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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 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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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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Asus cannot use Zenfone or Zen brand names in India!

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ASUS announced the refreshed Zenfone Max series last year that aims to provide premium features along with a bigger battery while keeping the price at bay. Other ASUS Zenfone branded smartphones like the Zenfone Max Pro M2, Zenfone Max M2 and the older Zenfone Max Pro M1 feared really well in the Indian market. However, the future seems to be bleak for the series with a ruling against ASUS prohibiting them from selling smartphones or accessories under the Zenfone branding in India.

Telecare Network India Pvt Limited filed a plaintiff against ASUS claiming the Zen and Zen Mobiles are their own. The company sells both feature phones and entry-level phones and previously sold tablets also. It claims that the uses of a similar branding by a competitor is damaging and can create confusion among customers. Delhi High court found the argument reasonable and banned ASUS from selling any smartphone, tablet or accessory under the Zenfone branding starting eight weeks after May 28 i.e from July 23.

The High Court took the fact that Zen has been selling mobile phones since 2008 and even has a partnership with Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in 2010 as the company’s brand ambassador. ASUS had no counter argument for this fact as it started selling smartphones under the Zenfone branding from 2014.

ASUS in its defence said that Zen is a generic term in Buddhist philosophy but the court overruled this fact by saying even though Zen is a common term, it cannot be easily associated with smartphone technology and therefore cannot be treated as generic in this case. And thus, Telecare Network is “entitiled” to protect the trademark, the judgement says.

The next hearing for this case is on July 10. If the lawyers representing ASUS fails to provide compelling evidence that its decision to choose a conflicting name is not an act of trademark infringement and passing off, the company may have no option other than to comply with the court ruling and stop selling the devices in India. ASUS also has its ZenBook line of laptop which will likely to be affected by the decision.

For now, ASUS can bypass the this prohibition by selling devices under a different brand name or proceed with the appealing in the Supreme Court of India which may take very long before a resolution is passed.

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