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Component shortage fails to slow PC growth in Western Europe, says Canalys
by Paul Hill
According to new research from Canalys, PC shipments in Western Europe during the first quarter reached 16.1 million units representing year-on-year growth of 48%. The analyst said that despite component shortages and high demand for PCs to enable working from home, the supply chain is in better shape than in Q1 2020 when COVID-19 brought everything to a standstill suddenly.
HP saw the most shipments at 4.1 million units, representing 26% market share and Lenovo saw 4.0 million shipments, representing a 25% market share. In the following three places were Dell, Apple, and Acer who had market shares of 14%, 10%, and 9% respectively. Of these, Apple saw the highest growth, up 127% year on year. Canalys said that the new M1 chipset was a major driver behind sales of new Macs.
Commenting on Apple’s success in Western Europe, Canalys Research Analyst Trang Pham said:
As we emerge from the pandemic, Canalys doesn’t believe we’ll return to the world as it was before the pandemic. Instead, it sees employees doing more remote work which will keep demand for PCs high. Over the next 12 months, Canalys doesn’t expect PC supply to match the “sustained demand surge”.
By Jay Bonggolto
Huawei to launch HarmonyOS and new devices on June 2
by Jay Bonggolto
Huawei unveiled HarmonyOS in 2019, its homegrown operating system designed to run on various smart devices including smartphones, wearables, wireless earbuds, laptops, tablets, and self-driving cars. A year later, the company announced a version of the OS specifically built for smartphones, dubbed HarmonyOS 2.0, though it was not meant for release until sometime in 2021.
Today, the Chinese phone maker posted a new video online teasing the upcoming launch of HarmonyOS and other products on June 2. The teaser was shared on Twitter.
It's not clear whether the event will be China-only or worldwide, but it's expected to mark a new milestone in Huawei's efforts to cut its reliance on Android after U.S. sanctions prevented Google from providing support to its mobile devices. Huawei didn't say as well whether it's launching a new smartphone in June, apart from indicating that it would unveil new products in addition to HarmonyOS.
Huawei positions the new operating system as a key step in addressing the impact of U.S. sanctions that adversely affected its business worldwide. Aside from the Google ban, Huawei's access to critical U.S. technology that's necessary to manufacture its own Kirin processor was blocked.
The company's solution is to focus on its software ecosystem. Huawei's founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, most recently called on employees to "dare to lead the world" in software in a move to counter the impact of U.S. sanctions, according to an internal memo. He said transitioning to software and services will give the company "greater independence and autonomy" as these are beyond the reach of U.S. control.
The low-level Rust programming language has just turned six years old
by Paul Hill
The developers behind the Rust programming language celebrated six years since the launch of version 1.0 on Saturday. In its fairly short life, it has gained a lot of interest as a replacement for C thanks to the code safety features that are on by default which lead to fewer memory-related bugs that can be exploited. This memory safety has caught the imagination of many and Stack Overflow even found it to be the most loved programming language in its 2020 survey.
Earlier this year, the Rust Foundation was established to look after its namesake language following lay-offs at Mozilla which was previously maintaining the project. The creation of the Rust Foundation was one of the biggest events in the language’s six-year history and will be one of the most important going forward.
One of the most notable projects to adopt Rust to date is Mozilla’s web browser, Firefox. Since Firefox 48, Mozilla has been inserting more and more Rust code into its flagship browser to increase the overall speed of the browser and increase security thanks to the elimination of memory leaks. As of July 2020, 12.31% of code in Firefox Nightly on macOS was written using Rust code compared to 6.24% back in November 2018.
Going forward, Google is planning to move low-level components on Android to Rust with work already starting on the Bluetooth stack. Meanwhile, the Linux kernel developers are contemplating whether to allow code to be written in Rust for the creation of safer driver and kernel-space code. If you’d like to see where Rust is heading this year on a technical level, be sure to read their recent blog post on the matter.
UK turning to legislation to get rid of mobile not-spots
by Paul Hill
The UK government has announced that it will propose law changes in an effort to boost mobile connectivity in rural areas to help those who live, work, and travel in those places. Under the legislation, mobile carriers will be allowed to make new and existing masts up to five metres taller and two metres wider to boost their range, it also allows operators to attach equipment that lets them be shared more easily.
The government believes that the change will encourage mobile carriers to improve their existing masts rather than build new ones. The increased size would still allow them to reach a similar number of users as building new masts, enabling innovations such as remote healthcare, self-driving vehicles, and smart home devices.
The legislation will give protection to protected areas such as national parks, the Broads, conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and world heritage sites but will allow for masts on buildings to be placed nearer to highways to boost coverage.
Commenting on the new legislation, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
While the new legislation will loosen restrictions, the government said that local authorities would still need to give their approval for masts and will have a say on where they’re placed and their appearance. The new plans will first go to consultation until 14 June 2021 to get feedback before starting the process of becoming law.
Google provides funding for development of OpenSSL alternative
by Paul Hill
The Internet Security Research Group has announced that Google has provided funding for Rust developer Dirkjan Ochtman to make improvements to Rustls, a memory-safe alternative to OpenSSL. This funding is linked to the news we reported back in February that the ISRG will be making Apache HTTP Server’s implementation of httpd more secure by using Rustls in its components.
According to ISRG, many SSL/TLS libraries have a long history of security issues due to them being written in C. By using Rust for Rustls, the developers can ensure that the code is memory-safe which will reduce the number of security issues significantly.
Commenting on the news, Dan Lorenc, a security software engineer at Google, said:
Ochtman will be making several improvements to Rustls when he gets started including:
As the ISRG begins to port more important online infrastructure over to Rust, the security vulnerabilities linked to C and other memory-unsafe languages should start to decrease ultimately leading to greater security for users.