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Samsung hits a new low, sells least number of smartphones in almost a decade

SEOUL, Dec 26: Samsung, this year, might have touched its lowest ever shipments in almost a decade, according to reports coming from South Korea. The handset maker has apparently shipped below 300 million devices only, reports GizChina. A lot of the credit goes to the pandemic here as well. Reports said that Samsung’s total shipments by the end of Q3 were some 189.4 million units and the year’s total shipment were coming around 270 million.

While these numbers are definitely low, it might be the same case with other handset brands as well since the pandemic affected nearly every brand and business.

But that is not keeping the Korean smartphone maker from coming back up in 2021. The company is said to bring several 5G smartphones next year. It will also be focussing a lot on foldable handsets in the ‘affordable’ price tag. “Accessible” in this case most probably refers to the price of the foldables that range between $1,300 to $2,000 right now.

TM Roh, Samsung’s president of mobile, recently dropped whole lot of hints on Samsung’s roadmap. Going by what we know, Samsung is going to launch the Samsung Galaxy S21 series at this January event. Interestingly, Roh has also implied that S Pen support is going to come to more of their smartphones and that Samsung intends to broaden its arsenal of foldable phones with “less expensive” options.

This also might mean that, rumour has it, that the Note line-up might come to an end soon, at least as a premium flagship in Samsung’s range. But a separate report states that the Note line of handsets will continue in 2021.

iPhone 13 to come with a smaller notch, ToF LiDAR sensors

TAIPEI, Dec 20: Apple launched the iPhone 12 series consisting of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max earlier this year. Of these, only the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max came with LiDAR sensors. But that might change with the iPhone 13 series that will be launched in 2021.

As per a Digitimes report (via GizChina), unlike the iPhone 12 series, all the phones in the iPhone 13 series are expected to be equipped with LiDAR sensors. The iPhone 13 series is tipped to get Direct Time-of-Flight (D-ToF) technology. These sensors will be provided by a US-based company called II-VI, which will be entering Apple’s supply chain for its next-generation iPhone models. As per the report, the firm will manufacture VCSEL chips that will be used in ToF LiDAR sensors for Apple.

The report also claims that the rear-camera setup of the iPhone 13 will be slightly different from its 2020 counterpart as it is likely to have more number of holes. While the number of lenses could remain the same, the number of sensors is likely to increase. The overall effect of this change would be that the iPhone 13 will come with a better 3D sensing module.

Furthermore, the report states that Apple would streamline VCSEL chip in the front camera setup and that the phone’s 3D sensing capabilities could improve dramatically, which includes reducing the volume of the structured light 3D sensing module, that is, the notch.

Lastly, the report quoting Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis, Tim Long and Thomas O’Malley said that the iPhone 13 series is also tipped to get Wi-Fi 6E, which will not only provide the features and functionalities of Wi-Fi 6 while extending to the 6GHz frequency band. The report says that it will provide higher bandwidth with less interference for the Wi-Fi 6E-enabled devices.

Govt sets up ‘trusted source’ bar for phone companies to shield them from attacks

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Phone companies in India can only use telecom equipment certified by a top security panel to have come from a “trust source”, the Union Cabinet decided at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

The certificate will be issued by a security panel headed by Deputy National Security Advisor Rajender Khanna who reports to NSA Ajit Doval. A former chief of India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing, Khanna heads the technologies section in the National Security Council Secretariat, people familiar with the matter said.

“This is a very important decision with respect to national security,” Union telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said as he unveiled the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector that had been cleared by the cabinet minutes earlier.

The directive does not require phone companies to replace their existing equipment and will not impact ongoing annual maintenance contracts or updates to existing equipment.

The move comes against the backdrop of concerns expressed in India and abroad over mobile companies using equipment manufactured by the China-headquartered Huawei that has been accused by the United States of spying for Beijing. One official said the new security directive owed its origin to a presentation made way back in July by India’s lead intelligence agency on the risks posed by Chinese companies across different sectors.

Ravi Shankar Prasad did not name any country or company.

A government official indicated that the freshly-minted security directive would enable India to address concerns around equipment pitched by Chinese companies but stressed that this policy was designed to secure Indian telecom infrastructure against other risks as well.

The government, he said, wants to minimise the risks posed by cyber attacks. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reported 4 lakh cyber incidents in 2019. In August this year, the government reported 7 lakh cyber incidents. During the last one year, the ministry of electronics and information technology told Parliament in August, the government and business entities had lost Rs 124 lakh crore to cyber crime.

“The fact is that India is among the top three countries in the world facing cyber-attacks,” the official said.

How will it work

India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator Lt General (retd) Rajesh Pant will issue a list of telecom equipment that will be covered under the new security directive.

Gen Pant’s office will notify a list of ‘Trusted Sources/ Trusted Products’ for the benefit of the telecom service providers once they have been cleared by a committee headed by Dy NSA Rajinder Khanna. The committee, called the National Security Committee on Telecom, will have representatives from government departments concerned apart from two industry representatives and an independent expert. The committee has also been empowered blacklist companies that will not be allowed to sell equipment to phone companies.

The National Security Committee on Telecom has also been authorised to give incentives under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat exercise to companies identified as a “trusted source” if they meet the criteria in this regard.

A portal will be launched for easy upload of applications by telecom service providers and equipment vendors. This will improve the ease of doing business by providing a predictable assessment methodology to phone companies and equipment vendors, a government official said.




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