Connect with us

Tech

U.S. strikes at a Huawei prize: chip juggernaut HiSilicon – Reuters

Published

on


SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The latest U.S. government action against China’s Huawei takes direct aim the company’s HiSilicon chip division—a business that in a few short years has become central to China’s ambitions in semiconductor technology but will now lose access to tools that are central to its success.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag and a smartphone with the Huawei and 5G network logo are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration taken January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

That could make it the most damaging U.S. attack yet against a Chinese company that U.S. officials told reporters Wednesday functioned as a “tool of strategic influence” for the Chinese Communist Party. Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for its part denounced the U.S. allegations and called the new measures “arbitrary and pernicious.”

Established in 2004, HiSilicon develops chips mostly for Huawei, and for most of its existence has been an afterthought in a global chip business dominated by U.S., Korean and Japanese companies. Like most electronics firms, Huawei relied on others for the chips that powered its equipment.

But heavy investment in research and development helped drive rapid progress at HiSilicon, and in recent years the 7,000-employee unit has been central to Huawei’s rise as a dominant player in the global smartphone business and the emerging 5G telecom networking business.

HiSilicon’s Kirin smartphone processor is now considered to be on par with those created by Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) —a rare example of an advanced Chinese semiconductor product that competes globally.

HiSilicon is also central to Huawei’s leadership in 5G, stepping into the breach when the United States cut off access to some U.S. chips last year.

In March, Huawei revealed that 8% of the 50,000 5G base stations it sold in 2019 came with no U.S. technology, using HiSilicon chipsets instead.

But the U.S. export control rule, first reported by Reuters last week, aims to block HiSilicon’s access to two crucial tools: chip design software from U.S. firms including Cadence Design Systems Inc (CDNS.O) and Synopsys Inc (SNPS.O), and the manufacturing prowess of “foundries,” led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330.TW), that build chips for many of the world’s top semiconductor firms.

With the new restrictions,HiSilicon “will be in a situation where they’re not able to manufacture chips at all, or if they do, then they’re not leading edge anymore,” says Stewart Randall, who tracks China’s chip industry at Shanghai-based consultancy Intralink.

Without its own processors, Huawei will lose its edge over domestic smartphone rivals, analysts said. International sales had already been gutted by a ban on the use of key Google software.

Industry sources say Huawei has stockpiled chips, and the new U.S. rule will not go into full force for 120 days. U.S. officials also note that licenses could be granted for some technologies. HiSilicon can also keep using design software it has already acquired.

HILSILICON IN TOUGH SPOT

Still, analysts agree HiSilicon is in a tough spot. Nearly all chip factories globally — including China’s leading foundry, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (0981.HK) — buy gear from the same equipment makers, led by U.S. firms Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O), Lam Research Corp (LRCX.O) and KLA Corp (KLAC.O).

The new U.S. rule requires licenses for companies using U.S. machinery to build Huawei-designed chips and delivered to the Chinese firm. To be sure, the new rule will not catch items shipped to a third party, allowing HiSilicon’s fabricators like TSMC the ability to ship chips to HiSilicon’s device manufacturers who can send them directly to a customer.

While there are alternatives to American machines – Japan’s Tokyo Electron Ltd (8035.T), for example, makes gear that competes with Applied Materials – replacing U.S. technology is not as simple as swapping out a machine.

“You almost have to think about it like a heart transplant,” said VLSI Research Chief Executive Dan Hutcheson, noting that chip production lines are finely calibrated systems where everything has to work well together.

FILE PHOTO: A Kunpeng 920 chip designed by Huawei’s Hisilicon subsidiary bearing the internal name of Hi1620 is on display during a launch event at the Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Sijia Jiang/File Photo

Doug Fuller of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said Huawei had a few options. It could slip around the rule by having suppliers ship directly to Huawei customers, though the U.S. officials said they would be vigilant about such workarounds.

Huawei and the Chinese government could re-double efforts to build production capabilities that did not require U.S. tools, by investing in nascent Chinese competitors and buying from Japanese and Korean firms, even if that required quality sacrifices.

Or Huawei could turn away from HiSilicon and revert to buying from overseas suppliers—just not American ones. “There’s talk of Huawei just turning to Samsung processors,” for its smartphone, said Fuller.

Reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Lisa Shumaker

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Rumor: Alleged 2021 5.5-inch iPhone prototype shows notchless screen and USB-C port – 9to5Mac

Published

on


A new mock-up of the 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone has been shared by Macotakara today that suggests a notchless screen and USB-C instead of a Lightning port (or nor port at all) could be in the works. The prototype also shows what could be a different camera setup compared to what we’re expecting on the iPhone 12 later this year.

At the end of last year, we learned that Ming-Chi Kuo expects the highest-end 2021 iPhone to be a fully wireless device, ditching the Lightning port and also skipping the USB-C port. However, today’s alleged 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone prototype shared by Macotakara suggests that the entry-level model could make the switch to USB-C along with a notchless screen.

This 2021 iPhone mock-up was made based on data from Alibaba, so it’s worth taking this rumor with grain of salt.

A 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone likely means it would be the entry model based on what we’re expecting for the 2020 iPhone lineup, with the more affordable iPhone 12 models coming in 5.4- and 6.1-inch sizes and the iPhone 12 Pro landing with 6.1- and 6.7-inch displays. Macotakara does mention that this is just one prototype that Apple is considering so naturally, there’s no guarantee this design and features will make it to market.

Macotakara says the case dimensions of this prototype are the same as the 5.4-inch 2020 iPhone but with a slightly larger screen at 5.5-inches. However, one interesting part of this prototype would be the entry-level 2021 iPhone gaining what could be a 3 or 4 camera setup. One major way Apple has differentiated its iPhone lineup is with camera hardware and features, like the 11 Pro having an additional lens over the iPhone 11.

Apple has been working toward a making iPhone with a “single slab of glass” design for many years. The iPhone X display design is still seen today in the iPhone 11 lineup (expected in the iPhone 12 series too) so removing the notch totally that houses the Face ID components and TrueDepth camera would be a big step forward in the screen to body ratio and Apple evolving the iPhone display’s design.

The iPhone 12 lineup may feature slightly smaller notches but if this prototype does turn out to ring true, the entire 2021 iPhone lineup would likely go notchless if the 5.5-inch entry-level model did.

The Macotakara video below suggests that Apple could launch its first under-screen front-facing camera with the 2021 iPhone lineup to make this potential notchless design happen.

[embedded content]

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

[embedded content]

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Google Faces Privacy Lawsuit Over Tracking Users in Incognito Mode – Threatpost

Published

on


A $5 billion class-action lawsuit filed in a California federal court alleges that Google’s Chrome incognito mode collects browser data without people’s knowledge or consent.

Google faces a $5 billion class-action lawsuit over claims that it has been collecting people’s browsing information without their knowledge even when using the incognito browsing mode that’s meant to keep their online activities private.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, alleges that Google compiles user data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads, according to a report in Reuters.

Google uses this data to learn about private browsing habits of Chrome users, ranging from seemingly innocuous data that can be used for ad-targeting—such as information about hobbies, interests and favorite foods—to the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” that people may search for online, according to the complaint.

Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said, according to the report.

The technology problem at the root of the report is a feature called incognito mode in the Chrome browser, which ironically is one that is supposed to protect people when surfing the internet. Chrome users can turn on incognito mode to protect their browsing history, sessions and cookies from websites that want to use this information for marketing or ad-targeting purposes.

Google Chrome incognito modeHowever, the feature has long had a problem in that even when using their mode, people’s activity has still been detectable by websites “for years” due to a FileSystem API implementation, Google Chrome developer Paul Irish tweeted last year.

Though Google said it implemented the FileSystem API in a different way in Chrome 76, released last year, the problem persists even in the latest version of Chrome 83, which was released last month, according to a report filed Thursday in ZDNet.

It is still possible to detect incognito mode in Chrome–as well as other Chromium-based browsers, such as Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave, which share the core of Chrome’s codebase, according to the report, which said Google still has not set a timeframe to fix the issue.

Developers even have taken the Chrome codebase scripts to expand the ability of websites to block incognito mode users from browsing, expanding it to other browsers that don’t use the same code base, including Firefox and Safari, the report said.

Ironically, the problem that’s put Google in legal hot water is nearly the same as the one the company accused browser rival Apple of having earlier this year in its Safari browser.

In January, Google researchers said they identified a number of security flaws in Safari’s private-browsing feature—called Intelligent Tracking Protection–that allow people’s browsing behavior to be tracked by third parties. Apple responded by saying it had already fixed the flaws in an update to Webkit technology in Safari.

Search-engine rival Duck Duck Go used news of the class-action suit as an opportunity to laud its own technology, which it offers as an alternative to Google search as a way to allow people to search and use the web privately.

“Incognito mode isn’t private. It never was.” the company said on Twitter. “DuckDuckGo is private. Will always be.”

Longtime Google critic, author, psychologist and researcher for the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology Dr. Robert Epstein also took to Twitter to reiterate his longstanding public opinion over Google’s privacy violations.

#Google #Surveillance & Advertising just got sued for $5 BILLION for lying about its bogus ‘incognito’ mode on its Chrome browser,” he tweeted. “As I’ve always said, you’re STILL being tracked when you’re in that mode.”

The current case against the technology giant is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664. The New York-based law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner is representing the plaintiffs in the class-action suit, Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Apple must face U.S. shareholder lawsuit over CEO's iPhone, China comments – CANOE

Published

on


A federal judge said Apple Inc must face part of a lawsuit claiming it fraudulently concealed falling demand for iPhones, especially in China, leading to tens of billions of dollars in shareholder losses.

While dismissing most claims, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled late Tuesday that shareholders can sue over Chief Executive Tim Cook’s comments touting strong iPhone demand on a Nov. 1, 2018 analyst call, only a few days before Apple told its largest manufacturers to curb production.

“Absent some natural disaster or other intervening reason, it is simply implausible that Cook would not have known that iPhone demand in China was falling mere days before cutting production lines,” Rogers wrote.

The Oakland, California-based judge also said a decision by Apple to stop reporting iPhone unit sales “plausibly suggests that defendants expected unit sales to decline.”

Apple did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.

The complaint, led by the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island, came after Cook on Jan. 2, 2019 unexpectedly reduced Apple’s quarterly revenue forecast by up to $9 billion, in part because of U.S.-China trade tensions.

It was the first time since the iPhone’s 2007 launch that the Cupertino, California-based company had cut its revenue forecast. Apple stock fell 10% the next day, erasing $74 billion of market value.

Cook had said on the analyst call that the iPhone XS and XS Max had a “really great start,” and that while some emerging markets faced downward sales pressures “I would not put China in that category.”

By mid-November 2018, Apple had told the manufacturers Foxconn and Pagatron to halt plans for new iPhone production lines, and a key supplier had been told to materially reduce shipments, the complaint said.

The case is In re Apple Inc Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 19-02033.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending