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Apple’s Tim Cook urges China to continue to open up its economy

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BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Saturday urged China to keep opening up its economy as local rivals bit into the profits of the US tech giant caught in the crosshairs of a trade spat between Beijing and Washington.

“We have seen China continue to change and evolve… We encourage China to continue to open up,” he said during a speech at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday.

“We see that as essential not only for China to reach its full potential, but also for the global economy to thrive.”

Apple in January revealed that it took a hit in the “Greater China” region, where revenue plunged almost 27 percent in the most recent quarter.

The dip had been expected following the company’s revenue warning in December, where Apple admitted that iPhone sales and overall earnings would be below most forecasts, citing economic weakness in China and trade frictions between Washington and Beijing.

Lower priced local rivals such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo have also been nibbling at the California tech giant’s market share in China.

Cook has been a critic of the US-China trade war that has spooked global markets. Last year, he used the China Development Forum as a venue to urge leaders of China and the US to let “calm heads prevail” and to avoid an escalation of tariffs.

Most of Apple’s flagship products are assembled in China, leaving the California tech giant acutely vulnerable to Trump’s tariffs.

During his speech on Saturday, Cook called for partnerships based on “openness and trust” where world players can work together to solve some of the biggest problems facing the planet including poverty, inequality and climate change.

 

 

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Samsung to inspect Galaxy Fold phones after reviewer complaints

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SEOUL: Samsung announced Thursday it will inspect units of its highly anticipated folding smartphone after some reviewers reported screen damage.

A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model’s official release next week, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.

“The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in,” Bloomberg’s Mark Gunman tweeted.

And Dieter Bohn of The Verge said: “Something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge… It’s broken.”

Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the South Korean tech giant’s strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.

“We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” Samsung said in a statement after reports of the screen damage emerged.

The firm suggested some reviewers encountered screen failures because a section of the display was removed.

“The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches,” it said.

“Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”

Some of the reviewers, including Bloomberg’s Gunman, had removed this layer.

CNBC’s Steve Kovach said he had not, but still faced major problems with the device.

Samsung is the world’s biggest smartphone maker, and earlier this month launched the 5G version of its top-end Galaxy S10 device.

But despite the recent announcements about its new high-end devices, Samsung has warned of a more than 60 percent plunge in first-quarter operating profit in the face of weakening markets.

The firm is also no stranger to device issues.

Its reputation suffered a major blow after a damaging worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices over exploding batteries in 2016, which cost the firm billions of dollars and shattered its global brand image.
Samsung has said it will release the Galaxy Fold as scheduled on April 26.

 

 

 

 

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Ericsson, Swisscom launch Europe’s first large scale 5G network

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STOCKHOLM: Telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson said Wednesday it had launched the first European large scale commercial 5G network together with Swiss operator Swisscom, as Ericsson posted a first quarter profit boosted by sales in North America.

The Swedish supplier of network equipment said in a statement that the 5G network, launched in 54 cities in Switzerland, had been switched on just after midnight on April 17, after Swisscom secured a license to operate a 5G network in the country.

Ericsson made the announcement as it reported a first quarter net profit of 2.4 billion kronor ($260 million, 230 million euros), compared to a net loss of 725 million kronor in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Net sales grew to 48.9 billion kronor, up from 43.4 billion in Q1 of 2018.

Chief executive Borje Ekholm said growth had primarily been driven by sales in North America.

“To date we have publicly announced commercial 5G deals with 18 named operator customers, which, at the moment, is more than any other vendor,” Ekholm said in a statement.

Ekholm also said that as 5G technology was being rolled out, the company would continue to incur costs for field trials and they were expecting large-scale deployments of 5G to begin in parts of Asia by the end of 2019.

“Combined, this will gradually impact short-term margins but strengthen our position in the long term,” he said.

Shares in Ericsson traded up more than three percent on the Stockholm stock exchange following the release of the earnings report, hitting a four-year high in early trading on Wednesday.

Ericsson, one of Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s main rivals in the 5G market, said earlier this year it hadn’t felt any effects from US pressure on countries to ban Huawei’s equipment amid fears that it could compromise the security of the mobile phone networks.

 

 

 

 

 

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Intel withdraws from 5G smartphone modem business

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SAN FRANCISCO: US electronics giant Intel said Tuesday it was withdrawing from the 5G smartphone modem business, hours after Apple and American microchip manufacturer Qualcomm announced they had clinched an agreement to end a battle over royalty payments.

The modems that connect smartphones to telecommunications networks were at the heart of the battle between Apple and Qualcomm.

Intel said it will “complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices,” while pursuing investment opportunities in its 5G network infrastructure business.

“5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property,” CEO Bob Swan said in a statement.

“We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

The company said it would meet commitments to customers for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, though it has no plans to launch 5G smartphone modem products, including those previously set to premiere in 2020.

Currently under deployment, ultra-fast 5G wireless networks require terminals equipped with 5G models and specific network infrastructure.

Apple, which had fought a multi-front brawl with Qualcomm for two years, had turned to Intel before reaching the agreement with Qualcomm.

 

 

 

 

 

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