All posts in “Big Tech Companies”

Samsung Galaxy S10 leaks in official TV ad

Samsung really hasn’t been very good at keeping its upcoming flagship, the Galaxy S10, under wraps. The phone leaked time and time again — we’ve seen photos from all sides and all of the specs — but the latest leak takes the biscuit: It’s an official TV advertisement for the Galaxy S10. 

The ad was apparently aired by mistake on Norway’s TV 2, and was first reported by The Verge.  

It feels odd to type this about an unreleased phone, but the ad doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know. It does, however, gives us the best idea yet of what the phone will look like. 

[embedded content]

First, the ad treats us to a close-up look at the Galaxy S10+’s notch-less, dual-selfie-camera screen. The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner makes an appearance, too, as does the triple rear camera. 

The ad also features Samsung’s new, wireless Galaxy Buds, which can be charged by placing the case on the back of the S10.

Amazingly, even though we now know pretty much everything there is to know about Samsung’s new flagship phones, the upcoming Feb 20 event will still be quite interesting, as we still don’t know the exact U.S. pricing for the phones. Furthermore, Samsung has yet to give us a decent look at its foldable smartphone (it may or may not happen at the event), and there’s also the rumored 5G version of the S10, which is likely coming later this year. 

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Huawei founder speaks amid pressure: ‘The U.S. can’t crush us’

Huawei's founder speaks up after considerable pressure from the U.S.
Huawei’s founder speaks up after considerable pressure from the U.S.

Image: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

The founder of Chinese electronics giant Huawei said it doesn’t need the U.S. to survive. 

Ren Zhengfei spoke to the BBC in his first interview since the arrest of his daughter, Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng, in Canada.

Huawei has been under considerable pressure from the U.S., which has been convincing allies in Australia, the UK, and New Zealand to not use the company’s 5G equipment due to security concerns.

“There’s no way the U.S. can crush us,” Zhengfei told the broadcaster. “The world needs us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

The UK is set to make a decision on whether it will use Huawei’s equipment in March or April, but the country’s National Cyber Security Centre has reportedly found ways to “limit the risks” of its technology.

Ren said regardless of ban in the UK, Huawei will continue to invest in the country, and promised the company will increase its focus there if the U.S. doesn’t work out. 

“We still trust in the UK, and we hope that the UK will trust us even more,” he added. “We will invest even more in the UK. Because if the U.S. doesn’t trust us, then we will shift our investment from the U.S. to the UK on an even bigger scale.”

On the arrest of his daughter, Ren objected to the actions of U.S., calling them “politically motivated.”

“The U.S. likes to sanction others, whenever there’s an issue, they’ll use such combative methods,” he said. 

“We object to this. But now that we’ve gone down this path, we’ll let the courts settle it.”

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Google will stop websites from blocking Incognito mode

Google is working on closing a loophole that allowed websites to detect if a user was browsing via Chrome's Incognito mode.
Google is working on closing a loophole that allowed websites to detect if a user was browsing via Chrome’s Incognito mode.

Image: Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Google is about to close a loophole that many companies used to track how people were browsing their website in Chrome.

According to 9to5Google, Google is aware of a trick that web developers have been exploiting which enables them to detect if a user is visiting a website in Chrome’s Incognito mode. This loophole allows websites to block visitors from accessing the site’s content, forcing them to switch out of Incognito mode if they want to view the page. 

The workaround is fairly simple. Chrome disables the FileSystem API, which stores application files, when Incognito mode is being used. Websites looking to block private browsing in Chrome can just check for this API when a browser loads the page.

Google is working to fix this exploit by having Chrome create a virtual file system in RAM. By doing this, websites won’t notice the missing API. To ensure data is not saved, this virtual system will automatically delete when a user leaves Incognito mode. According to 9to5Google, the search giant is also looking to completely remove the FileSystem API from Chrome altogether. 

Incognito mode allows users to privately surf the internet without site data and browsing history being saved. It also prevents websites from tracking visitors with cookies. While in Incognito mode, users are basically blocking advertisements from targeting them based on their web history. It can also be used to get around article limits on subscription based websites.

One example of a website utilizing this Chrome loophole is The Boston Globe, which replaces articles viewed in Incognito mode with an on-screen prompt in an attempt to stop users from circumventing its paywall.

“You’re using a browser set to private or incognito mode,” says any article page on The Boston Globe’s website. “To continue reading articles in this mode, please log in to your Globe account.”

Google is set to close the loophole via an opt-in feature with Chrome 74, which The Verge point out is expected to arrive in April. The option is tentatively expected to be the default option by Chrome 76.

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UK cybersecurity center isn’t too afraid of Huawei, report says

The UK government is leaning towards allowing the use of Huawei 5G equipment in the country, report claims.
The UK government is leaning towards allowing the use of Huawei 5G equipment in the country, report claims.

Image: MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has assessed the dangers of using Huawei’s 5G equipment, and it found that it’s not such a big deal, Financial Times reported Sunday. 

The cybersecurity centre’s findings have not yet been made public, but FT claims that it found “ways to limit the risks” from using Huawei’s equipment in 5G networks. 

The report doesn’t offer any further details, and an official review from the UK government — which will likely be strongly influenced by the NCSC’s findings — is expected in March or April. But if the UK government okays the use of Huawei’s 5G equipment in the country, it would be a blow to U.S. efforts to convince its allies to avoid doing so.

U.S. government agencies are officially banned from using Huawei and ZTE equipment via an executive order passed in Aug. 2018, and several other countries, including Australia and New Zealand, followed suit. The U.S. government thinks that 5G networks are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than previous generation networks, and is wary that Huawei, which has ties to the Chinese government, might conduct espionage on behalf of China. 

The news follows a report from German outlet Handelsblatt (via Reuters) in early February, which claimed that the German government is reluctant to ban Huawei 5G equipment in the country. 

Despite the controversy and the U.S. ban, there hasn’t been any publicly available evidence that Huawei has ever spied on the Chinese government. Huawei did get another round of bad publicity in Dec. 2018, when the company CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on suspicion of bank fraud. 

A Huawei spokesperson told Mashable via email that the company has “never been asked to engage in intelligence work on behalf of any government.” “If we were ever pressured to maliciously violate the trust of our customers, we would rather shut the company down,” the spokesperson said. 

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The joke’s on us: Amazon still made out like a bandit

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Amazon is doing just fine.
Amazon is doing just fine.

Image: Alex Wong / getty

Even when Amazon loses, it still wins. 

The corporate behemoth announced Feb. 14 that it had abandoned its plan to open offices in Long Island City, Queens. In the face of local opposition to the proposed massive development and approximately $3 billion in government incentives, the company issued a statement bemoaning its newly found status as the unpopular kid in town — telling the world that it would take its ball and go home. 

But here’s the thing: Even without New York bending over backward to accommodate its every helipad-laden whim, the company still made out like a bandit following the so-called HQ2 search. Because when it comes to Amazon, it’s all about that data — which in this case happens to be something government officials handed over in droves. 

When Amazon first dangled the carrot of a second headquarters to be built in one theoretically lucky U.S. city, local and state officials were quick to take the bait. In the end, the company received a total of 238 detailed proposals. And we do mean detailed. 

As Bloomberg pointed out in November, the secret bids offered up a host of data on cities’ plans for future development and growth in an effort to entice Amazon. That information is extremely valuable to a company like Amazon. In fact, an urban studies professor at the University of Toronto, Richard Florida, who spoke with the publication pegged the value at hundreds of millions of dollars. 

“I always thought this wasn’t about one site and was part of a corporate location strategy looking for different sites and different talent,” he explained to Bloomberg. “Headquarters two and three are just the beginning.” 

And he wasn’t the only one. After a rejected HQ2 bid by its local government, the Charlotte Observer came to much the same conclusion. 

“(Amazon has) an idea what 200-plus locations would be willing to put on the table from an incentives standpoint,” Mark Sweeney, a senior principal at the consulting firm McCallum Sweeney, told the paper. “They could come back to Charlotte saying, ‘We want to do another fulfillment center, and we know how much you offered for HQ2.'”

Essentially, every single one of the 238 cities and states that made a play for HQ2 showed Amazon their cards. All of them. And Amazon not opening up another office in Long Island City isn’t going to change that. 

Bezos played all of us. And he knows it. 

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