Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Friday, 30 October 2020.
1. Maybe Huawei is back?
Huawei seems to be getting good news as we get close to the end of the year, as the US ban softens on its consumer arm, which includes its smartphone business as well.
- Yesterday, it was reported that chip companies were reportedly given permission to supply the firm’s smartphone division with silicon, as long as it wasn’t used for the firm’s 5G telecoms business.
- It’s unclear which chips Huawei can order, or if this will herald the return of its Kirin chipsets. Huawei previously stated that the Kirin 9000 would be its last self-designed flagship SoC.
- And Huawei did suggest it would be open to using Qualcomm chips in the future.
- The FT’s report did qualify things to a degree: “However, industry experts caution against too high expectations on the matter, pointing to what they say are the Trump administration’s erratic policy decisions.”
- We also saw that Samsung can provide displays to Huawei, which isn’t really big news given Huawei uses displays from other suppliers which hadn’t been impacted, but having competition and with Samsung’s displays arguably the world’s best, that can only help supply chains.
And in today’s news, another sign of the thaw is that Huawei can once again buy Sony and Omnivision camera sensors.
- That matters in particular, because Huawei is different to all other smartphone manufacturers, in that it uses Sony’s RYYB camera sensors for image capture in its flagships
- Now, apart from Samsung which makes its own image sensors, major flagships generally use Sony image sensors, including the iPhone, OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi, and so on. However, those are more traditional Red-Green-Blue or RGB color filters with the Sony sensors.
- In the Huawei P and Mate series, the photographic prowess has been thanks to Sony’s red-yellow-blue sensors (RYYB), which is able to gather more light than RGB sensors, and Huawei worked with Leica extensively on this to perfect the imaging techniques.
- It doesn’t always make the best shots in all lights, but the Mate 40 Pro does currently sit on top of Dxomark’s lists of smartphone cameras for rear and selfies. (New Google Pixel 5 was just reviewed and iPhone testing is still to come.)
- So, again having access to these sensors feels like a ‘make’ moment in what was another of the make-or-break supply chain problems Huawei was facing in smartphones.
- Who knows where this goes next! It would be stunning to see if Google was next allowed to supply its mobile services on Android again, but for whatever reason, there’s at least a partial thaw happening.
2. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (Alphabet) all reported earnings yesterday. It’s no surprise everything is going very well: Amazon crushed earnings, Apple did well without a new iPhone to boost its quarter, Google blew off the doors after last quarter’s disappointment, and Facebook beat expectations on both user growth and revenue. These are all top-line numbers, and details under the surface are fascinating. Apple will spend $20 billion on R&D in 2021. Amazon’s results didn’t include Prime Day with sales closing on $100 billion a quarter, and now employs over 1.2 million people. Breakdown of all four here, and expect analysis over the week to come (Business Insider).
3. Prepare your wallet: Netflix has raised prices again on its most popular plans, for all subscribers. Standard is now $14, Premium is $18, as Netflix flexes on cinemas being shut and a lack of blockbuster competition (Android Authority).
4. Samsung debuts SmartThings Find to help you locate lost Galaxy devices (Android Authority).
5. Google announced its own VPN for top-tier Google One subscribers. But do we use VPNs to get away from Google? What’s the encryption like? (Android Authority).
6. Apple One subscription bundle launches today, October 30th, with iCloud, Arcade, Music, and TV+ and more in the bundle, starting at $15 per month (Engadget).
7. Amazon is opening brand-new Razr boxes to fold the phones for safer shipping (The Verge).
8. The Oculus Quest 2 was preordered five times as much as the original (The Verge) …But that said, PlayStation CEO thinks VR’s bright future is still years away, and Sony won’t take any ‘immediate leaps’ forward (Engadget).
9. Ransomware hits dozens of US hospitals in an unprecedented wave (Wired).
10. Researchers finally figured out how Octopuses taste with their arms (Gizmodo).
11. Roborace car gets a green light, and immediately drives into wall (Jalopnik).
12. “What do most people not realize is newer than they actually think?” (r/askreddit).
And just for fun to close out the week:
A South Korean YouTuber was attacked by a flying cheese fondue, in a viral video. Tasty Hoon, a very well-named channel, seemed to be combining chicken, cheese and ASMR, but apparently used a not-liquid-enough cheese, which resulted in this:
- The rest of the video is up to you, but the formidable Tasty Hoon was not put off, and went on to eat the cheese and chicken happily.
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