It’s not new for Apple to sit out newer technologies for a few generations to wait and watch the rest of the market experiment and get stuff wrong, then come in at a later date with a solution to those problems.
Next up, it’ll probably be the in-screen fingerprint scanner. The first phone to feature the technology was the Vivo X20 Plus UD that was unveiled at the start of 2018, and by the end of 2021 I think we’ll see Apple include the tech in the iPhone 13.
That almost four year stretch has seen a variety of implementations of in-screen fingerprint scanner tech, and now the iPhone’s greatest rival – that’s the Samsung Galaxy S21 series – proves the technology is ready for the mainstream.
A long time coming
The Samsung Galaxy S21 series features both strengths and weaknesses, but it undeniably provides the best in-screen fingerprint sensor we’ve seen on a Samsung phone to date.
In my opinion, this is the best in-screen fingerprint scanner I’ve used on any smartphone. A whole host of manufacturers including OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi, and many more have fiddled with the technology, and some were often including better implemented tech than Samsung until now.
Samsung has made big strides in 2021 that make this a far better option. Well, Qualcomm technically had a big hand in the newer technology, but Samsung’s new phones are the first time we’ve seen it available on a smartphone.
I’ve never come across an in-screen fingerprint scanner that meant I would stop using that phone, but until now the technology has always been noticeably weaker than physical fingerprint scanners.
We grew accustomed to capactive sensors on the bottom half of our smartphones over the last decade, and switching to in-screen technology hasn’t been without bumps in the road.
So why do I think it’s the right time for Apple to jump in and include the first Touch ID fingerprint scanner that you’ll find embedded under the display?
Samsung’s latest series of phones feature a 70% larger sensor than the one we saw in 2020’s Galaxy S20, and that’s notably easier to use. It means you don’t have to be as specific with your finger, as a lot more of the bottom half of the phone’s display has a scanner underneath it.
It’s a relatively minor adjustment, but it makes the technology far more usable than we’ve experienced in the past. It’s also notably faster too, which means you won’t be waiting around for the phone to unlock like we’ve had to with some previous iterations.
A bad year for Face ID
I’m sure Apple has been considering under display fingerprint scanners for a while, but the Covid-19 pandemic may have also exacerbated the need to return to a fingerprint sensor.
The last 12 months have seen Face ID – Apple’s success story of a switch from fingerprint scanners to facial recognition software built into the selfie camera – begin to struggle as we strap on face masks and hide our identities from our phones in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19.
A new report this week has suggested Apple is eyeing Touch ID to go under the screen for the first time in whatever it calls its next smartphone series, and while I would have preferred Apple to include this technology in its 2020 iPhone 12 series, the Galaxy S21 proves the technology is good enough for the masses now.
I hope by the time the next iPhone debuts – we’re expecting September 2021, but it may come later in the year – we won’t need to be wearing face masks as often, but introducing a new technology that allows us to use a fingerprint to unlock our phone will give us another option to quickly authenticate our identities alongside Face ID.
It may be we only see one Apple handset feature the new technology when it debuts later this year – often Apple will keep its most innovative tech for one model – but I think Samsung’s success is a clear sign of where the iPhone is headed.
Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries
Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.
Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver
EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.
Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.
Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.
South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.
Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.
($1 = 1,117.7000 won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum
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)