Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app
Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.
iPod continues terminal decline
In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.
Continues expansion efforts outside of Shanghai and Beijing
A new Apple Store will open in Chongqing, China on July 26 at 10AM local time, according to the company's website. The outlet is situated in the Paradise Walk Mall; it should be a prominent landmark in the area, rising at least three stories tall with a massive glass facade similar to its twin in Shanghai. At present, that facade is covered with a "coming soon" logo featuring colored dots sprayed out from the building's Apple logo.
Thin Gionee smartphone sacrifices specification for compact body
China could soon see the release of what may be the world's thinnest smartphone. A listing with Chinese regulator TENAA confirms an Android device from Gionee with the model number GN9005 is on the way, with its thickness of just 5mm (0.2 inches) being half a millimeter thinner than the company's own Elife S5.5, and two thirds of the thickness of the iPhone 5s.
Dongguan Shinyang Electronics investigation causes company to temporarily halt business
Samsung announced today that it has suspended business with Dongguan Shinyang Electronics after an investigation into child labor practices. Samsung launched an investigation after a July 10 accusation by watchdog group China Labor Watch that it found evidence of child labor at the factory, which supplies Samsung.
Apple defines what location tracking does, how it works
Apple has responded to Chinese government media allegations of the iPhone and iPad being a national security threat. A Chinese-language statement titled "Your Location Privacy" has been posted by the Cupertino manufacturer, with the company guaranteeing that it won't track users, or share information location with outsiders. Additionally, it claims that the "frequent locations" feature touted for iOS8 will just "quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work," and not leak any personal data.
Case could be worth billions of dollars
Speaker and headphone maker Beats -- currently undergoing an acquisition by Apple -- has filed a lawsuit against a collection of Chinese counterfeiters, asking for billions of dollars in damages. "This action has been filed by Beats to combat online counterfeiters who trade upon Beats' reputation and goodwill by selling and/or offering for sale unlicensed and counterfeit products featuring Beats' trademarks," the complaint reads. "The Defendants create [fake Internet storefronts] by the hundreds or even thousands and design them to appear to be selling genuine Beats products, while actually selling low-quality Counterfeit Beats Products to unknowing consumers."
Claims data could be used to glean state secrets
State-run China Central Television has called iOS 7's Frequent Locations function a "national security concern" in a noon broadcast, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report quoted researchers as saying that people with access to the underlying data could get a glimpse of the broader Chinese situation, or "even state secrets." Electronic security has become a sensitive topic for the Chinese government in the wake of leaks from Edward Snowden, revealing that the NSA is spying on Chinese leaders, and that American businesses have willingly or unwillingly provided the NSA with access to demanded data.
Shinyang Electronics audit finds 15 violations of child labor laws
Samsung has come under fire for use of underage employees at one of its Chinese supplier factories. Watchdog group China Labor Watch alleges that it has found children and underage students at Shinyang Electronics in Dongguan, China -- contrary to a June 30 report by the company which found no violations by the Korean hardware giant.
May minimize job losses
Foxconn's upcoming robot deployment on Apple-based production lines will only be in a supportive role, leaving human jobs mostly intact, claims Taiwan's United Daily News. Sources say that the robots will help in tasks like locking down screws and polishing parts, leaving the most essential tasks -- namely assembly and quality control -- to people. The sources add that the robots will first be used at Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory, where flagship iPhones are built.
Appeal already in works
Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court has upheld a 2006 Zhizhen patent challenged by Apple, says China's official Xinhua news agency. Zhizhen filed suit against Apple in 2012, accusing it of violating a patent used for its "Little I Robot" voice-controlled assistant with Siri, the voice command system used in iOS. Apple though sued Zihizhen and China's Patent Review Committee late last year, with the hope that the court would render Zhizhen's patent invalid.
Oculus Rift intended for developers, not for resale at a profit
The Oculus Rift has managed to achieve over 100,000 developer kit sales, but not without some issues. The Facebook-owned company, Oculus VR, has been forced to suspend sales of the virtual reality headset to Chinese customers, with many orders to the country canceled under the suspicion that Oculus Rift headsets are being resold at a profit, instead of being used by developers as the company intended.
Chinese manufacturer continues market growth with 26.1 million phones sold
Smartphone and tablet manufacturer Xiaomi announced that it hit a major sales milestone this year. The China-based company announced today that it sold 26.1 million phones in the first half of 2014. A triple-digit increase over the same point as last year, Xiaomi is looking for greater growth by the end of the year as it hopes to gain an even greater market share.
Includes three previously unknown locations
Job listings on Apple's Chinese website are now calling for managers for six new Apple Stores, Bloomberg notes. In particular the company is building outlets in Tianjin, Wuxi, Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Shenyang, and Hangzhou. The latter three were rumored last week.
Pegatron also boosting workforce
Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is preparing to hire some 100,000 people in mainland China to help manufacture new iPhones, says Taiwan's Economic Daily News. The effort is described as the company's largest-ever Chinese hiring spree. Another major Apple supplier, Pegatron, is meanwhile said to be boosting labor at a mainland factory by 30 percent for the sake of iPhone production. Foxconn is expected to handle 70 percent of orders, while Pegatron will deal with the remainder.
Regulators reviewing Nokia deal find 310 patents Microsoft leverage against Android
After the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) approved Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's device and services business, Microsoft was found to have 200 patent families necessary to build Android phones. In the process of posting news on the merger approval, however, the MOFCOM posted a list of 310 Microsoft patents that Android could be infringing upon.
Includes separate iMovie, iBooks workshops
Apple has opened registration for the 2014 edition of its annual Apple Camps. The program is aimed at teaching creative projects to kids aged 8 to 12 while simultaneously promoting Apple products. This year, two sets of three-day workshops are available: one is dedicated to creating a short film using iMovie and the iPad version of GarageBand, while the other involves producing an interactive book using iBooks Author and illustrations done on an iPad.
Four new Chinese stores in next few months
Angela Ahrendts' plans for Apple Retail include restructuring how stores are currently grouped, sources say. At the moment stores are linked by their geography, such that all the locations in Texas, for instance, are considered within the same region. In some cases that grouping is smaller, one example being the shops in California's Bay Area.
Chongqing store to borrow iconic look from Shanghai store, be located below ground
As part of Apple's effort to dramatically increase its retail presence in China over the next two years, a new store intended for the mega-municipality of Chongqing may copy an iconic design from its sister store in Shanghai: a large glass cylinder that serves as a landmark and entrance while the actual store is located below ground. A rendering of the proposed store shows plans for a glass cylinder kiosk entryway, though the store will also have a second entrance nearby.
Tech companies declared 'pawns' of US government surveillance program
Chinese state media is calling for the country's government to penalize US technology companies for their alleged roles in the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance row. The People's Daily and China Daily accuse companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple of helping the US government to monitor and threaten the security of users in China, asking for Beijing to "punish severely the pawns."
Crackdown on iPhone accessory leaks said to involve 200 security officers
Apple is attempting to prevent leaks for the iPhone 6 from slipping out, by allegedly getting help from Chinese authorities. The company is said to be concerned enough about leaks for the smartphone that it is going after accessory manufacturers who are producing items specifically for the iPhone 6, just in case any important details are accidentally made public before Apple's unveiling.
Denying visas to possible attendees considered over Chinese hacking indictment
Members of the US government are considering issuing visa restrictions on Chinese nationals seeking to attend DefCon and Black Hat. The effort would be aimed at computer hackers coming to the Las Vegas conferences from China in order to keep them from attending. These efforts would be "part of a broader effort to curb Chinese cyber espionage," an official told Reuters.
Partnership will see console manufactured in free trade zone, companies formed
Following the lift of the ban on foreign console sales in China in January, Sony has confirmed that the Playstation 4 will be coming to the country. A deal with Shanghai-based Oriental Pearl Culture Department (OPCD) has been announced that will see manufacture of the console in the country, inside of Shanghai's free trade zone.
High-end cellular data market small but growing rapidly, says CEO
The head of the world's largest cellular provider, China Mobile's CEO Li Yue, has revealed that about half of the 2.8 million TD-LTE "4G" subscribers on his network are iPhone users. While dwarfed by the total number of customers China Mobile has -- some 780 million -- the figure suggest that the iPhone is the preferred brand as Chinese customers transition from "feature" phones to LTE-capable smartphones.
End of Windows XP support pushes China to avoid Windows 8
China has banned the use of Windows 8 on new computers used by the government, citing security issues. The limited lifetime of support for Microsoft operating systems, as evidenced recently with Windows XP, is said to have forced the government to decree all desktops, notebooks, and tablet PCs to run any other operating system than Windows 8.
Chinese government angered, promises retaliation if case goes forward
US Attorney General Eric Holder announced on late on Monday that the federal government was formally charging five military officials in the Chinese government's People's Army with cyber-spying and espionage, claiming that the perpetrators hacked into US tech companies in search of nuclear and solar techonology, business and trade secrets and other internal communications for competitive advantage.
Changes should impact physical, online worlds
Apple's new retail head, Angela Ahrendts, intends to make major changes to the company's operations, sources claim. One example is in China, where plans involve growing from 10 stores to 30 by 2016. That pace is unusually rapid, since the company typically adds no more than 30 or so locations worldwide in a year.
Anti-Chinese sentiment impacts Taiwanese firm
Prominent Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn has been forced to shut down its production in Vietnam for three days due to anti-Chinese protests in the country, says the Financial Times. China recently began drilling for oil near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, a region claimed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan alike. Confrontations between Chinese and Vietnamese boats has led to hostility between the two countries' governments, and anti-Chinese violence by some in the Vietnamese public. 21 people have been killed so far, and protesters have ransacked factories near Ho Chi Minh City thought to be linked to China, regardless of whether they actually are.
Tech company expands device offerings with seven inch tablet following phablet release
A new tablet referred to as the "MiPad" is soon to be released from Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi. The launch of a tablet follows on from Xiaomi's release of the Redmi Note, a 5.5-inch phablet that allegedly sold 1,000,000 units in 34 minutes upon its release in March.
Uber launches in Beijing, China, operates in 100 markets
Transportation service Uber has launched its service in its 100th market, with Beijing, China being the milestone location. The new addition to Uber's roster comes just under four years after the service first started in San Francisco, with the company also launching a commemorative page showing all locations it currently operates and highlighting Uber stories posted on Twitter.
Retail revenues virtually flat
As a part of announcing its second-quarter results, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown (PDF), exposing further facts. They reveal, for instance, that Apple's iPad revenues dropped 16.4 percent year-over-year, shifting from roughly $8.7 billion to $7.6 billion. The company has typically seen continuous growth for the iPad, but units fell from just under 19.5 million to 16.3 million. Cook later clarified that inventory changes made the drop seem much more dramatic than it actually was in terms of end-user sales.
Approval from Chinese Ministry of Commerce brings purchase closer to completion
The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services arm by Microsoft has been given the green light by Chinese authorities, both companies have revealed. The approval by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) brings the $7.2 billion purchase one step closer to completion, and brings the total number of markets approving the deal to 16.
Vendors looking forward to big-screen iPhones
Carriers and other vendors in China are seeing relatively weak demand for the iPhone 5s, suggests Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. White is currently touring the country and speaking with various parties. Instead demand is said to be rising for various local smartphone brands, like Xiaomi. Vendors are, however, said to be expressing "great enthusiasm around the potential for Apple to introduce a larger iPhone form factor in China this year with the iPhone 6."
First time iPad buyers will have access to China's limited LTE network
Apple has revealed that China Mobile and its other Chinese telecom partners -- along with its own stores and resellers -- are carrying a special model of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display that is specific to the Chinese market, and compatible with the country's proprietary TD-SCDMA wireless standard, meaning new iPad buyers can now use the tablets on China's limited TD-LTE cellular network, which is mostly limited to the biggest cities. The Chinese iPads are separate models from the ones sold outside China.
Lawsuit sought financial renumeration, not change in business strategy
District Judge Jesse Furman of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled in Chinese search engine giant Baidu's favor, shutting down an Internet censorship lawsuit. Furman called the blocking of pro-democracy websites "editorial control" by Baidu, and noted that nothing was preventing US users from using different search engines, such as Google or Bing.
Expansion may be hampered by limited 4G network
China Mobile added some 1 million new iPhone customers during the month of February, according to the company's annual earnings statement. Despite being the world's largest wireless carrier, it only formally launched iPhone sales in mid-January, well after rivals China Unicom and China Telecom. "We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities," comments China Mobile chairman Xi Gouhua.
Android-based Nokia smartphone sees high sales before release
Nokia's first attempt at an Android-based smartphone may be a success in one country before it's even been released, according to the company's social media accounts. The Nokia X, first shown at Mobile World Congress last month, has apparently received more than 1 million pre-orders in China alone, after being made available to customers just four days ago.
Segment constitutes more than a quarter of entire smartphone base
A study in China by app and mobile advertising analytics firm Umeng shows that Apple's consistent smartphone strategy of leaving the low end of markets to others (what CEO Tim Cook calls "junk devices") and targeting affluent users as influencers has again resulted in high profitability and potentially surprising share in the face of a flood of competitors. Despite having only recently emerged to a full national presence on all the top carriers in China, Apple is said to already account for 80 percent of the $500-or-more segment of the Chinese smartphone market.
HTC allegedly among poaching targets
Apple has been hiring "hundreds" of new engineers and supply chain managers in China and Taiwan, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. In particular the company is said to be building up teams in Shanghai and Taipei to accelerate product development and ship a wider range of devices. The supply managers may be at least partly meant to cope with allegations of labor and safety abuses at supplier factories.
Alleges government failed to invalidate Zhizhen voice recognition patent
Apple has filed a lawsuit against China's State Intellectual Property Office, as well as Shanghai company Zhizhen Network Technology, according to news agencies Xinhua and Agence France-Presse. Zhizhen owns a voice recognition patent which Apple previously asked the SIPO to invalidate. The lawsuit is due to reach the Intermediate People's Court on Thursday.
Rival carriers see stagnation
China Mobile added 14 million more high-speed data subscribers in January, a growth faster than at any other time in its history, according to data from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. The 7.4 percent increase is attributed mainly to the iPhone, which Mobile started selling on January 17th. In December, by contrast, Mobile's high-speed base grew by less than 6 percent.
Recent release of iPhone 5 lineup prompts one percent rise
Apple is now the fifth-largest cellphone maker in China, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal based on numbers from analyst firm IDC. The iPhone maker leapt a full percentage point in the last quarter of 2013 on the strength of its iPhone 5s and 5c, and the report does not even include sales from China Mobile, with which Apple finally inked a deal in December. The surge in sales moved the iPhone into a seven percent share of the smartphone market.
Sony shifts 5.3M PlayStation 4 consoles, beats recent Xbox sales figures
Sony has sold over 5.3 million PlayStation 4 game consoles globally as of February 8th, the company has revealed. The news comes just days before the company launches the console in its native Japan on February 22nd. In comparison, Microsoft's January financial results toward the end of January showed it sold 3.9 million competing Xbox One consoles and 3.5 million of the Xbox 360.
HTC Desire 8 launching in China this month
HTC has confirmed the existence of its upcoming Desire 8 smartphone, via a teaser on the company's Weibo account, at the same time as a separate leak shows the apparently-metallic appearance to the HTC M8. The Desire 8 image states there will be a launch on February 24th in Beijing, China for the phablet, which is currently believed to have a 5.5-inch display, with the launch date hinting at a dual launch at the same time as the opening day of Mobile World Congress.
Fixes problems with Chinese cellular networks
Apple is now seeding a rare iPhone-only iOS update, v7.0.5. The release is intended exclusively for the iPhone 5s and 5c, and deals with unspecified "network provisioning" problems on some Chinese models. For people who already have iOS 7.0.4 installed, the download is just 35.4MB when fetched via Software Update.
Growth of iPads strong; iPhone sales more dependent on LTE network expansion
China sales more than offset the one percent drop in iPhone revenue in the Americas, but CEO Tim Cook told investment analysts that the expected "tailwind" from China smartphone growth is likely to expand as the year progresses. Sales in "greater China" (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) were up nearly 30 percent year-over-year to $8.84 billion, with iPad sales up 64 percent year-over-year and iPhone sales up 24 percent year-over-year.
iPod numbers half those shipped last year
In addition to its public announcement, Apple has also published a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its first-quarter results. Significantly, revenue from the Americas actually declined one percent year-over-year to $20.098 billion. This was compensated for by growth in other regions; Europe and Japan were up five and 11 percent (respectively), while "greater" China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) leapt ahead 29 percent to $8.844 billion. The growth was likely spurred by sales of new iPhones and iPads, since mainland China was made a first-tier launch country for the first time in 2013.
Emerging middle class shows strength; now 417 million 3G users in China
Apple's timing on its years-in-the-making deal with China Mobile may turn out to have been prescient: the country's middle class is expanding rapidly, and with it the ability to enjoy services such as 3G and now LTE smartphone service. According to a new report from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, the country grew its 3G-using cellphone subscriber base by 79 percent in 2013, to a total of 417 million users.
Ascend P6S thickens casing, upgrades processor of Ascend P6
Huawei has launched its update to the Ascend P6, at the same time as new rumors surface mentioning a new flagship device. Launched quietly in China, the Ascend P6S features a number of minor improvements from the Ascend P6, while the Ascend SX will apparently merge together the design of the P-series devices with the performance of D-series smartphones.
Ten customers win iPhones signed by Apple CEO, China Mobile Chair
Apple's iPhones have formally arrived on China Mobile, the world's largest carrier and China's largest provider. The iPhone went on sale Friday morning in Beijing and other locations, with stores fulfilling long-awaited pre-orders of the iPhone (the 5s in particular) that have been gathered since mid-December. Foxconn is said to have delivered approximately 1.4 million iPhone 5s units to China Mobile recently, possibly an indication of strong pre-orders.