huawei

Huawei overtook Samsung in global smartphone shipments for Q2

Posted by | canalys, hardware, huawei, Mobile, Samsung | No Comments

Things haven’t exactly been smooth sailing for Huawei in recent years. The company’s rapid trajectory has been disrupted by on-going battles with the U.S. government that have, among other things, blocked its access to Google apps and services. But a new report from Canalys paints a reasonably rosy picture as the hardware giant overtook Samsung to snag the top spot in global smartphone shipments for the second quarter of 2020.

The news is a milestone for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this is first time in nine years that neither Apple nor Samsung has been at the top of Canalys’ charts. Huawei’s figures were almost exclusively boosted by sales in its native China, which currently comprises more than 70% of its total figure.

Image Credits: Canalys

It’s important to note here, however, the fact that the company took the top spot by essentially shrinking at a less rapid rate than Samsung. Huawei’s overall figures are down 5% year-over-year. But that figure pales in comparison to Samsung’s 30% drop. The two Goliaths are currently at 55.8 million and 53.7 million, respectively.

Things were bad for the smartphone industry prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped overall, as people are less inclined toward shelling out hundreds to north of $1,000 for inessential upgrades. And, indeed, Huawei’s numbers dropped by 27% outside of China, but the overall slide was dampened by an 8% growth in China. Samsung, meanwhile, currently controls less than 1% of the Chinese market.

As for what this all means for the future, it seems that it may be difficult for Huawei to maintain its top spot. “Its major channel partners in key regions, such as Europe, are increasingly wary of ranging Huawei devices, taking on fewer models, and bringing in new brands to reduce risk” Canalys’ Mo Jia said of the report. “Strength in China alone will not be enough to sustain Huawei at the top once the global economy starts to recover.”

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

Posted by | 5g, BT, China, Europe, huawei, Mobile, NEC, Samsung, Security, supply chain, telecommunications, UK government, United Kingdom, United States, zte | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over the longer term he said the UK wants to encourage and support operators to use multiple vendors per network as standard, though again he cautioned that the development of such open RAN networks will take time.

In the nearer, medium term, he suggested other large scale vendors would be needed to step in — saying the government is already having technical discussions with alternative telecoms kit makers, including Samsung and NEC, about accessing the UK market to plug the gap opened up by the removal of Huawei equipment.

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

We’ve reached out to Huawei for comment. Update: In a statement, Ed Brewster, a spokesperson for Huawei UK, told us:

This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone. It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide. Instead of ‘levelling up’ the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK.

Regrettably our future in the UK has become politicized, this is about US trade policy and not security. Over the past 20 years, Huawei has focused on building a better connected UK. As a responsible business, we will continue to support our customers as we have always done.

We will conduct a detailed review of what today’s announcement means for our business here and will work with the UK government to explain how we can continue to contribute to a better connected Britain.

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

Posted by | 5g, broadband, BT, China, Europe, gchq, huawei, Mobile, National Cyber Security Centre, Security, telecommunications, telecoms infrastructure, UK government, United Kingdom, United States | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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US Commerce Dept. amends Huawei ban to allow for development of 5G standards

Posted by | 5g, Android, Google, Government, hardware, huawei, iran, Policy, smartphone, technology, telecommunications, U.S. Department of Commerce, United States, wireless technology | No Comments

The United States Department of Commerce today issued a change to its sweeping Huawei ban. Proponents of the move note that the change in policy ought not be regarded as a softening on the government’s stance toward the embattled hardware maker, but instead is an attempt to develop more streamlined standards for 5G, along with the company, which has been one of the primary forces in its development 

According to the Department:

This action is meant to ensure Huawei’s placement on the Entity List in May 2019 does not prevent American companies from contributing to important standards-developing activities despite Huawei’s pervasive participation in standards-development organizations.

The change is designed to allow Huawei and U.S. to both play a role in hashing out the parameters for the next-generation wireless technology. “The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation. This action recognizes the importance of harnessing American ingenuity to advance and protect our economic and national security,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “The Department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards.”

The new  Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) rule essentially allows companies to share information about technologies in order to develop a joint standard without requiring an export license. Beyond that, however, the DOC has no stated plans to ease up after placing Huawei on its entities list last year.

The Chinese smartphone maker was included in the blacklist over a litany of ongoing complaints, including its ties to national government, concerns over spying and alleged sanction violations with Iran. The move has had a profound impact on the company, including a severing of its ties to Google, which formed the software backbone of its mobile line through Android and a suit of included apps. Subsequent handsets, including the recently released P40 Pro+, have been shipped without the software on board.

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Huawei’s new handset goes international June 25, with all of the camera and none of the Google

Posted by | Google, hardware, huawei, Mobile, P40 Pro, smartphones, TC | No Comments

The Huawei P40 Pro+ has already been on the market in China for a few days now. And in spite of various legal woes, the handset is set for international availability on June 25. Given everything the company is dealing with, it should come as no surprise that availability outside of its home country will be fairly limited to select markets, including the U.K. and Europe.

It won’t be available through the standard channels in the U.S., naturally. And what’s more, it won’t have any Google services, in light of the hardware maker’s ongoing fight with the United States government. Instead — like other Huawei flagships — it will rely on the company’s own forked version of Android, devoid of mainstay applications like Gmail, Google Maps and the Play Store.

For most other intents and purposes, however, Huawei is down, but not out. In spite of tremendous pressure, the company continues to produce some of the most bleeding-edge mobile hardware on the market. Here, that primarily comes down to a fantastic camera module. Like nearly every other part of the smartphone ecosystem, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack with regard to imaging, but by most accounts, Huawei has managed to do it with the P40 Pro+.

For starters, there’s a 10x (!) optical zoom (with up to 100x digital and all of the image issues that brings), which very much pushes the boundaries of what a handset can do. There are five cameras, in total, including that eight-megapixel 10x lens. The others include a 50-megapixel standard, 40-megapixel ultra wide, eight-megapixel with 3x optical and a time-of-flight sensor for increasingly important depth-sensing.

The handset will run ~$1,658 when it launches later this month. It’s the latest sign that Huawei will continue pushing forward, even as it deals with increasing international pressure. Until the company manages to fully replace Google’s offerings in house, however, the current set up will likely be too much of a compromise for many potential buyers.

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Global smartphone sales plummeted 20% in Q1, thanks to COVID-19

Posted by | Apple, coronavirus, COVID-19, gartner, hardware, huawei, Mobile, oppo, Samsung, smartphones | No Comments

More dismal numbers confirm what we already knew: Q1 2020 was real rough for an already struggling smartphone category. Gartner’s latest report puts the global market at a 20.2% slide versus the same time last year, thanks in large part to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every single one of the global top-five manufactures saw large declines for the quarter, save for Xiaomi, which saw a slight uptick of 1.4%. The Chinese handset maker got a surprise bump, courtesy of international sales. Samsung and Huawei and Oppo all saw double-digit drop-offs at 22.7%, 27.3% and 19.1%, while Apple declined 8.2%. Other companies combined for a sizable 24.2% loss for Q1.

The reasons are ones we’ve gone over several times before, nearly all pertaining to the global pandemic. Chief among them are global stay at home orders and general economic uncertainly. Issues with the global supply chain have no doubt been a factor, as well, as Asia was the first to get hit with the virus.

All of this comes in addition to an already plateauing/declining smartphone market. Analysts had expected that the arrival of 5G would help stem the tide a bit — but, well, some stuff happened in there. Notably, Apple’s slide wasn’t as bad as it might have been thanks to a strong start to the year.

“If COVID-19 did not happen, the vendor would have likely seen its iPhone sales reached record level in the quarter. Supply chain disruptions and declining consumer spending put a halt to this positive trend in February,” Gartner’s Annette Zimmermann said in a release. “Apple’s ability to serve clients via its online stores and its production returning to near normal levels at the end of March helped recover some of the early positive momentum.”

Overall, I suspect that recovery won’t be instantaneous for the market. The future of COVID-19 still feels largely uncertain as countries have begun the process of reopening, and a pricey investment still may not be in the cards for many who are struggling to make ends meet. 

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Huawei admits uncertainty following new US chip curbs

Posted by | Android, Asia, huawei, integrated circuits, operating system, Qwant, semiconductor, shenzhen, smartphones, telecommunications, TomTom, TSMC, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. government | No Comments

Following the U.S. government’s announcement that would further thwart Huawei’s chip-making capability, the Chinese telecoms equipment giant condemned the new ruling for being “arbitrary and pernicious.”

“Huawei categorically opposes the amendments made by the U.S. Department of Commerce to its foreign direct product rule that target Huawei specifically,” said Huawei Monday at its annual analyst summit in Shenzhen.

The new curbs, which dropped on Friday, would ban Huawei from using U.S. software and hardware in certain strategic semiconductor processes. This will affect all foundries using U.S. technologies, including those located abroad, some of which are Huawei’s key suppliers.

Earlier on Monday, the Nikkei Asian Review reported citing sources that Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract semiconductor that powers many of Huawei’s high-end phones, has stopped taking new orders from Huawei, one of its largest clients. Huawei declined to comment while TSMC said the report was “purely market rumor”.

Decisions from TSMC point to its attempt to strengthen bonds with the U.S. though, as it’s planning a new $12 billion advanced chip factory in Arizona with support from the state and the U.S. federal government.

At the Monday conference, Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping admitted that while the firm is able to design some semiconductor parts such as integrated circuits (IC), it remains “incapable of doing a lot of other things.”

“Survival is the keyword for us at present,” he said.

Huawei stated the latest U.S. ban would not only affect its own business in over 170 countries, where it has spent “hundreds of billions of dollars,” but also the wider ecosystem around the world.

“In the long run, [the U.S. ban] will damage the trust and collaboration within the global semiconductor industry which many industries depend on, increasing conflict and loss within these industries.”

Huawei has announced a raft of contingency measures ever since the Trump administration began slapping technology sanctions on it, including one that had cut it off certain Android services from Google.

Huawei said at the summit that it had doubled down on investment in overseas developers in an effort to lure them to its operating system. Some 1.4 million developers have joined Huawei Mobile Services or HMS, a 150% jump from 2019. For comparison, iOS in 2018 counted 20 million registered developers, who collectively made about $100 billion in revenues. The question for Huawei is how much money app makers can generate from its ecosystem.

In its search to identify alternatives to Google’s app suite in Europe, it has partnered up with navigation services TomTom and Here, search engine Qwant and news app News UK. 

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Fitbit’s Chinese rival Amazfit mulls a transparent, self-disinfecting mask

Posted by | Asia, biotech, China, Gadgets, GoPro, huami, huawei, shenzhen, smartwatch, TC, wearable devices, Xiaomi | No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a wave of Chinese companies with manufacturing operations to produce virus-fighting equipment: Shenzhen-based electric vehicle giant BYD quickly moved to launch what it claims to be the world’s largest mask plant; Hangzhou-based voice intelligence startup Rokid is making thermal imaging glasses targeted at the US market; and many more.

The latest of such efforts comes from Huami, the NASDAQ-listed wearables startup that makes Xiaomi’s Mi Bands and sells its own fitness tracking watches under the Amazfit brand in more than 70 countries. In a phone interview with TechCrunch, the firm said it is developing a see-through plastic mask with built-in ultraviolet lights that can disinfect filters within 10 minutes when connected to a power supply through a USB port. The caveat is that the lights only sanitize the inside of the mask and users still have to clean the outer surface themselves.

The Aeri concept comes with built-in ultraviolet lights that can disinfect filters within 10 minutes when connected to a power supply through a USB port.

Called Aeri, the mask uses removable filters that are on par with N95 filtration capacity. If the concept materializes, each filter could last up to a month and a half, significantly longer than the average life of surgical masks and N95 respirators. The modular design allows for customized accessories such as a fan for breathable comfort, hence the mask’s name Aeri, a homophone of “airy”.

Aeri started from the premise that wearing masks could thwart the increasingly common adoption of facial recognition. That said, imaging companies have been working on biometric upgrades to allow analyses of other facial features such as irises or the tip of noses.

Aeri might still have a market appeal though, argued Pengtao Yu, vice president of industrial design at Huami. “Whether people need to unlock their phones or not, they want to see each other’s faces at social occasions,” said Yu, the California-based Chinese designer who had served clients including Nest Labs, Roku, GoPro and Huawei prior to joining Huami.

Huami’s U.S. operation, which focuses on research and development, opened in 2014 and now counts a dozen of employees.

Many companies turning to pandemic-fighting manufacturing have taken a hit from their core business, but Huami has managed to stay afloat. Its Q1 revenue was up 36% year-over-year to hit $154 million, although net income decreased to $2.7 million from $10.6 million. Its stocks have been declining, however, sliding from a high point of $16 in January to around $10 in mid-May.

Huami is in the process of prototyping the Aeri masks. In Shenzhen, which houses the wearables company’s headquarters, the development cycle for hardware products — from ideation to market rollout — takes as short as 6-12 months thanks to the city’s rich supply chain resources, said Yu.

Huami hasn’t priced Aeri at this early stage, but Yu admitted that the masks are targeting the “mass consumer market” around the world, not only for protection against viruses but also everyday air pollution, rather than appealing to medical workers. Given Huami’s history of making wearables at thin margins, it won’t be surprising that Aeri will be competitively priced.

The Aeri project is part of Huami’s pivot to enter the general health sector beyond pure fitness monitoring. The company has recently teamed up with a laboratory led by Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the public face of China’s fight against COVID-19, to track respiratory diseases using wearables. It’s also in talks with the German public health authority to collaborate on a smartwatch-powered virus monitoring app, the company told TechCrunch.

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Top members of Google’s Pixel team have left the company

Posted by | Android, computing, Google, Google Pixel, hardware, huawei, imaging, Mobile, mobile phones, Motorola Mobility, nexus 5x, Personnel, PIXEL, Pixel 2, pixel 3, rick osterloh, Samsung, smartphone, TechCrunch | No Comments

Key Pixel team members Marc Levoy and Mario Queiroz are out at Google. The departures, first reported by The Information, have been confirmed on the pages of the former Distinguished Engineer and Pixel General Manager, respectively.

Both members were key players on Google’s smartphone hardware team before exiting earlier this year. Levoy was a key member of the Pixel imaging team, with an expertise in computational photography that helped make the smartphone’s camera among the best in class. Queiroz was the number two on the Pixel team.

The exits come as the software giant has struggled to distinguish itself in a crowded smartphone field. The products have been generally well-received (with the exception of the Pixel 4’s dismal battery life), but the Android-maker has thus far been unable to rob much market share from the likes of Samsung and Huawei.

The Information report sheds some additional light on disquiet among the Pixel leadership. Hardware head Rick Osterloh reportedly voiced some harsh criticism during an all-hands late last year. It certainly seems possible the company saw fit to shake things up a bit, though Google declined TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Breaking into the smartphone market has been a white whale for the company for some time. Google has explored the space through its Nexus partnerships, along with its short-lived Motorola Mobility acquisition (2012-2014). The Pixel is possibly the most successful of these projects, but Google’s struggles have coincided with an overall flattening of the market.

The company did find some success with last year’s budget Pixel 3A. The followup Pixel 4A was rumored for a late May launch, though the device has reportedly been delayed.

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China’s smartphone shipments are reportedly up for April, following COVID-19-fueled decline

Posted by | Apple, articles, Asia, China, coronavirus, COVID-19, Europe, hardware, huawei, Mobile, north america, pandemic, smartphone, telecommunications, United States | No Comments

Smartphone shipments are reportedly beginning to see signs of life in China, after a sizable dip from the COVID-19 pandemic. New numbers from China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (a government-connected agency) point to a 17% rise in shipments for April, pointing to some recovery for the market.

The figure, from the China state-supported group, is virtually a mirror reflection of the 18% dip Canalys reported for Q1. COVID-19 was the primary culprit for those figures, through a combination of decreased spending among China’s phone-buying public and sizable supply chain constraints, as many Asian nations were on lockdown to slow the spread.

Both Huawei and Apple benefited from the rebound, though Reuters notes that the firm opted not to include an OS breakdown for the first time in a while, making it more difficult to parse market share.

Smartphone shipments have suffered across the board, along with countless other industries. A rebound for China’s market could be a bellwether for positive numbers for the industry moving forward — especially given the country’s close ties to the global supply chain. In spite of being the first country hit, China’s official figures for COVID-19 deaths have remained low, compared to countries in Europe and North America.

That’s likely due in part to some draconian measures used to stop the spread. Other countries (the U.S. in particular) may not be so likely to rebound from the pandemic, leading to a more protracted impact on the global market. 

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