U.S. vehicle sales, according to Edmunds.
In addition to the Lightning, though, the growing number of fully electric offerings will help raise sales numbers. Automakers now sell 18 electric models in the U.S.; Drury expects 30 by year's end.
To be sure, Ford won't stop building gas-powered trucks for years. They remain an enormous cash cow. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that the F-Series generates $42 billion in annual U.S. revenue for the automaker - more than such entire companies as McDonald's, Nike or Netflix do.
Initially, Ford expects Lightning customers to be mainly higher-income urban and suburban residents who seldom go off road or use truck beds to haul anything heavy. But the company plans a commercial version designed to make work more efficient. Ultimately, Farley expects sales to be evenly balanced between work and personal buyers.
But Ford may have a hard time selling it to people who build houses, maintain lawns or plow snow.
"It sounds good, but it's not good for the type of business I'm in," said Jimmie Williams, owner of a landscaping firm on Chicago's South Side. He doesn't think the battery will have enough range to last the 12-14-hour days his crews sometimes work maintaining about 700 properties.
He'll stick with his three gas-powered pickups, in part because he plows snow in the winter, when cold weather can limit an EV's range.
Others aren't ready now but might be convinced to switch in the future.
"Maybe when I'm retired," quipped Steven Realy, a foreman for a subcontractor at a housing development in Pittsfield Township, Michigan.
Realy, 28, whose company uses diesel trucks to carry equipment and building materials, doesn't think an electric truck will do the job now but maybe in the future.
"When electric takes off more than what it is right now," he said, "I could see myself owning one, definitely."
Yet it may be difficult to persuade some people to give up the big gas engines they're used to.
"I like my V-8," Anthony Lane, a 26-year-old plumber in the same development, said from the driver's seat of his gleaming Chevrolet Silverado.
Aside from a charging port and a Lightning decal, Ford's new truck resembles a standard F-150. That was intentional. Ford wants the Lightning to be perceived as just as capable as gasoline versions, if not more so.
Even the base version of the electric F-150, with two rows of seats and a 230-mile estimated range per battery charge, can haul up to a ton in its bed. A high-end Lightning equipped with a longer-range battery can tow an estimated 10,000 pounds, matching many gas-powered trucks, though falling about 3,000 pounds shy of Ford's V-8 engines.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the truck is its price, which Ford said is about equal to a comparably equipped gasoline F-150. With a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 still available on Ford electric vehicles, the base price falls to around $32,500. That's below the lowest-priced gas F-150 with a crew cab, which starts at roughly $37,000.
The Lightning has a front trunk with plugs for power tools and lights at job or camp sites. And if the electricity goes, out, it can run your house for up to three days, which Farley expects to be a big selling point.
Competition for the Lightning is looming. General Motors says it's working on an electric Silverado. Stellantis is developing an electric Ram. Tesla's angular Cybertruck is due out this year. And startups Bollinger Motors, Nikola, Rivian and Lordstown Motors have trucks in the works.
All will face an inevitable obstacle in seeking buyers: brand loyalty. Pickup drivers often stick with one company for life. Sometimes, they choose a brand because it's been in the family for years, if not generations.
"I'm not a Ford guy," said Lane, the plumber. "I drive Chevys my whole life."
Once General Motors comes out with an electric Silverado, though, Lane might consider a change.
"I'll probably stick with the gas," he said. "But if they ever fully switch over to electric, I'll probably get the Chevy one."
India consumer internal SSD market surges record high in Q1The consumer internal SSD market shipments recorded 34 per cent growth (quarter on quarter) in the first quarter of 2021 while on an annual basis, the overall market registered remarkable 172 per cent growth in Q1, a new report showed on Tuesday.
While PCIe/NVMe SSD shipments registered 433 per cent (YoY) growth on a small base, portable SSD market shipments were up 64 per cent in the first quarter of the year, according to market research firm CMR's 'India Hard Drive Market Review for Q1 CY2021'.
In the overall consumer internal SSD market, WD captured 14 per cent market share followed by Adata capturing 13 per cent and Crucial at third position with 12 per cent share.
"The internal SSD market growth is largely attributed to the increased relevance of PCs due to the extended work from home (WFH) and remote learning. Growing awareness about the supreme features of SSDs over traditional HDDs gave an additional boost," said Shipra Sinha, Analyst, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR.
"Consumers inclination towards SSDs was clearly visible giving ample growth opportunity. A significant contribution was observed by the lesser-known brands thus increasing the overall internal SSD base," Sinha added.
In the external SSD market, Samsung stood at the top spot with 51 per cent market share followed by WD at 41 per cent.
WD shipments increased by 32 per cent YoY, while Samsung shipments went up by 109 per cent YoY.
Seagate captured the third position with 6 per cent market share, the CMR report said.
CMR anticipates the internal SSD market to grow 25-30 per cent (YoY) by the end of CY2021 on back of increased SSD adoption and penetration, making it a mainstream product.
Portable SSDs are also expected to grow 50 per cent YoY on a small base.
"Unabated growth in data and increasing complexity in data management will drive portable SSDs future growth," Sinha said.
Fake Apple AirPods worth $7.16 mn seized in USThe US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati have seized three large shipments from China that contained fake Apple AirPods, which are estimated to be worth around $7.16 million.
A total of 36,000 fake AirPods were seized, each shipment containing 12,000 units, on May 6, according to an official release issued by the US CBP.
Although each package had a declared value of $5,280, the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price for all the AirPods would have been $7.16 million had they been genuine.
After consulting with an import specialist from CBP's Center of Excellence and Expertise, the items were found to violate CBP trademark and copyright codes and were seized on May 11 and 13.
It goes on to explain that Apple has configuration trademarks on their AirPods and has recorded those trademarks with CBP, reports Gizmo China.
It also adds that a company does not have to put the "Apple" wordmark or design on their products to violate these trademarks.
In this instance, further inspection of the earbuds revealed that their shape and design replicated the protected Apple configuration.
Apple AirPods is one of the bestselling products from the tech giant with shipments of about 114 million units in 2020.
The company has a dedicated anti-counterfeit team working which is tasked with the removal of knock-off Apple products.
Last year, the team managed to take down more than a million product listings for fake Apple goods.
Google teams with Samsung for wearables platform Google and Samsung said they were teaming up on a joint software platform for smartwatches and other wearables in a move ramping up competition with market leader Apple.
The move, announced at the Google developer conference in California, means Samsung will use Google's Wear OS for its upcoming Galaxy smartwatches instead of its own Tizen platform.
"We're bringing the best of Wear and Tizen into a single, unified platform," said Google Wear project director Bjorn Kilburn.
"By working together we have been able to take strengths of each and combine them into an experience that has faster performance, longer battery life and more of the apps you love available for the watch."
The combination will allow all device markets to use this platform, creating an ecosystem that could challenge Apple, the longtime leader in the smartwatch segment with about a third of the market, as Google integrates its newly acquired wearables maker Fitbit.
Samsung vice president Janghyun Yoon said in a separate statement the South Korean firm "constantly pursues new ways to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers," adding, "That's why we decided to team up with Google... to bring the best of our platforms together into one unified experience."
The announcement came at Google's annual developer conference, held online for a second consecutive year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the event, Google unveiled a series of updates and upgrades to its services including maps, search, shopping and photos, while giving a preview of its ongoing research projects.
Google offered a glimpse of its planned AI search tool which it aims to deploy more complex tasks across multiple languages.
With the so-called Multitask Unified Model, "we're able to better understand much more complex questions and needs," senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said, noting that this is "trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models."
Google released a test version of Android 12, updating the mobile system used by some three billion devices, with increased privacy controls and personalization.
The tech giant also unveiled its new Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara, California which will carry out research in the emerging field of quantum computing and develop its own quantum processor chips.
Chief executive Sundar Pichai announced a push on geothermal energy as part of Google's sustainability efforts. This will include a geothermal-powered data center in Nevada and installation of "the largest geothermal pile system in North America" at its new California campus.
"We need to go beyond wind and solar and tap into sources of on-demand clear energy like geothermal," to meet sustainability goals, Pichai said.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/google-teams-with-samsung-for-wearables-platform/82757833
Slate of Google updates boost its smartwatch, work collaboration effortsAlphabet Inc's Google on Tuesday unveiled updates across many services, including Maps, Photos and operating systems, as the company showcases its role in a world that has become more digitally connected during the pandemic.
The announcements during the virtually-held Google I/O developer conference add up to a boost for the company's smartwatch efforts, which compete with Apple Inc, and for its collaboration tools that rival offerings from Microsoft Corp.
They also show how Google is aiming to demonstrate that its advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) will keep users attracted to its ad-supported or paid services for shopping, communication and entertainment even as pandemic lockdowns ease and people resume in-person activities.
Google said its smartwatch operating system, Wear OS, would be adopted by its newly-acquired Fitbit unit and Samsung Electronics Co, both of which had used their own systems for years. Now working together, the companies could attract more app developers and better compete with Apple Watch.
The company also shared new editing and viewing options for Google Docs and other work software, including a simple tool that suggests using inclusive terms instead of gendered words.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has made advocating for social justice a priority across the company, and in another move the company said by this fall its Pixel smartphones would better capture darker skin tones and curly and wavy hair in photos.
AI updates included a new effort to help drivers using Google Maps reduce sudden braking by navigating them on "safer" routes. Google Photos will offer users a reminder that they can search Google Images for specific objects in screenshots. Google also said a more powerful computer chip, TPU v4, important to AI development would be available this year to Google Cloud customers.
Android 12, the latest version of the mobile operating system active on over 3 billion devices globally, will arrive later this year packed with personalization features such as customizing apps' color schemes. It will also enable devices to be used as a digital key for some cars.
In a tease of futuristic collaboration software, Pichai revealed Project Starline, video-conferencing booths that use so-called light-field displays to let people view a 3D representation of their counterparts. Healthcare and media companies would test the system, Pichai said.
Handset makers may miss PLI targets for second year in a rowHandset manufacturers in India may miss their production-linked incentive targets for the second year in a row as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is likely to lop three months of output, executives said.
The companies are already looking at reducing hiring target for 2021 by a fifth, with production shutting or scaled down as thousands of migrant workers head to their hometowns and villages after lockdowns and restrictions were imposed in many states.
The incentive scheme was a washout in FY21, its first year, after only one of the 16 companies achieved the stipulated targets due to delays in manufacturing expansion caused by Covid-19. Each global handset company had a production target of Rs 4,000 crore in FY21, which was to be achieved in eight months.
"For FY22, this target was doubled to Rs 8,000 crore, but we will again lose at least three months due to the second wave," said a senior executive of a handset maker that missed the first year's targets. "The scheme is almost falling apart without any confidence measures taken by the government."
The India Cellular Electronics Association, which represents Apple iPhone makers Foxconn and Wistron, and others including Lava, Bhagwati, UTL and Optiemus, had asked the government to consider FY21 as a zero year for companies to expand capacity and to ease target timelines. The government is yet to take a call, with the information technology ministry said to be against any relaxations.
The incentive scheme for manufacturing handsets locally started in October for five global and five domestic companies and six component makers. The aim was to produce Rs 10.5 lakh crore worth of output and export 60% - about Rs 6.5 lakh crore - over the next five years.
In the first year ended March 2021, Samsung attained its targets while exports hadn't even started for a majority of the others, ET had reported. In the second year, Foxconn, Wistron and Lava have cut production by about half during the first two weeks of May.
Executives said that given the uncertainties over the current second wave of infections and the possibility of a third, companies are unlikely to accelerate hiring. Exports, which were the primary agenda of the incentive scheme, will fall behind by almost a year, they said.
"We are facing a two-way challenge... lockdowns and worker health issues are curtailing production capacity in factories. Meanwhile, the domestic market for phones is fast expanding," one company executive said. "This is raising a question on the need for exports right now."
Market leader Xiaomi India head Manu Jain had told ET that the company would try to meet rising domestic demand first, and exports were not a priority.
Hiring targets have gone haywire. The industry expected to generate employment for 50,000 people by the end of 2021.
"Hiring has paused and any spurt will happen after a few quarters. Given the impact of the second wave, barely 10,000-15,000 can be hired against the targeted numbers," said Shiv Agrawal, managing director of ABC Consultants.
As per the government's estimates, the 16 companies were expected to generate more than 200,000 direct employment opportunities between from 2020 to 2025 and create additional indirect employment of almost three times the direct employment.
Workforce mobility is proving to be one of the biggest challenges since employees, especially those on contract, don't want to move to other states.
"Recruitments have stopped since mobility and safety is an issue," said Rituparna Chakraborty, cofounder of staffing firm TeamLease Services.
Chakraborty added that typically, the labour force is recruited from the northern and eastern states for factories in the south, which has now stopped.
Chip crisis in 'Danger Zone' as wait times reach new recordShortages in the semiconductor industry, which have already slammed automakers and consumer electronics companies, are getting even worse, complicating the global economy's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Chip lead times, the gap between ordering a chip and taking delivery, increased to 17 weeks in April, indicating users are getting more desperate to secure supply, according to research by Susquehanna Financial Group. That is the longest wait since the firm began tracking the data in 2017, in what it describes as the "danger zone."
"All major product categories up considerably," Susquehanna analyst Chris Rolland wrote in a note Tuesday, citing power management and analog chip lead times among others. "These were some of the largest increases since we started tracking the data."
Chip shortages are rippling through industry after industry, preventing companies from shipping products from cars to game consoles and refrigerators. Automakers are now expected to lose out on $110 billion in sales this year, as Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and others have to idle factories for lack of essential components. That's undercutting economic growth and employment, as well as raising fears of panic ordering that may lead to distortions in the future.
The chip industry and its customers watch lead times as an indicator of the balance between supply and demand. A lengthening of the gap indicates that buyers of semiconductors are more willing to commit to future supply to avoid a recurrence of shortfalls. Analysts track these numbers as a harbinger of hoarding that can lead to the accumulation of too much inventory and sudden declines in orders.
The chip shortage keeps getting worse. Why can't we just make more?
"Elevated lead times often compel 'bad behavior' at customers, including inventory accumulation, safety stock building and double ordering," Rolland wrote. "These trends may have spurred a semiconductor industry in the early stages of over-shipment above true customer demand."
The situation has been complicated by a resurgence of coronavirus cases in Taiwan, a key location for chip manufacturing. The country has closed schools, curbed social gatherings, and shut museums and public facilities. While businesses and factories are operating, the government may have to consider broader restrictions.
TSMC is stuck in the middle of a global panic over chip supply
The country is home to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which is the world's most advanced chipmaker and counts Apple Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. among its many customers. Local manufacturers also produce less glamorous -- but equally critical -- chips, such as display driver ICs that have been a particularly painful bottleneck for global production.
The current level of 17 weeks climbed from the 16-week level and marks a fourth consecutive month of "sizable" expansion, Rolland wrote.
Why shortages of a $1 chip sparked crisis in global economy
Lead times for certain products are increasing sharply, even after months of shortages. Power management chips, for example, spiked to 23.7 weeks in April, a wait time about four weeks longer than a month earlier, according to Susquehanna. Industrial microcontrollers order lead times extended by three weeks, some of the steepest increases Rolland has seen since he began tracking the numbers in 2017, he wrote.
Delays are often worse for smaller manufacturers, with headphone makers facing lead times longer than 52 weeks, according to people familiar with the supply chain. This has forced companies to redesign products, shift priorities and, in at least one case, completely abandon a project, said one of the people, asking not to be named because the information is not public.
About 70% of the companies that Rolland tracks have expanding lead times, compared with 20% that have seen lead times contract. NXP Semiconductors NV, a major auto chip supplier, has lead times of more than 22 weeks now, up from around 12 weeks late last year. STMicroelectronics NV, another key auto chip supplier, saw lead times rise by more than four weeks in April to more than 28 weeks.
Such outsized increases may reflect over-ordering by some customers, who could be concerned about the impact of shortages on their businesses. Historically, companies have been able to cancel chip orders without penalty, although that has begun to change.
"Beginning with January data, we have witnessed numerous large JUMPS in reported LTs," Rolland wrote, referring to lead times. "Whereas in prior years, an individual company would typically move their stated LTs up and down just a few days in a given month, starting this year we have seen significant jumps in LTs that have skewed our data."
In-depth: Is $1 billion cash enough to attract chip makers to set up fab unit in India?The world is experiencing a massive shortage of semiconductors that are the foundation of our modern-day life. It seems to be a perfect time for India to attract global semiconductor firms to set up business here.
The Indian Government is reportedly working on a plan to offer around $1 billion in cash to every company that sets up a chip manufacturing unit in India. It may sound like an incentive enough, but semiconductor firms are not so easily swayed.
A case in point is the Government's efforts to attract semiconductor firms in 2013 by offering zero customs duty on importing parts and machinery required for semiconductor facilities. Unfortunately, this didn't appeal to the chip makers.
In December last year, the Government of India invited Expression of Interest from companies and consortium looking to set up new semiconductor units. Clearly, the country wants to build on the success of the Production-Linked Incentive scheme, which has led to a significant increase in device manufacturing. The chip-making capability will help India in climbing the value chain and also lead to the creation of jobs. The deadline for EOI was April 30, 2021, but there is no news whether the Government has received any interest from chipmakers.
Why is there a global shortage?
The global shortage, resulting from a surge in demand for electronic items after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, is pushing several countries to have their own chip-making facilities to bring down their dependency on the global supply chain. Pandemic led to an increase in worldwide chip sales from $412.2 billion in 2019 to $439 in 2020. Just the semiconductor sales in December 2020 were up by 8% when compared with December 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic also broke the supply chain and led several firms to hoard the raw material required to manufacture chips.
The global semiconductor industry is dominated by the US, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The US leads the market with a 47% share, followed by South Korea at 19%. On the other hand, Japan and the European Union boast of a 10% market share each, and Taiwan and China have 6% and 5%, respectively, as per the recent Semiconductor Industry Association data.
Right from our mobile devices, gaming consoles, cars, televisions to consumer goods are powered by the semiconductor. This, coupled with the fact the global semiconductor supply chain was severely disrupted last year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that a country must have its own chip-making facilities.
The demand for semiconductors is booming in India. To begin with, India is the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world after China, and chips are at the center of these devices. Further, several new-age technologies, like 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI), are likely to drive the demand for chips in the years to come. In this context, it makes absolute sense to become Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) in this segment.
India consumed around $21 billion worth of semiconductors in 2019, according to India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA). The consumption was growing at the rate of 15.1%.
What further works in India's favor is that a lot of chip designing is already happening here. While several firms, including Texas Instruments, NXP Semiconductors, MediaTek, AMD, have been designing chips in India, they don't manufacture in the country.
So, why does India lag in chip-making?
As of now, India is dependent on imports to meet the demand for chips. Over the last few years, India has been making efforts to emerge as a destination for semiconductor firms.
Chip making is a highly complex process, which is why only a few countries have the expertise and skills required to gain a leadership position for this segment. For this reason, it is not easy to ramp up production in the wake of the shortage. Almost 50% of the global chip supply is supported by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). It is the world's biggest chip manufacturer, and it also makes chips for several companies, including Qualcomm, MediaTek, and AMD, among others.
Apart from that, the US and South Korea are the dominant players in this segment. The geopolitical tensions between the two superpowers, the US and China, are now pushing the latter to develop competencies in the semiconductor sector. Over the last few years, it has greatly enhanced its capability in chip making. Last year, the country announced plans to invest $1.4 trillion over six years to develop the semiconductor industry by 2025.
Further, China's Dual Circulation strategy intends to make significant investments in this segment has helped the country reach key milestones. China has also made semiconductors its priority in its 14th five-year plan declared last year. China is using a combination of subsidization, private equity, and lowering of barriers to entry for foreign participants. The country hopes to meet at least 70% of its target by 2025...this is significant because China is the biggest consumer of chips and accounts for 40% of the world's chipset consumption.
It is not easy to develop competencies in chip manufacturing. It is an extremely capital-intensive and complex process where the success depends on how small the transistor can be. Setting up a semiconductor unit demands a massive investment of around INR50,000 to INR75,000 crore over two-to-three years. This kind of investment is challenging even for big players and needs several companies to come together or the Government's backing to set up a semiconductor ecosystem.
The manufacturing units of chips, also known as fabs, require high precision and use cutting-edge technology. The smaller a transistor means more it can do more without getting too hot. The efficiency of a processor depends on each transistor's size, which is measured in nanometers (nm). Just to put this is in perspective, in spite of China's efforts of the last several years, it has only now started to produce 28-nanometer and 14nm chip wafers. This is seen as a sign of the country's growing capabilities as a chipmaker.
A key requirement for semiconductor firms is the availability of a qualified workforce, and it is here that the country is found lacking. Another challenge faced by India is that the chip manufacturing units require a massive quantity of water and an uninterrupted power supply, which can be a problem in India.
India should remember that if intent doesn't translate into action in time, it will lose the opportunity. A case in point is Intel's plant in 2007. A delay in coming out with semiconductor policy pushed the chip giant Intel to opt for Vietnam over India as its destination for semiconductor facility. Intel has the largest non-manufacturing presence outside the US in India, and setting up a fab unit would have been a natural progression.
Another project that didn't take off was Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. Several international investors, including STMicroelectronics and Malaysia's SilTerra, came together with the intention to set up a fab unit in Gujarat with an investment of Rs 30,000 crore. However, the project never really took off, and the Letter of Intent (LoI) was canceled in 2019.
The ongoing chip shortage is likely to last till next year and is impacting several sectors, including electronics and automobiles, among others. The time is perfect for the country to attract semiconductor firms to India, but it has to proactively address the concerns of the chipmakers.Source: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/is-1-billion-cash-enough-to-attract-chip-makers-to-set-up-fab-unit-in-india/82760548
MediaTek, Tessolve collaborate on Edge-AI enabled smart device ecosystem developmentTaiwanese fabless chip maker MediaTek Wednesday said it has teamed up with Tessolve, a Hero Electronix venture, to work towards the development of an Edge-AI enabled smart device ecosystem.
Tessolve also launched the MAGIK2 family nano System-on-Module (SoM) and evaluation board powered by the MediaTek i500 to power next-generation AI smart devices with edge processing, multimedia capabilities, multiple high-resolution cameras, AI-enabled kiosks, connected touchscreen displays, and multitasking operating system (OS).
Coming to the MediaTek i500, it is an edge-processing Artificial Intelligence of Things AIoT platform with an integrated AI processor that uses quad-core Arm Cortex-A73 and quad-core Cortex A-53 processors, equipped with NEON engines, featuring 1MB L2 cache with frequencies up to 2GHz, while Arm TrustZone security enables the creation of secure devices.
The i500 platform further supports hardware-accelerated Full HD multimedia encoding/decoding.
"We are enabling the future of AI, by creating an ecosystem of Edge-AI hardware processing paired with comprehensive software tools across our product range... Our collaboration with Tessolve will power advanced AI-enabled devices and premium experiences, along with reducing development costs and accelerating the time to market," said Raghavan Sampath, Director - Business Development, MediaTek.
The Tessolve SoM also supports the common Software Development Kit (SDK) software from BayLibre, MediaTek's software scaling partner which will improve time to market for customers by providing a single SDK across all AIoT hardware platforms.
"The collaboration will enable the roll-out of production-ready AIoT hardware and Android software to help customers reduce their product development cycle time from design to manufacturing of portable, home, and commercial IoT applications," said Sunil Walia, SVP of Sales & Marketing, Tessolve.
The chipmaker additionally said it is betting on Edge AI opportunities with its NeuroPilot SDK.
Vodafone Idea users with iPhones running iOS 14.5 receive Wi-Fi calling | TECHBYTESVi (Vodafone Idea) has expanded its voice over Wi-Fi calling service to Apple iPhones.
The telco was already offering Wi-Fi calling for select Android smartphones, and now it's rolling out the feature to iPhones too.
Vi announced that iPhones running iOS14.5 will be able to use Wi-Fi calling service in order to make and receive voice calls on a Wi-Fi network instead of using their existing cellular network.
This feature comes in handy in areas that have bad cellular reception.
If the users in such areas have a reliable Wi-Fi connection, they will get better voice quality without any extra cost.
The feature is only available in select regions. As per Vi website, the service is currently being offered in Maharashtra and Goa, Kolkata, Gujarat, Delhi as well as Mumbai circles.Source: https://www.youtube.com/c/TechBytesIndia/videos
Amazon, Apple not to charge extra for lossless musicAmazon.com Inc and Apple Inc will let users stream high-quality lossless audio at no extra charge, as they explore new ways to keep subscribers tuned in to their services amid intense competition.
Amazon Music, which so far charged a premium for lossless audio, became the first major music service on Monday to upgrade its subscribers to the format.
Lossless is a higher quality audio format that preserves every detail of the original audio file without compressing the quality while streaming.
American rapper Jay-Z's Tidal was among the first to roll out the technology, charging $19.99 per month for lossless music.
The e-commerce giant's Amazon Music Unlimited with lossless music will cost less than half that at the industry standard price of $9.99 per month.
Separately, Apple said subscribers would be able to listen to its entire music catalog of more than 75 million songs by next month in the lossless format at no additional cost.
US voices 'concern' at proposed Canadian tax on tech giants US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Monday voiced her "concern" to Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng over the prospect of Ottawa imposing taxes on US tech giants.
In its federal budget presented in mid-April, the Canadian government confirmed its intention to tax, from January 2022, the internet platforms offering services in Canada in the absence of international regulation.
This three percent digital services tax targets companies with gross revenues exceeding US $900 million in global business. The measure is expected to bring in Can$3.4 billion over five years and will apply until an "acceptable" multilateral agreement replaces it, Ottawa said.
Tai "expressed concern about Canada's recently proposed digital service tax," according to a statement by the office of the US Trade Representative.
On the international level, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is currently studying reforms to modulate corporate tax according to the profits made in each country, regardless of their country of origin.
That would target in particular the digital giants, who often pay taxes out of proportion to the income and profits they generate locally.
The OECD wants to obtain a global agreement in principle at the G20 Finance on July 9 and 10, then at a final meeting in October.
The US representative and the Canadian minister also discussed the protracted litigation over Canadian lumber. Washington believes that this wood is sold below the market price to promote exports.
And Washington has imposed countervailing duties that Ottawa considers "unfair" and "unjustified." The case was brought before the World Trade Organization (WTO), which ruled in favor of Canada, but the United States appealed the decision in September 2020.
Tai and Ng "agreed to continue to collaborate on addressing these and other issues, and to maintain an open line of communication," the USTR statement said.
NRAI, MPL join hands for sports shooting mobile game, to be launched on Independence DayWith the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having started the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) -- first-ever, licensed virtual competition in partnership with five International Sports Federations (ISFs) and game publishers -- the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has also joined hands with gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) to develop a mobile version of sports shooting.
The game will be a simulator style, non-violent shooting game with International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) style trap and skeet formats, as per the information received from the promoters. The game is slated to be released on Independence Day this year.
To promote the game, the Covid-19 pandemic permitting, the NRAI will also organise hybrid tournaments around the launch day where the best virtual shooters will be selected for training by prominent shooting champions in India.
"We are pleased to be developing a non-violent Olympic-style shooting game with MPL. We will use this shooting simulator game to create interest, educate and train an audience of millions of internet users about the physical sport of shooting. We will also be hosting tournaments where the best virtual shooters get a chance to compete and participate in physical shooting," said Raninder Singh, NRAI president.
"Online engagement will feed into offline interest which in turn will open the doors of our sport to many more Indians," he added.
With this mobile game, NRAI is trying to evoke an interest for sports shooting among the masses and provide a gateway to people looking to enter the real sport.
Gagan Narang, 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist, said, "Technology is increasingly playing an important role in improving player performances, and gamifying the experience by initiatives as envisioned by NRAI and supported by MPL will not only amplify player engagement, but critically increase fan awareness about competitive sports. India needs many more such interventions across sports."
The promoters claim that the data available with them shows there is a lot of appetite for target shooting games in India, especially for a mobile-first audience. On MPL alone, since November 2020, over 17 million gameplays were recorded for MPL's target shooting titles, with 13 million alone coming from its archery game.
"Esports has witnessed a meteoric rise in India over the past few years and is recognised as a proper sporting career path in many regions of the world. An IOC-approved tournament announced before the Olympics will certainly help Esports get its due and encourage people to consider it as a professional option," said Sai Srinivas, co-founder and CEO of MPL.
Airtel shares down 1.8% after telco reports lower Q4 profit vs Q3 Bharti Airtel shares were down nearly 1.8% Tuesday morning trade on BSE, a day after the Sunil Mittal-led telco's net profit for the March quarter fell 11% sequentially in the October-December period, with ARPU dragged by the absence of interconnection usage charges (IUC).
India's No 2 mobile carrier, though, posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 759 crore in the January-March period - its second successive quarter in the black after six straight losses - backed by a one-time gain and continued strong subscriber additions.
Airtel shares were down 1.8 % to Rs 539.80 in BSE mid-morning trade.
From January 1, IUC had become zero from 6 paise a minute. This, along with lesser number of days ion the quarter, dragged Airtel's ARPU to Rs145 from Rs 166 in the December quarter, pulling quarterly consolidated revenue down 2.9% on-quarter to Rs 25,747 crore.
"Airtel's IUC-adjusted ARPU disappointed...in our view Bharti benefitted disproportionately in 2Q/3Q at the expense of Jio and now that trend is reversing," BofA Securities said in a note.
The global brokerage added that Airtel's EBITDA "missed its consensus nos due to on-quarter increase in license fee, network expenses. "EBITDA was up only 2.3% qoq and was 2.6% below our estimate."
BNP Paribas said Airtel has increased its network investments in 2H21, which, along with higher diesel cost, resulted in higher network costs". It added that Airtrel also added 8.3k network towers in 4QFY21, the highest in its history, which also resulted in a 7.6% increase in network operating cost on quarter.
UBS said that "adjusted for IUC, Airtel's mobile revenues were up 4.2% QoQ, which was mainly driven by strong 4G subs addition during the March quarter.
The Swiss brokerage, however, said, Airtel added fewer mobile users compared to Jio, adding 13.4 million subs in Q4, including 13.7million 4G subs compared to Jio's 15.4 million net user adds during the quarter.
UBS added that Bharti added "274k FBB (fixed broadband) subs during the March quarter, the highest-ever quarterly addition, although this was offset by an ARPU decline from Rs 705 to Rs 684".
South Africa Vodacom raises operating growth target on int'l business, Safaricom boostJOHANNESBURG: Vodacom Group Ltd, South Africa's second biggest telecoms operator, upgraded its medium-term operating growth target to mid-to-high-single digit on Tuesday, after reporting a 3.7% jump in full-year earnings.
The operator said it upgraded its medium-term operating profit growth target from mid-single digit on improved growth prospects for its international business and Kenya's Safaricom , which is part owned by Vodacom and Britain's Vodafone Group Plc.
Headline earnings per share (HEPS), the main profit measure in the country, rose to 980 cents in the 12 months ended March 31 from 945 cents a year earlier.
Vodacom, which is majority owned by Vodafone, declared a final dividend of 410 cents per share, up 1.2%.
Group revenue rose by 8.3% to 98.3 billion rand ($6.99 billion), supported by service revenue growth of 5.8%.
Service revenue growth was "underpinned by the recovery in our international portfolio in the second half of the year and strong growth from our prepaid and enterprise segments, financial services and other new services in South Africa", Vodacom said.
In South Africa, service revenue grew by 7% on the back of increased data usage as people worked and had school from home, a summer rewards campaign and demand for financial services.
These helped to offset numerous initiatives such as a 3 billion rand service revenue impact of lowering data pricing in the country.
Its international operations reported service revenue growth of 1.6%, with a stronger second half offsetting the significant impacts of COVID-19 earlier in the year, Vodacom said.
The international business took a 2 billion rand service revenue impact due to "zero-rating" or not charging peer to peer M-Pesa transactions.
M-Pesa, which is used to send money, save, borrow and make payments for goods and services, now processes $24.5 billion a month in transaction value across the Vodacom's international markets, including Safaricom, up 63.5%, it said.