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1. Huawei gets a temporary reprieve in the States
After restricting Huawei’s Stateside business deals, the U.S. government has now given the Chinese smartphone giant a reprieve. The company has been granted a Temporary General License, allowing it to continue core aspects of its U.S. operations.
- The main takeaway? Huawei is once again permitted to purchase U.S. goods and provide Android software updates to existing Android phones.
- This means Huawei may continue to roll out official updates and security patches to Huawei and Honor phones for the next 90 days.
- The company may also continue to buy parts to maintain its existing networks – some of which cover territory in the U.S. and in Europe.
- The permit is said to have been introduced to allow telecoms operators that rely on Huawei equipment time to make other arrangements.
- “The temporary license also allows disclosures of security vulnerabilities and for Huawei to engage in the development of standards for future 5G networks,” wrote Reuters.
What’s the catch?
- Huawei may only purchase U.S. goods to maintain existing infrastructure, not to work on new developments.
- This means Huawei won’t be able to roll out any new hardware in the U.S. that relies on U.S. components – the likes of which might have been used in rural area networks.
- Huawei is estimated to provide around 25 percent of rural network infrastructure (Fierce Wireless).
- Further, the license is valid only until August 19, 2019, though the government may choose to extend it.
- If the license isn’t extended, Huawei will find itself back under its previous restrictions. This means it won’t be able to conduct business with U.S. companies without government approval, and won’t have its Android license.
What’s Huawei’s response?
- According to Global Times China, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said the 90-day license wasn’t “meaningful” to the company.
- Ren claims Huawei is prepared for U.S. trade sanctions and that its core business operations wouldn’t suffer any setbacks.
- Despite Huawei’s reliance on U.S. technologies, this may be true: the company has been preparing for potential U.S. trade and Android restrictions for years (Android Authority).
- Reuters also quoted Ren as saying the U.S. had underestimated Huawei’s capabilities.
Is there an end in sight?
- The U.S.-Huawei spat continues, but it may be over before any major disruption is caused.
- Huawei believes it can get by with the component stockpile it has, and the U.S. will want to avoid long-term trade sanctions.
- Earlier this week, it was estimated that the U.S. government’s export controls on technologies could cost U.S. companies up to “$56.3 billion in export sales over five years” (ITIF).
- And that’s just U.S. companies: hindering Huawei is to hinder the global technological landscape.
- It’s in the interests of the U.S. and China to resolve matters quickly, but who really knows what’s happening behind the scenes.
2. Google Glass gets another pass
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Google Glass, but it hasn’t kicked the bucket yet. Google has just announced a new model, Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, and it’s available now. Here’s what it brings:
- Qualcomm XR1 chip for faster processing and lower power drain.
- Faster charging with USB-C.
- Better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
- A superior, 8MP camera.
- Safety frames by Smith Optics (required by some workplaces).
- Can also be worn like regular glasses (great!).
A world Glass comeback?
- For general consumers, there isn’t much to see here.
- Glass Enterprise Edition 2, as the name suggests, is still aimed at enterprise users.
- And the upgrades, while worthwhile, aren’t particularly exciting.
- The new Glass is priced at $999 though you’ll only be able to get your hands on it as a business user with a specific use case in mind.
- You can watch the trailer for the new glasses here.
- Possibly the most significant news is that the project is being moved from Alphabet’s X division back to Google’s AR/VR division.
- This indicates there may be bigger and better things to come from the AR headset in the future – perhaps even a greater consumer focus.
4. Google has discussed its new AI translation model called Translatotron, which, to the best of its knowledge, “is the first end-to-end model that can directly translate speech from one language into speech in another language.” It’s a technical subject, but it’s very interesting. (Google AI blog).
6. SpaceX to Launch 60 ‘Starlink’ Internet Satellites Thursday (Space). Third time’s a charm.
7. Sony’s deal with Microsoft surprised its own PlayStation staff (Bloomberg).
8. Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 in January 2020. Instead of upgrading to Windows 10, the South Korean government is switching to Linux. The move is expected to cost $655 million. And more than a handful of driver-related headaches, I suspect (Tom’s Hardware).
9. Should you buy a Huawei device right now? (Android Authority).
10. AMD says its chips are immune to crippling new vulnerabilities (Engadget).
11. “On March 25, Tim Cook unveiled Apple Card—’the future of credit cards.’ WTF? Fiasco! Yet another Apple blunder! Has Tim Cook lost it? Steve Jobs would never do this!! The truth is, Steve Jobs actually did do this. At least he tried to.” The Ghost of Apple Card past is a great, short read (Ken Segall).
12. Telegram founder explains why WhatsApp will never be secure (Telegram).
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