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MediaTek working on a Cheaper FaceID Alternative for it’s Chipsets!

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Chipset manufacturer MediaTek has joined hands with Hima, a popular display drivers manufacturer and Megvi, Developer of Face++ to make a cheaper 3D facial recognition scanner. In a bid to make 3D Face Recognition technology widely available, the company is collaboratively working on an Industry’s First Active Stereo Camera Sensing Reference Design. Many manufacturers are already asking for reference design to implement this tech into their smartphones.

These companies have shared their latest world class technology with each other to make this affordable 3D Face Recognition a reality. It will not only help in unlocking the smartphone but also can be used for payment features even in pitch black light conditions. Further, Artificial Intelligence can be implemented in this technology using ASC 3D face recognition helping in enhancing photos and boosting security measures.

The new technology is built using Megvii’s Face++ AI based computer vision algorithm with Himax’s cutting edge projector, sensor and laser driver. MediaTek has shared its stereo matching depth engine. It includes some high end technologies like Himax’s DOE, WLO Technology, high efficient laser driver IC etc. Elaborating more on the new ASC 3D (Active Stereo Camera), Jordan Wu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Himax Technologies said,

We are pleased to partner with MediaTek and Megvi. This strong alliance ensures that 3D sensing is affordable for Android mass market and can be easily adopted by smartphone makers to create exciting user experience. I believe ASC will facilitate a broader adoption of 3D sensing on Android smartphone during 2019

The new MediaTek’s ASC Face Recognition is expected to debut next year and bring 3D Face recognition to mid-range segment. Some of its features are:

  • Like the iPhone X’s 3D Face recognition feature, it also projects 7000-1000 invisible dot on the face to make a face layout which helps in precision.
  • ASC (3D) uses 940nm band that will increase its overall efficiency in both outdoor and indoor environments.
  • It comes with broken glass detection which means it will shut down if broken glass is found on the projector.
  • ASC (3D) follows IEC 60825 Class 1 standard, which means it is purely safe for the eye.
  • It is cheaper than traditional lightning more and also power efficient.

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Huawei will be Allowed to do Trade with US Companies!

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The US ban on Huawei has taken a new turn. President Trump today announced in a news conference that U.S. companies will be allowed to work with the Chinese manufacturer again. This is a surprising turnaround that came just weeks after the Trump administration banned Huawei calling it a major threat to U.S national security.

Trump in the G20 Osaka said “U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei” without specifying much. He continued “We’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it”. Its not clear to what extent Huawei can do business with the U.S. companies, but it will likely to be able to acquire basic components like Qualcomm chipsets and Google’s Android OS.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the current US president said

I said that’s O.K., that we will keep selling that product, these are American companies that make these products. That’s very complex, by the way. I’ve agreed to allow them to continue to sell that product so that American companies will continue.

He further shared his view on the company

Huawei is very much in play in terms of our country and in terms of intelligence and the intelligence community — we know a lot about Huawei — but I don’t want to mention that right now. I just think it’s inappropriate. We’re not making it other than what I told you… We’re going to save that for later.

Huawei has been a major player in buying equipments from US companies. Last year, the company spent around $11 billion on chipsets from Intel, Qualcomm and Micron alone. A report from Reuters said Intel and Xilinx discussed with the U.S commerce Department to ease restrictions on Huawei. Earlier this week WSJ reported that China would make the lifting of the Huawei sanctions an essential condition for any trade agreement with United States.

As for now, Huawei is still listed on the so called “Entity List” of companies that are banned from dealing with American entities by the U.S. Department of the Commerce. A formal decision is yet to be made while discussions between U.S and China are ongoing. Trump did mention that Huawei is still a security risk in the eyes of the U.S. government.

The US and the Chinese government seemed to have found a common ground in the trade war. The latest round of tariffs that were due to go into effect in the next few days have been suspend while Chinese government agreed to purchase more agricultural products from the country. Trump on the matter said

We had a very good meeting with President Xi of China, excellent, I would say excellent, as good as it was going to be. We discussed a lot of things and we’re right back on track and we’ll see what happens.

After the announcement today, Huawei may be back in business in a few days. The company reportedly stockpiled critical components before the ban in mid-May that would allow operating for up to three months. However, the losses occurred due to the ban will be irreversible. The company said its revenue will be $30 billion below estimates. Huawei was projected to take the first place in the smartphone market next year beating Samsung, but now it may take much longer.

As for the customers and fans, the news should be a relief. This means Huawei and Google may work together in the future to bring updates for its smartphones. We may also see the next Android Q in several upcoming Huawei devices.

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Oppo unveils Under-Screen Camera & MeshTalk technology at MWC 2019 Shanghai

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Earlier this month, Xiaomi and Honor revealed details of a camera technology that is embedded under the display. Now another Chinese manufacturer OPPO today unveiled its Under-Screen-Camera (USC) technology that aims to offer a “real full-screen experience” without any notch or punch-hole. A prototype with this technology was demonstrated at the MWC 2019 event.

OPPO Product Manager Qiao Jiadong said

From the water-drop screen to pivot structure, to USC technology announced today, OPPO has been exploring the best balance between ‘thin and light’ and ‘full screen’. OPPO hopes to provide users with the ultimate ‘true full screen’ through the USC technology.

With the Under-Screen-Camera (USC) technology, future OPPO phone users will get an immersive screen viewing experience along with other abilities like Face unlock, take photos and video calling. The company claims that the technology works with a customised camera module that sits under an enhanced translucent panel to capture images from the display panel. The customised camera module is claimed to capture more light using a zoning control feature. With the highly transparent material, more light is transmitted through the screen.

Along with the hardware, the camera further uses algorithms such as haze removal, HDR and white balance to fix the image issues occurring on the under-display sensor. OPPO touts that this technology will give users a “complete photography experience”. There are also plans to support more features such as smart beauty mode and photo filters in the future.

OPPO also announced its MeshTalk technology that allows voice calling and messaging even without any Wi-Fi or cellular network within three kilometres. The proprietary decentralised communications technology can enable transmission of texts, voice messages, real-time voice calls between OPPO devices. The technology can also make an Local Area Network (LAN) using multiple devices and enable group chats as well as expand communication range via a signal relay. The company made modifications in the communication chipset to make way for this technology. This will surely come handy in extreme environments and emergency situations.

OPPO didn’t mention anything about the arrival of smartphones with the USC and MeshTalk technology. The company is yet to open this technology for developers to build new applications and expand the features over time.

 

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Huawei moves to trademark Hongmeng US. Already in testing by Tencent, Xiaomi, Oppo & Tencent!

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The recent US move to blacklist Huawei Technologies Co. could backfire on US firms. Many manufacturers like Google, Qualcomm, and even Facebook has cut ties with the Chinese manufacturer.  After the ban, the company claimed that its own OS has been in the works for years. Huawei is reportedly moving to trademark the name of the operating system “HongMeng” in Peru. Not only that, it is already being tested by major Chinese companies like Tencent, Xiaomi and OPPO.

According to a report from the Chinese newspaper Global Times, Huawei’s upcoming HongMeng OS is being tested by major Chinese companies. The newspaper which cites a source “close to a major Chinese carrier” said that major Chinese manufacturers “are actively working with Huawei to push forward the release of HongMeng OS, which also considered a major blow to the US-led crackdown”.

The US ban targeting a Chinese manufacturer may have created an opportunity for the manufacturers in the east to come together and make a common OS platform. This could largely affect the revenues of Android, which is owned by Google. Earlier this week, Huawei reportedly began inviting Google Play Store developers to publish their own apps on its own AppGalley app store. Now a trademark application for HongMeng was filed with Peru’s National Institute for the Defence of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) on May 27, as reported by Reuters.

As for HongMeng OS, the previous report claims that the new operating system is 60% faster than Android, which falls in the line with the previous claim by Huawei’s head of the smartphone’s business Richard Yu. There is no official report about HongMeng OS being tested by other manufacturers, and could simply be a PR battle between the US and China. But there is no doubt Huawei is moving ahead with its own smartphone OS, which doesn’t look good for Google from a business standpoint.
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