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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Google Assistant is joining Bixby on the Galaxy Watch 4 series – SamMobile

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The Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will be Samsung’s first smartwatches in many years to be based on an operating system other than Tizen OS. They’ll run Google’s Wear OS with a fresh version of One UI for smartwatches on top, so unlike previous Galaxy wearables, the upcoming series will reportedly support the Google Assistant.

In fact, according to a recent tweet by @_snoopytech_, the Galaxy Watch 4 series will support both the Google Assistant and Samsung’s Bixby virtual assistant. This bit of detail is supported further by yesterday’s leaked spec sheet, and it’s a pretty big deal.

Up until now, the Galaxy Watch series only offered Bixby out of the box. The Google Assistant was not available through legitimate means, and Amazon’s Alexa is available through an app from the Play Store, though the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.

Time will tell if users will be able to change the default assistant

Even if the Galaxy Watch 4 series will come pre-loaded with Google Assistant and Bixby, as yet, there’s no evidence to confirm whether or not users will have the option to choose a default virtual assistant between the two.

It could be that Bixby will be activated by default without an option to pick Google Assistant as the main virtual helper, or it could be that Samsung will allow Galaxy Watch 4 customers to determine which assistant gets priority over the other.

But given that Samsung was willing to shelve Tizen in favor of a deeper collaboration with Google on Wear OS, it’s very likely that Galaxy Watch 4 / Classic owners will have the option of picking their default assistants. We’ll keep you posted as more details come out. Until then, feel free to let us know if you favor Tizen over Google Assistant or the other way around.

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Nikkei: Google Tensor is a 5nm chip and Samsung is handling production – 9to5Google

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With the hype surrounding the Pixel 6 series now at an all-time high, we’re learning more by the hour. The latest such snippet is that the Google Tensor chipset to be used within the upcoming duo will reportedly be made using a 5nm process, with Samsung handling the production.

Naturally, the news that Samsung is handling production should come as no surprise whatsoever, given that Google has reportedly co-developed the firm’s first dedicated smartphone chip with the Korean tech giant.

However, sources close to Nikkei Asia suggests that the Google Tensor chipset will be built using a 5nm fabrication process, which is the same as the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 mobile chipset and Samsung’s own Exynos 1080/2100 chips.

Google did not disclose who will manufacture the Tensor chip for Pixel, but sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia that Samsung handle production using its advanced 5-nanometer process technology.

It’s worth noting that Samsung declined to comment on Nikkei’s report, with Google providing no information on who would handle the chipset – previously known as “Whitechapel” – production. Of course, there are very few companies with the track record and capability to fulfill large chipset orders for smartphone production. The Korean tech giant is one of the few capable of doing so.

If the Tensor chip is indeed based upon the 5nm fabrication process, it could provide notable efficiency gains over the 7nm process used within the Pixel 5’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC. Google said that the Tensor chip has been four years in the making and has been designed “specifically for Pixels,” which indicates that we’ll likely only see it in Made by Google hardware.

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Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 4 Classic prices confirmed in a new leak – SamMobile

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Samsung will unveil a bunch of new devices next week during its Galaxy Unpacked August 2021 event. The company’s first Wear OS 3 smartwatches will be a part of the event as well. Their design and complete specs sheet have been leaked already, and now their pricing has been revealed as well.

Galaxy Watch 4 price could start at €279

Leakster Even Blass (@evleaks) has published a few images of the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and they reveal the European prices of the wearables. The Galaxy Watch 4’s 40mm variant could carry a price tag of €279, while its 44mm variant could cost €309. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, which has a rotating bezel and a bigger screen, could be priced at €379 for the 42mm variant and €409 for the 46mm variant.

Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 4 specs

Both smartwatches sport circular Super AMOLED displays with Corning’s Gorilla Glass DX/DX+ protection. They feature an IP68 rating as well as an MIL-STD-810G-compliant design for dust, water, and shock resistance. Both smartwatches run One UI Watch 3.5 software on top of Wear OS 3. They also feature an accelerometer, barometric altimeter, ECG, GPS, gyro, heart rate monitor, sleep monitoring, SpO2 sensor, stress monitoring, and even body fat composition measurement.

The Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will come equipped with the 5nm Exynos W920 dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. They also feature dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC. The smartwatches have a loudspeaker and microphone for taking calls and other tasks. The Galaxy Watch 4 is expected to feature a 247mAh battery, while the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic could have a 361mAh battery.

Both smartwatches feature Qi wireless charging, Samsung Health, SmartThings, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

  • Model: SM-R880
  • Dimensions: Watch: x x mm
  • Display: 1.2 inch / 30.2 mm Circular Super AMOLED
  • CPU:
  • Camera:

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