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Coronavirus is Hitting Tech Companies Hard And Could Soon Hurt Your Wallet Too – News18

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By the time the deadly Coronavirus outbreak was finally declared as a global health emergency at the end of last month, the impact on the various sectors of the Chinese economy was already being felt. Tech remains hit badly, with production stalled, supply chains have come to a grinding halt and companies shutting offices in the country to keep employees safe. As time has passed, the impact of what is happening in China because of the Coronavirus is being felt globally too.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that a US$675 million global response plan is needed to fight Coronavirus, even as the global infections have surged past 30,000. The global death toll has also crossed 800 while Chinese authorities have confirmed 3062 new cases and 97 more deaths, which takes the toll to 908 deaths and 40,171 cases in the country. China’s economy accounts for more than 16% of the global production output, and that includes everything from iPhones to copper.

With that as the backdrop, tech companies have over the past few weeks taken the decision to shut down offices and stores in China. Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Tesla, to name a few, took the decision to not reopen offices post the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays last month, or extended the break with the policy to work-from-home. The same is also true for Chinese companies, including Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo and Oppo. Most companies have also restricted employees from traveling to China. Starbucks has closed 2000 outlets in China, while KFC has also shuttered thousands of outlets in the country after one of their employees was diagnosed with the Coronavirus. Yum China, which operates Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC outlets in more than 1,300 cities in China, has introduced what it calls “contactless food deliveries” to protect their employees. According to reports, videos on the Chinese social media site, Weibo show delivery drivers having their temperature recorded before wearing Hazmat suits and face masks and disinfecting all food packaging while leaving the restaurant.

Factories are also non-operational in China, which is grinding the supply chain to a halt. Electronics manufacturing is disrupted significantly. At the same time, materials and components that may be required by factories located outside China, are also not being shipped. The ripple effect, unprecedented in terms of something we have never seen before. Product shipments will be hit at least in the next couple of quarters. This will also hurt the next set of product launches, because the prototyping, build stages and advance production is not happening as we speak. Perhaps, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s forecast should put things in perspective. “Our latest survey indicates that the iPhone supply is being affected by the coronavirus and, therefore, we cut the iPhone shipment forecasts by 10%,” he said. Foxcon and Pegatron, two of the biggest employeers in China, make almost all of the iPhones, but that’s just one thing they do. The Nikkei Asian Review reported that the Chinese authorities have not allowed Foxcon to reopen its Shenzhen plant over Coronavirus prevention concerns. Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant has also not reopened. Apart from being the largest production base for Apple iPhones, the Foxcon factories also churn out electronics and gadgets for the likes of Google, Amazon, Dell, HP and Huawei, to name a few.

“The local governments do not want to risk the potential virus spreading in such a labor-intensive working environment. No one wants to bear the responsibility of restarting work at this critical moment,” the Nikke Asian Review reported.

Consumer prices in China have already recorded their biggest jump since 2011 as prices rose 5.4% in January as the effects of the Coronavirus disaster became clear, according to numbers by the National Bureau of Statistics, reported by the Financial Times.

Earlier this month, Asus had warned customers that there will be delays in the availability of their popular gaming phone, the ROG Phone II. They also cited the “disruption in supply chain” for the temporary shortage.

Chip maker Qualcomm has already said that the Coronavirus outbreak will cause significant uncertainty regarding supplies needed to produce smartphone processors. This will have a significant impact on the company’s ability to produce these critical components which phone makers will then use in the phones they make.

It is not just global brands who are facing delays and uncertainty. Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei and Lenovo are facing operational delays because of the Coronavirus. “Companies which rely on components from Hubei will be the most impacted, such as Lenovo. For companies like Huawei, whose operations are in Guangdong, the situation is less severe, although no company right now will be able to resume factory operations at 100 percent capacity,” Nicole Peng, mobile analyst at Canalys, told the South China Morning Post. Oppo is relying heavily on production facilities in India and Indonesia to soften the blow.

Xiaomi is already looking at a situation where several of their products are already out of stock. “The planned release of new products has been disrupted and we are making adjustments,” said Lu Weibing, vice-president of Xiaomi in a Weibo post last month. “The smartphone industry will face difficulties this year,” Lu Weibing added.

In the short term globally, there will a gradual reduced availability of a lot of tech products that emerge out of Chinese factories, or rely heavily on components from the region. This will lead to lesser availability of products in the near future, but a lot of that will depend on how long the factories remain shut in China. Eventually, prices of tech products will also see an upward correction, which will directly hit the consumers’ wallets and budget.

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What satellite navigation systems does the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 support? – XDA Developers

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After months of heavy leaks, Samsung’s next foldable phone — Galaxy Z Fold 4 — is finally official. While not a massive upgrade over its predecessor Galaxy Z Fold 3, the new model does bring several notable improvements, making the Galaxy Z Fold 4 Samsung’s most refined foldable yet. The hinge is more compact, ergonomics have improved, cameras and chipset have been upgraded, and there are some new software updates to improve the multitasking experience. In addition, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 also boasts support for all global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), enabling precise location tracking no matter where you are.

GPS support on the Galaxy Z Fold 4

In particular, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 supports four navigation systems, namely, GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, and BeiDou. GPS is short for Global Positioning System, and it’s owned by the United States. GLONASS is a Russian navigation system, while Galileo is operated by European Union Agency. Finally, BeiDou is a Chinese satellite navigation system.

Support for multiple navigation systems means the Galaxy Z Fold 4 can access more satellite signals to calculate its positioning. This translates to increased location accuracy and a faster fix. You can use an app like GPSTest to see in real-time which Global Navigation satellite systems are being used by your phone for positioning. As a consumer, you probably don’t need to worry about any of these details. Just know that your Galaxy Z Fold 4 has everything to offer a smooth navigation experience when using Google Maps, booking an Uber, or any app that relies on precise location tracking.

    The Galaxy Z Fold 4 supports four global navigation systems, including GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou.

Location services are notorious battery hogs, so be sure to keep tabs on apps with location access. Ideally, you only want to grant full location access to critical apps — Google Maps and ride apps, for example. In other cases, take advantage of Android’s one-time permission to only grant temporary location access to an app.

Check out the best Galaxy Z Fold 4 deals if you’re on the fence about getting one. You can save money and score freebies. And don’t forget to pick up a case and a fast charger for your expensive purchase.


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Apple Is About To Launch A Bold New Ads Strategy, Leak Suggests – Forbes

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Apple is about to embark on a bold new strategy that will see it displaying adverts on preloaded iPhone apps, according to a new report. As it looks to make more money from services, the iPhone maker is aiming to triple the revenue of its ads business, according to Apple commentator Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter.

According to Gurman, Apple’s VP of advertising platforms Todd Teresi has been asked to bolster annual revenue into “double digits” from about $4 billion today. The iPhone maker has been testing search ads in maps already, which could show up with places to eat, for example, when you search in the app.

Apple could also be planning ads in other apps including Podcasts and Books, and even on Apple TV via a subscription model that would include an ad supported tier in exchange for a cheaper monthly fee, Gurman predicts.

Expansion of Apple’s ads business

This would be an expansion of Apple’s current ads business, which is limited to the App Store—where developers pay to have their app boosted when certain search queries are entered—and its Stocks and News apps. Apple started asking people last year if they wanted to enable personalized ads on these apps, and you can turn this off in your iPhone Privacy settings.

Gurman also reiterated predictions that Apple is planning to include ads on its Today Tab—as I wrote previously.

It marks a major change in Apple’s strategy, which had previously focused on hardware to boost revenue. Over the last couple of years, the iPhone maker’s focus has shifted towards its services business, and this latest move is an extension of that.

The new Apple strategy comes after its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) features introduced in iOS 14.5 crippled Facebook’s ad business by limiting its ability to track people on the iPhone.

Gurman calls this “the elephant in the room,” saying:

“Before even talking about how Apple Inc. could expand its advertising business, I need to address the elephant in the room: how the company’s privacy efforts have stymied third-party advertising on its platform.”

He goes on to talk about how ATT is “perfectly reasonable,” adding that people should be able to choose whether they want to be tracked. However: “There’s no denying that ATT has created some collateral damage: a major revenue hit for companies big and small.

“You may not feel too bad for social media giants like Meta Platforms Inc. and Snap Inc. that have claimed to have lost billions of dollars as a result of Apple’s changes, but smaller developers also say the feature has upended their businesses,” Gurman adds.

Taking this into account, Gurman calls Apple’s decision to expand its ads business “ironic.”

This is especially true since Apple’s own way of personalizing ads is based on the data you produce by using its other services. “That doesn’t feel like a privacy-first policy,” says Gurman.

Gurman makes a very good point—and while you can switch Personalization off, the iPhone maker can still gather data including your carrier, device type and what you read.

Apple has been heavily promoting its privacy credentials for some time, so hopefully it will still be easy for people to opt out of personalization in their settings. However, in the interest of transparency, the iPhone maker will need to ensure it’s clear about the data it collects about you and keep with its own ATT rules.

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Microsoft Office to support Apple Pencil’s handwriting-to-text feature – The Siasat Daily

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San Francisco: Tech giant Microsoft has released a new beta version of its Office app for iPad with support for the Apple Pencil’s handwriting-to-text feature Scribble.

The feature allows you to insert and edit the text in a Word document, PowerPoint presentation, or Excel spreadsheet using the Apple Pencil, with handwriting automatically converted into typed text, reports AppleInsider.

After enabling the Scribble feature in Settings and then Apple Pencil, the feature can be used by tapping the Scribble Pen button under the Draw tab in version 2.64 of the Office app.

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The feature can be tested now by members of the Office Insider programme via TestFlight, and the update will likely be released on the App Store for all users in the coming weeks.

Scribble was added in iPadOS 14 for any iPad that supports the original or second-generation Apple Pencil, including any iPad Pro, the third-generation iPad Air and newer, the fifth-generation iPad mini and newer, and the sixth-generation iPad and newer.

Microsoft’s unified Office app with Word, PowerPoint, and Excel gained iPad compatibility in February 2021 and is also available for the iPhone.

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