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By Ather Fawaz
U.K. bans the installation of Huawei equipment from September 2021
by Ather Fawaz
Building on reports from last week, the U.K. has passed a new law whereby carriers will be barred from installing new Huawei equipment as early as the end of September next year. They will also be banned from outsourcing service management to the Shenzhen firm from April 2021 except in exceptional circumstances.
The law comes after Huawei was considered a national security and privacy threat, especially with its 5G equipment. The U.S. put hefty sanctions on the Chinese firm and consequently pushed its allies to avoid doing business with it as well. Conservative MPs have since then called for the complete removal of all Huawei installations from the U.K.
While the complete ban is due by 2027, carriers will be barred from buying new equipment from the Chinese firm come January 2021. However, they will be allowed to overhaul existing systems beyond the initial January deadline. As expected, prominent carriers are will now be reliant on Nordic firms like Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB, who have already secured contracts following the Huawei ban.
To help curb resultant dependency on these Nordic firms, the U.K. government wants to speed up the phasing out of older 2G and 3G technologies. A National Telecoms Lab will also be established to research security and increase compatibility between vendors, as well as fund trials with potential challengers like Japan's NEC.
HMD Global introduces the Nokia 6300 and 8000 with 4G and Google Assistant
by João Carrasqueira
HMD Global has announced the latest members of its family of feature phones, or "dumb" phones, as they're sometimes called. The new phones are the Nokia 6300 4G and Nokia 8000 4G, and they share some similarities in terms of specs and features, including the same Snapdragon 210 chipset, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage, which you can expand via microSD cards.
The Nokia 6300 4G naturally draws some inspiration from the original Nokia 6300 from 2007 in terms of design, but it's been modernized to be more suitable for the modern day. KaiOS can run some basic apps - including popular apps like WhatsApp - and it also supports the Google Assistant, so there are still some smarts. What's notable about it is that it's Nokia cheapest phone yet to offer that feature set, coming in at an average retail price of €49.
In addition to 4G, the phone supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, and it has an FM radio, which is enabled by connecting a headset with the 3.5mm jack. The display is a 2.4-inch QVGA panel, which isn't meant to wow anyone, and the camera is also the bare minimum, being a VGA sensor, but it does have a flash, which can be used with the camera or just as a flashlight. There's a 1,500mAh battery, which promises up to 27.9 days of standby time and 8.2 hours of talk time.
As mentioned above, the Nokia 8000 4G is very similar in terms of specs, and the biggest differences are in the design. It has a front panel that curves at the edges, including the number keys, and the back uses a "glass-like" material to make the phone feel more premium. It also comes in different colors that make better use of that design.
Specs-wise, the only differences are the display, which is 2.8 inches diagonally, and the rear camera, which is a 2MP sensor instead of a VGA one. Everything else is pretty much the same.
Both phones are available in select markets from today. The Nokia 6300 4G comes in Cyan Green, Light Charcoal, and Powder White colors and costs €49 on average. The Nokia 8000 4G comes in Onyx, Opal, Citrine, and Topaz color options, and costs €79.
Huawei drops lawsuit against U.S. government agencies after equipment returned
by Paul Hill
Huawei has announced that its U.S. subsidiary, Huawei Technologies USA Inc. (HT USA), has dropped a lawsuit against several U.S. agencies including the U.S. Commerce Department. The lawsuit was originally filed in June after some of its telecommunications equipment was seized back in September 2017. Huawei pointed out that the U.S. never stated a reason for seizing the hardware.
The equipment taken by the U.S. government included computer servers, Ethernet switches, and “other telecommunications gear” made by Huawei. The company was in the process of testing and certifying the hardware at a California laboratory. The U.S. seized the hardware in transit citing “unidentified export violation concerns” and has since held onto the hardware.
After filing a lawsuit on June 21, Huawei managed to get a response from the U.S. in August. The U.S. government wrote to HT USA explaining that no export license was required to ship the hardware to China and that the firm had complied with the Export Administration Regulations when it tried to ship the hardware initially.
Commenting on the matter, Dr. Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, said:
HT USA has put in a notice of voluntary dismissal with the United States District Court for District of Columbia to try to ascertain why the U.S. took the equipment and why it was being released now. The U.S. government is yet to respond.
Google announces Assignable reminders to keep you organised and productive
by Paul Hill
Google has announced the launch of Assignable reminders on Google Assistant. They’re designed for several people who are living under one roof and allow you to do things like delegate jobs to other occupants. Some examples include creating a reminder for your partner to pick up the groceries, or reminding your roommate to pay their share of the rent each month.
The new reminders can be set up in multiple ways, for example, you could say “Hey Google, remind Greg to take out the trash at 8pm”, a reminder will be sent immediately and another reminder will be sent at 8pm on the off-chance that the initial reminder was forgotten about. You can also say “Hey Google, what are my reminders for Greg?” to pull up the reminders you’ve issued.
If you don’t know an appropriate time to set a reminder, you can use location-based reminders. For example, you could say something like “Hey Google, remind Claire to pick up flowers when she gets to the San Francisco Ferry Building.” The Assistant will then send a reminder to Claire when it works out that she has arrived at the Ferry Building.
Google has ensured that the system is difficult to abuse; users can only send or receive reminders from people in their Google family group or those who have their accounts linked to the same Smart Display or speaker as you and are Voice Matched. The person who you want to send messages to must also be in your Google Contacts. You can block reminders too from the Assignable reminders section in Assistant Settings.
The new feature will be rolling out in English on phones, speakers and Smart Displays in the U.S., U.K., and Australia over the coming weeks.
Degui: U.S. has no proof against Huawei; China to create list of "unreliable" foreign firms
by Florin Bodnarescu
According to a Chinese official, the United States does not have any proof on the spying allegations. Furthermore, the Beijing Government intends to publish a list of so-called "unreliable" foreign companies that would "hurt the interests" of companies in China.
It began in December with the rumor that U.S. President Donald Trump would be signing an executive order to ban the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment in the U.S. following the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Use of the former's tech was actually banned in the Government back in August of last year, and the U.S. additionally filed a fraud case against the Chinese multinational back in January.
First the company's founder stepped in stating that his firm does not spy for the Chinese Government, then Germany's BDI industry group opined that proof should be shown for these allegations. Then, Huawei's rotating chairman, Guo Ping, said at Mobile World Congress 2019 that the multinational telecom and consumer electronics firm "has not and will never plant backdoors."
In addition to the U.S., there is a possibility that the UK would not use Huawei equipment in the deployment of its 5G networks, with GCHQ's Dr Ian Levy calling the firm's security "very, very shoddy."
Responding to these allegations, Huawei then sued the U.S. Government over the failure to "produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products."
In mid-May, Google announced it would cut off Huawei support of its various services, followed by German chip manufacturer Infineon, followed then by ARM, and allegedly Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm.
Later, the U.S. decided to temporarily lift its imposed ban - for 90 days -, though Huawei laptops have disappeared from the Microsoft Store, and the the SD Association decided to drop support for the Chinese firm - a decision later reversed. For its part, Huawei asked the court to speed up its decision on the U.S. ban.
All this brings us to today, when Mu Degui, Member of the standing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Guizhou Provincial Committee, DG of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Guizhou Provincial Publicity department, talking to The Economic Times said:
He further went on to state that "we know that after the incident of Edward Snowden, the United States is not safe at all.", and that China "doesn’t have any kind of requirement from companies to share data with the government."
There is however another aspect to take into account, which is China's National Intelligence Law (NIL), which came into effect on June 27, 2017. According to an (unofficial) translation from China Law Translate, the law's Article 7 states that:
Article 8, for its part, states:
Adding to the statement above, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng stated that the country is preparing a list of "unreliable" foreign companies and individuals that are deemed to have damaged the interests of Chinese firms by violating contractual obligations, market rules, or engaging in "discriminatory measures".
All these, which could affect the Chinese business rights and interests and national security according to Feng, are no doubt the cause of the measures which the Beijing Government is set to reveal "in the near future".
Source: Economic Times, The New York Times