Huawei is focusing on its budding cloud business, which still has access to US chips despite the sanctions against the company, to secure its survival.
The Chinese group’s cloud computing business, which sells computing power and storage to companies, including giving them access to AI, is far behind Alibaba and Tencent, the market leaders in China. But it is growing rapidly and in January Huawei put the unit on an equal footing with its smartphones and telecoms equipment businesses.
A person at a Chinese supplier to Huawei said the cloud business was key to Huawei stabilising in its domestic market because Beijing would increasingly support the company through public cloud contracts.
Several people involved in Huawei’s cloud business said the unit was stepping up its offerings. “We will continue to provide customers with a package of [cloud] services and products,” said a person at Huawei familiar with the strategy. “The quality of the chips in it may not be as good as before, but for the other products that are not impacted, we will offer something with a little better quality, and the customers can accept it.”
The change in focus was needed because the outlook for Huawei’s smartphone and other consumer products unit was “hopeless” in the face of a US ban that will choke off its access to mobile chips, said a person familiar with the business. The consumer unit was responsible for half of Huawei’s $122bn revenue last year.
Meanwhile industry executives and analysts said that suppliers of semiconductors needed in cloud computing were still allowed to ship to Huawei, and other components were available on the open market.
“Intel has been the supplier of the main [central processing unit] for Huawei servers as it secured a licence last year that allows it to continue to sell to Huawei,” said a semiconductor industry executive who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
After the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a list of companies barred from doing business with US companies last year, hundreds of enterprises applied for temporary licences exempting them. Despite rules that the US government imposed in May and on August 17 prohibiting the sale of any chip designed or manufactured using US technology or equipment in any transaction involving Huawei, those licences remain in force.
“The rule has no effect on licences issued prior to Aug 17,” a Department of Commerce official told the Financial Times. “The scope of the rule did not change for those previously issued licences.”
Last year, most companies applying for licences were focused on chip design and software because the industry did not expect Washington to crack down on the entire supply chain, including manufacturing.
Industry experts said that for those Huawei suppliers, the exemption had become meaningless because the latest rule bars the companies that manufacture the chips from shipping to Huawei. But some chipmakers with fabrication plants of their own got licensed. The industry executive and two analysts said Intel was among them.
The Department of Commerce does not publicise which companies receive licences. Intel confirmed it has licences to ship to Huawei.
If Intel CPUs remain available, Huawei could use them to replace the Kunpeng and Ascend, its cloud CPUs developed in-house based on designs from British chip company ARM which can no longer be manufactured because of the recent bans.
Other electronic parts including integrated circuits for power management, memory chips and passive components could be obtained through traders, analysts said. “Channels such as WPG have those on offer,” said YC Yao, a chip analyst at Trendforce, the industry research firm, referring to Asia’s largest distributor of semiconductor components. “I do not think that such transactions could be monitored to the extent that you could prevent sales to a particular end-customer such as Huawei.”
Additional reporting by Richard Waters in San Francisco
Minor Google Pay app redesign rolling out now – MobileSyrup
Google has launched a minor redesign of the Google Pay app that’s a step backwards compared to other recently updated Google apps.
The new design stashes all the sections in a side menu, which is odd since apps like Google Photos recently moved towards displaying everything in a bottom bar to get rid of the side menu. The old version of Google Pay, which you can look at here, used the bottom bar method effectively, so it’s unclear why Google choose to change it.
For the most part, the new design is pretty non-offensive. It combines your passes and loyalty cards like PC Optimum or insurance cards with your selected payment method on the main screen. While this might make this feature a little more convenient, it’s still not a good update.
With the new Android 11 power menu that surfaces your contactless payment card options, you already have quick access to your credit and debit cards. Not to mention, it would make more sense for this menu to show your loyalty cards as well so they could easily get scanned at checkout. It’s just weird that Google decided to update the app with all these functions when it’s put so much work into Android 11 to make it, so users don’t need to open the actual Google Pay app often.
This new update puts the Google Pay app more or less on par with Apple’s Wallet app, but without the quick access shortcut that the Cupertino tech giant has in the iOS Control Center. That said, you could argue that the ‘View All’ option buried within a three-dot menu in the new power button menu is this shortcut on Android. However, the fact that it’s hidden in a menu makes it a little more of a hassle than a floating action button styled button.
In the end, I don’t have anything against the new main screen layout, but I don’t understand why Google didn’t leave the bottom bar with some of the more complex options.
Here's what to check out on the new Apple Watch 6 | Venture – Daily Hive
Apple officially unveiled its latest products and software this week, and it included the new Apple Watch 6.
While those looking for the new iPhone announcement may have to wait a little longer, for now, the watch offers new features and designs for Apple fans.
But Apple didn’t just introduce one watch, but two. Besides the Apple Watch Series 6, described as the most advanced watch we’ve ever built and adds breakthrough wellness technology,” the new Apple Watch SE was also announced.
It is the tech company’s first-time user-friendly option, available at a lower cost than the Series 6.
With the big release day upon us, here’s what to check out on the Apple Watch Series 6.
First things first, probably the most exciting portion of Tuesday’s unveiling was the Blood Oxygen app on the watch. While wearing the Apple Watch, the user simply has to hold their wrist flat and still, with the display facing up. Within 15 seconds, your oxygen saturation is measured, and this — according to Apple — indicates how well your lugs and circulatory system are delivering oxygenated blood to your body. But note, the app does say “Blood Oxygen measurements are not intended for medical use.”
And in case you’re wondering, most people have a 95-100% blood oxygen level.
The EGC app is only available on the Apple Watch Series 6, and generates an electrocardiogram, or ECG, right on your wrist. What the app does is it records the timing and strength of the electric signals that make heart beats, and it does it in 30 seconds. You can see the process as it takes place, then the app will indicate of your heart is beating in a normal pattern.
Like the Blood Oxygen app, note that Apple says the watch “cannot check for signs of a heart attack.”
Yes, this is a thing, because it’s the COVID-19 era.
The new Apple Watch as a built-in sensor that can tell when you’ve started washing your hands. If the notifications and timer are activated, it will start a 20-second timer, which is health officials’ recommended time to spend on washing your hands.
You can also set a reminder to wash your hands when you get home.
Also very applicable to the COVID-19 era, and beyond, is the new Sleep function on watchOS 7. Built in the watch, this allows you to track your sleep, set your goals, and alarms, all on your wrist. The alarm function buzzes lightly before gently waking you up, and as you sleep, the watch display is dimmed.
New colours and bands
For those looking to personalize their watches, Apple has released new colours including Blue and (PRODUCT)RED Aluminum, as well as Graphite and Gold
Stainless Steel. Besides the watch itself, there is a new band in town… literally.
The “Solo Loop” bands were introduced this week, and you need to check this out if you are using the claspy ones. The “Solo Loop” is a smooth, super comfortable watch that stretches to fit the wrist, and it comes in nine different sizes.
Always-On Retina display
Compared to the Series 5 watch, the new Always-on Retina display is 2.5 times brighter when your wrist is down, which also helps to see while outside on a sunny day, for example.
According to Apple, the new S6 System-in-Package (SiP) is their most powerful one yet, and for those who have had other watches it shows. The new Series 6 is up to 20% faster than the Series 5.
As for what else is coming this year, Apple has announced Fitness+, which will be available late 2020. They say it’s an experience built around the Apple Watch, and will offer workouts to help users stay active.
As well, Family Setup will be available, which will allow an adult to pair their watch with their child’s.
Both are available as of September 18.
Are high churn rates depressing earnings for app developers? – TechCrunch
Improve your retention rates, but don’t do it for the 85/15 split
Ever since Apple opened up subscription monetization to more apps in 2016 — and enticed developers with an 85/15 split on revenue from customers that remain subscribed for more than a year — subscription monetization and retention has felt like the Holy Grail for app developers. So much so that Google quickly followed suit in what appeared to be an example of healthy competition for developers in the mobile OS duopoly.
But how does that split actually work out for most apps? Turns out, the 85/15 split — which Apple is keen to mention anytime developers complain about the App Store rev share — doesn’t have a meaningful impact for most developers. Because churn.
No matter how great an app is, subscribers are going to churn. Sometimes it’s because of a credit card expiring or some other billing issue. And sometimes it’s more of a pause, and the user comes back after a few months. But the majority of churn comes from subscribers who, for whatever reason, decide that the app just isn’t worth paying for anymore. If a subscriber churns before the one-year mark, the developer never sees that 85% split. And even if the user resubscribes, Apple and Google reset the clock if a subscription has lapsed for more than 60 days. Rather convenient… for Apple and Google.
Top mobile apps like Netflix and Spotify report churn rates in the low single digits, but they are the outliers. According to our data, the median churn rate for subscription apps is around 13% for monthly subscriptions and around 50% for annual. Monthly subscription churn is generally a bit higher in the first few months, then it tapers off. But an average churn of 13% leaves just 20% of subscribers crossing that magical 85/15 threshold.
In practice, what this means is that, for all the hype around the 85/15 split, very few developers are going to see a meaningful increase in revenue:
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