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By Usama Jawad96
Tripwire CEO steps down following controversial remarks on Texas anti-abortion law
by Usama Jawad
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas' new law which does not allow many people to abort after the detection of a foetal heartbeat, before which point most women don't even know that they are pregnant. The "Heartbeat Act" also allows citizens to sue practitioners and healthcare professionals who attempt to bypass this law and perform an abortion after the six-week point of pregnancy. They may also seek up to $10,000 in damages from a civil court.
Needless to say, the law has been quite controversial. Game development company Tripwire Interactive's CEO John Gibson decided to voice his thoughts on the matter, saying on Twitter that:
The statement caused massive backlash from major game developers such as Cory Barlog (God of War) and Cliff Bleszinski (Gear of War, Unreal Tournament), along with thousands of members of the public, who stated that they would not purchase more games from the company moving forward. Some partner studios also expressed disappointment over the Gibson's statement and announced that they would be cutting off ties with Tripwire. The studio is the developer and publisher behind several major titles such as Killing Floor, Killing Floor 2, Chivalry 2, Maneater, and more.
Following the massive backlash against Gibson's statement, Tripwire Interactive has announced that the executive is stepping down from his position and will be replaced by interim CEO Alan Wilson. The full statement reads:
Given this major shake-up mere hours after Gibson's statement, it's clear that Tripwire wants to distance itself from all the sudden negative press that it is getting. It's yet to be seen who will be the new CEO of Tripwire Interactive after the interim tenure.
Samsung offered tax breaks from a Texas city to build new chip plant
by Paul Hill
The Texan city of Taylor has said it will give Samsung extensive property tax breaks if it chooses its city to build a new $17 billion chip plant there instead of Austin, Texas which it’s competing with, according to a Reuters report. Should Taylor, Texas become the site of the new plant, around 1,800 new jobs will be created which should be good for people in the surrounding area.
According to Reuters, not only will Austin, Texas be competing for the factory but Samsung has apparently been looking to set up at sites in Arizona and New York. As things stand, Taylor city is the only location that has said it will offer tax breaks to the Korean firm but other locations could do so in time.
As part of the plans, Taylor would offer a 92.5% tax waiver on the new property for 10 years and it would repay Samsung the development review costs. The proposal is set to be considered by the Taylor City Council and Williamson County Commissioners on Wednesday so Samsung should be keeping a close eye on the matter.
If Samsung does decide to build in Taylor city, it will break ground by the first quarter of next year with the factory ready to begin producing chips by the end of 2024.
Apple Wallet users will be able to add their driver's license and state IDs
by Paul Hill
Apple has announced that residents in several U.S. states will be able to add their driver's licenses and state IDs to Apple Wallet and have them accepted. The first states that will support the feature will be Arizona and Georgia with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah to follow.
Commenting on the new feature, Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, said:
With the rollout, Apple says the Transportation Security Administration will enable select checkpoints at airports where Apple Wallet users can verify their identity before boarding a plane. Apple said that this gives people a more secure and convenient way to present their driver's license and state IDs to authorities.
For those concerned about the security implications, Apple has several measures in place to help you relax. Neither Apple nor issuing states know when or where users present their IDs, the IDs are encrypted so they cannot be stolen or tampered with, the device uses encrypted communications to talk to the identity reader, if a phone gets lost, and you can use the Find My app to locate your device or remotely erase it. The encryption used by Apple meets the ISO 18013-5 mDL so it’s very secure.
Apple didn’t share exactly when the feature will be available but if you live in Arizona or Georgia you’ll be among the first to receive it. Afterwards, it will come to the other named states.
TrendForce says smartphone production to be reduced 5% in 2Q21
by Paul Hill
The analyst firm TrendForce has warned that smartphone production will drop by 5% in the second quarter because of a winter storm that hit Samsung’s Austin factory in mid-February where phone components are manufactured. Some of the highly important smartphone components affected include the Qualcomm 5G RFIC, Samsung’s LSI OLED DDIC and its LSI CIS Logic IC.
According to TrendForce’s investigation into the matter, Samsung was able to somewhat prepare for the interruption because it had been forewarned about the coming weather, however, smartphone production around the world will be slowed down partly due to how long it’ll take Samsung to resume full operations.
The Qualcomm RFIC is usually shipped to clients for use in 5G handsets but the delays mean that 5G smartphone production in 2Q21 could drop by a huge 30%. In turn, it said that phone manufacturers are likely to increase the production of 4G handsets to make up for the shortfall in 5G devices. To help matters, Samsung will be prioritising the production of its RF products to get them out to manufacturers sooner.
The analyst said it’s sticking to its previous forecast that 1.36 billion smartphones would be produced this year but did say that it now expects 5G penetration to reach 36.5% rather than 38% as previously anticipated. The analyst also said this week that SSD production would be impacted due to the factory slowing down.
TrendForce warns of SSD price hikes later this year
by Paul Hill
The analyst firm TrendForce has put out a warning that the price of solid-state drives (SSD) is going to increase this year because of a pre-existing shortage of NAND Flash controllers and the power outage that recently hit Samsung’s Austin semiconductor plant. It said manufacturers are now preparing to raise the prices of SSDs by around 3-8% in Q2.
In the second quarter, TrendForce was predicting that client SSDs would retain the same price as of Q1 but it now expects the price to rise by 3-8%. Things are a little better in the enterprise SSD category, originally it said the price would fall 0-5% in Q2, but now it has prices rising from 0-5%, which is not as steep as client SSDs.
Last month, Samsung’s Austin plant was hit by a severe winter storm that suspended production from mid-February to March 2. TrendForce said that it doesn’t expect the factory to become fully operational until the end of March which will impact Samsung’s ability to produce SSDs.
With the coronavirus still affecting all parts of the world, demand for notebooks - so that work can be performed from home - is still high. Those looking to purchase a notebook equipped with an SSD could see devices getting more expensive as the year goes on.