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By Jay Bonggolto
HTC U19e and Desire 19+ debut in Taiwan with mid-range internals
by Jay Bonggolto
It has been quite a while since HTC last unveiled a smartphone product for general consumers. Today, the Taiwanese consumer electronics firm announced two new mid-range smartphones, the U19e and Desire 19+.
The HTC U19e is the company's first handset under the U-series to be introduced in 2019, packing mid-tier specs including a Snapdragon 710 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It sports a six-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with support for HDR10 for enhanced video viewing experience.
The phone boasts a dual camera setup at the back, consisting of a 12MP and 20MP shooters. Its camera supports 4K video recording at 30 frames per second. On the front sits a 24MP selfie snapper housed in a sizable forehead. The phone also has a large chin.
The U19e packs a 3930mAh battery with support for QuickCharge 4.0 and it runs Android 9.0 Pie with HTC Sense on top. It will ship in Extraordinary Purple and Modest Green color options.
The HTC Desire 19+, on the other hand, is the company's lower mid-tier device offering, featuring a 6.2-inch HD+ display, MediaTek Helio P35 chipset, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, up to 128GB of internal storage, and 3,850mAh battery, as per Android Central.
The U19e will go on sale in Taiwan from June 12 for NT$14,900 (~$475) while the Desire 19+ will be up for grabs at a starting price of NT$9,990 (~$319) from early July.
Qualcomm agrees to pay a largely reduced fine to Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission
by João Carrasqueira
Late last year, Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission slapped Qualcomm with a 23.4 billion Taiwan dollarfine ($773M USD) over monopoly abuse accusations. The company was accused of using its overwhelming market presence to negotiate more beneficial deals with customers, but it responded saying that the value of the fine was disproportionate to the volume of its business in the country and contested the ruling.
Now, a settlement between the two parties has seemingly been reached, and Qualcomm seems to have avoided the bigger part of the original fine. Rather than the 23.4 billion Taiwan dollars it was originally fined, it will now have to pay just 2.73 billion, which is about $88 million USD.
As part of the settlement, Qualcomm also agreed to renegotiate its deals with Taiwanese customers and stop refusing to supply its chips. The company also vowed to a five-year investment plan in the country which involved the establishment of an operations center. The Taiwan FTC hopes that the agreement will benefit the mobile communications industry.
Qualcomm may have settled one of its disputes with entities around the world, but it's also been involved in many others, such as the one resulting in another fine from the European Union. It also recently settled another legal feud with Samsung and ended up forming a partnership with the South Korean giant.
Apple squashes bug that caused Taiwan to crash iPhones
by Boyd Chan
Having just released iOS 11.4.1 to the masses, Apple's focus was very much focused on squashing bugs rather than rolling out new features. In fact, the full list of security fixes included in the update can be found on the company's website but, of particular interest is the second entry regarding how emoji were handled under certain circumstances.
While the impact description may seem fairly "run of the mill" as far as flaws are concerned, the conditions under which the flaw was triggered prior to its correction in iOS 11.4.1 are perhaps of interest.
Patrick Wardle, Digita Security's chief research officer, was taken in by the plight of a Taiwanese friend who could not type the word "Taiwan" or receive a message containing a Taiwanese flag without causing a crash on their iPhone. This would occur despite having a fully patched device, prompting Wardle's investigation and analysis to identify the underlying cause.
Ultimately, the researcher found an error in emoji suppression logic that may have been included at the behest of the Chinese government, given the country's claim that Taiwan is a territory of China rather than it being an autonomous entity. The offending code was supposed to replace Taiwanese flag emoji with a crossed box but, due to an oversight, a null pointer error was created resulting in the crash scenario.
So while this error has been laid to rest in iOS 11.4.1, one may wonder what else may be lurking under the covers in order to appease the wishes of authorities around the world.
Source: Patrick Wardle via ZDNet | Image via MacRumors
HTC to lay off 1,500 employees from its Taiwanese manufacturing division
by Vishal Laul
HTC today announced “a strategic adjustment of its workforce” by laying off 1,500 employees from its Taiwanese manufacturing division in order to “more effectively and flexibly” manage its resources and attempt to restore profitability. The layoffs are expected to be completed by the end of September.
As per its own data, the company employs 6,450 employees globally as of June this year, meaning that this layoff represents about a quarter of its workforce. In its press release HTC notes that it will aid all affected employees in finding a new job to fulfill its corporate responsibility.
In February earlier this year, the company merged its smartphone and VR divisions resulting in layoffs in the U.S. That move came just after the $1.1 billion deal with Google, which led Chialin Chang, HTC’s (now former) President of Smartphone and Connected Devices, to resign from his position.
HTC’s latest efforts in the smartphone business have received a lukewarm response so far, but the company says it remains committed to the mobile market. It will be interesting to see where things go from here but seeing that its best and brightest have already left, and a big chunk of the remaining talent is being laid off, the prospects don’t look as bright as one may like.
Taiwan fines Qualcomm for $774 million in relation to monopoly abuse
by Muhammad Jarir Kanji
Qualcomm is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission of Taiwan, which has found the company guilty of abusing its monopoly position with regard to smartphone modems in the country.
The Taiwanese FTC fined the silicon maker for $744 million with regard to these violations, which claim that Qualcomm used its expansive market share to negotiate higher fees and better terms with customers. The government body referred to the company's hold over CDMA and LTE chips, alongside its extensive inventory of patents involving associated technology - many of which it refuses to license to others -, as being key factors in enabling such behavior.
Alongside the fines, the company will also be required to amend its practices and change some of the terms in existing agreements with partners.
Qualcomm, for its part, contested the ruling, and issued the following statement with regard to the injunction and the fine:
Qualcomm makes most of its revenue by licensing its patents to other companies, though it has gained a reputation for doing so in an unsavory manner. Taiwan is also not the only country to go after Qualcomm in this manner; South Korea and China have both issued similar rulings against the company and Apple has mounted a global legal campaign against the American corporation over the same concerns. The ongoing legal battle is significantly hurting the company's financial prospects.
Source: FTC (Taiwan) via The Verge