Apple CEO Tim Cook had some choice words when asked about Facebook’s controversial blockchain project Libra, with the chief executive openly characterizing the company’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency as a blatant power grab. Speaking with the French newspaper Les Echos, Cook shot down any notion that Apple might be considering launching a digital currency of its own, given its recent investments in digital wallets, mobile payments, and consumer credit with the new Goldman Sachs-backed Apple Card.
“No. I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries. I’m not comfortable with the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency,” Cook told the publication in an interview published today. “A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way.”
Cook’s comments were published just prior to PayPal announcing today that it was backing out of the Libra Association, the 28-member nonprofit group (of which Facebook is a part) that was formed to oversee the currency’s creation and the technical, financial, and regulatory hurdles it faces. The two events are unrelated, but PayPal’s withdrawal and its aftereffects will no doubt deal a significant blow to Libra’s ongoing development and the prospects of its regulatory approval.
Less than two weeks ahead of the Pixel 4 flagship smartphone’s debut, Google is temporarily pulling the plug on a controversial “field research” program that offered subjects in US cities a $5 gift certificate in exchange for a scan of their face — after a New York Daily News report that one Google contracting agency was actively targeting homeless people in Atlanta and tricking unwitting college students into participating by pretending they would merely be testing a new app.
Originally, the company told us, the idea was to make sure the Pixel 4’s new Face Unlock feature would recognize a diverse array of faces, which could keep it from being biased against people of color — a legitimate concern for facial recognition tech.
Google now tells The New York Times and The Verge that it has immediately suspended the program, and opened an investigation, after reading the Daily News’ story. It wouldn’t confirm individual allegations, but did say it’s true it hired contractors from Randstad for the research, the same contractor named in the Daily News’ expose, and Google has reportedly called the alleged details “very disturbing.” Google tells The Verge that it made sure to provide directions to its researchers to be transparent with people they approached for a facial scan, so it sounds like Google will be able to dodge some of the blame if the allegations about its contractor are true.
Attackers are exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Google’s Android mobile operating system that can give them full control of at least 18 different phone models, including four different Pixel models, a member of Google’s Project Zero research group said on Thursday night.
There’s evidence the vulnerability is being actively exploited, either by exploit developer NSO Group or one of its customers, Project Zero member Maddie Stone said in a post. NSO representatives, meanwhile, said the “exploit has nothing to do with NSO.” Exploits require little or no customization to fully root vulnerable phones. The vulnerability can be exploited two ways: (1) when a target installs an untrusted app or (2) for online attacks, by combining the exploit with a second exploit targeting a vulnerability in code the Chrome browser uses to render content.
“The bug is a local privilege escalation vulnerability that allows for a full compromise of a vulnerable device,” Stone wrote. “If the exploit is delivered via the Web, it only needs to be paired with a renderer exploit, as this vulnerability is accessible through the sandbox.”
Just yesterday, Huawei announced its Mate 30 lineup and as anticipated, it is launching without an official Google license due to the US trade ban that placed Huawei on a blacklist, barring American companies from doing business with the Chinese company.
Huawei CEO confident it will sell 20 million Mate 30 handsets despite limitation
After the event, Huawei CEO Richard Yu told Android Authority “I think this ban will influence out out of China sales. But China sales will increase a lot because this is the most competitive 5G flagship in the world.” Although Huawei expects global sales to drop, its expecting strong growth in its home market of China.
In addition, Yu believes that the Mate 30 can reach over 30 million sales. Here’s what he said regarding global sales and the US ban, which has caused Google to revoke Huawei’s Android certification license to run Google apps.
Last month we saw renders of the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro from OnLeaks which revealed the design of these smartphones. Now, this leakster has revealed the detailed specs of both smartphones, leaving little to the imagination.
The OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro will have Snapdragon 855+ SoC at the helm paired with 8GB RAM. Both smartphones will boot to OxygenOS based on Android 10 and sport a 16MP selfie shooter. But, they will come with different screens, batteries, and slightly different camera setups.
After a four-year investigation, Google has agreed to pay almost €1 billion ($1.10 billion) to French authorities because it did not fully declare its tax activities in the country, as reported by Reuters. The payment covers a €500 million fine and additional taxes of €465 million.
Google’s tax status in the European Union has always been contentious. It pays very little tax in most European countries despite doing business on the continent, because a loophole allows it to avoid taxes by essentially running a shell company in Ireland. This well-known loophole is called the Double Irish arrangement and has been described as the largest tax avoidance tool in history.
Someone got a Huawei Mate 30 Pro unit early. The white plastic is used to hide the design, but it doesn’t do a very good job – the thing to notice here is the curvature of the screen and the new notch hardware.
The Mate 30 Pro has what the Internet has been calling a “waterfall screen”, the left and right side curve 90°, much more than a typical screen with curved sides. Perhaps, EMUI will use these for gestures or other tricks (remember when the Galaxy Edge emulated a side-mounted shutter button?). Good palm rejection is a must, however.
The notch has been redesigned with second generation Face Recognition hardware. It looks like a triple camera, but it may actually be a Time of Flight (ToF) system with a light emitter and sensor. For comparison, here’s what the Mate 20 Pro 3D scanner looks like – it’s based on a different system called structured light.
Today, Xiaomi’s sub-brand announced the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the non-Pro smartphones revealing all specs. The beefed-up Pro version is particularly interesting as it sports the world’s first 64MP camera and the first smartphone to carry the MediaTek Helio G90T gaming SoC. And the first benchmarks are in.
Redmi Note 8 Pro pops up on AnTuTu rocking MediaTek Helio G90T SoC
The chip is based on the cost-efficient 12nm node and boasts unmatched gaming performance for its class. And we can see why. The handset appeared on AnTuTu with an overall score of 282,443 points. Those are impressive results as the rather chip SoC blows almost all of its direct competitors out of the water. In fact, we found comparable results in our database from last year’s Snapdragon 845 and the Kirin 970.
As planned, Huawei unveiled the new HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G SoC at a special event held at the IFA exhibition in Berlin these days.
The company revealed two versions, the Kirin 990 5G with built-in 5G modem and the ‘simple’ Kirin 990 with 4G / LTE modem. HiSilicon’s new system-on-chip is manufactured using TSMC’s most advanced 7nm FinFET Plus EUV method (even the Apple A13 is going to be built with the same method) and one of its most important features is the built-in 5G modem.
Huawei’s SoC was lost for the first time in a few hours, after Samsung caught up with Huawei a few days ago to announce the Exynos 980 SoC, the first mobile SoC with a built-in 5G modem.
According to Huawei, the new Kirin 990 SoC incorporates more than 10.3 billion transistors but is 26% smaller in size than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 and 36% smaller than Samsung’s Exynos 9820. Inside, the Kirin 990 SoC features an eight-core processor in total, a pair of Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.86GHz, a pair of Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.36GHz, and a quad-core clock clocked at 1.95GHz Mali-G76 graphics processor, which has 16 cores in this case (6% better graphics performance than the Adreno 640 solution).
The Galaxy Fold is now just weeks away but it seems Samsung is already preparing another foldable smartphone that’ll introduce a totally new design. Its release, however, depends largely on the success of Samsung’s first offering.
Samsung’s second foldable could look like a flip phone
According to Bloomberg, the South Korean giant is developing a new foldable with a 6.7-inch display that shrinks into a square when folded inwards like the upcoming Motorola Razr. This will feature a small punch hole for the selfie camera much like the Galaxy Note 10 which will be paired with a dual-camera setup that sits on the outside of the phone. The latter will face the rear when opened and the front when folded shut.
The majority of people currently interested in foldable smartphones are tech fans. Because of this, Samsung is reportedly collaborating with American design Thom Browne on the device to help broaden its appeal and attract consumers that are more interested in fashion and luxury. One person familiar with the matter also suggests Samsung’s next foldable will be more affordable and noticeably thinner than the Galaxy Fold. To help achieve this the company is reportedly testing Ultra-Thin Glass (UTG) for the 6.7-inch display although the phone’s reliability is the main priority.