Posts Tagged ‘mobile’



Google has a developer preview of the next version update of Android, Nougat 7.1, available for Nexus devices.

Google typically announces the next Android preview during its Google I/O developer conference held annually in May. This year – for the first time – the preview was made available early so many could test Android 7.0 before launch. Once again, Google is using a developer preview for Android 7.1, so Nexus owners can beta test the latest Google goodies prior to final launch in December.

  • When is Android 7.1 Nougat coming to my phone?

Here are two different routes you can take: the traditional developer route and the super-friendly Android Beta Program route.

A developer preview is a “work in progress” build that is released to developers prior to a consumer rollout of the final software. Google offers a preview to collect and incorporate developer feedback. In the case of the Android 7.1 developer preview, as the software has already released on the Pixel and Pixel XL phones, it is being offered at beta quality, i.e., near final.

The aim is really to tease out problems with specific devices and allow developers to update apps to support 7.1’s new features.

In the initial phases Google is offering Android 7.1 for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6Pand Pixel C. Additional devices will be added to the programme in November, including the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player (probably).

As the Android 7.1 Nougat developer preview is arriving in beta, it should be stable, but some features may still be subject to change.

Google wants to make it easier for you to try Android 7.1 Nougat on device, so it’s also offering the Android Beta Program that allows anyone enrolled to update their Android devices to the developer preview and receive ongoing, over-the-air updates. It’s very much like Microsoft’s Windows Insider programme.

The beta ran for Android 7.0 Nougat and is very simple, meaning you don’t have to get involved in flashing updates or anything complicated.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Visit android.com/beta to sign-up to the Android Beta Program.
  2. Sign into your Google account when prompted.
  3. Your eligible devices will be listed on the next page, click to enrol in the Beta Program.
  4. Updates will arrive over the air direct to your device.

That’s it, it’s so simple.

If you’ve used the Android Beta Program before and enrolled your device previously, it will already be on the list and will automatically receive the updates when they become available.

If you don’t want those updates, you can follow the steps above, but then click to “unenrol device”.

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KARACHI: Cotton prices continued to fall on Saturday in line with global trend where most of the leading markets closed with fresh losses amid conflicting reports about the production and consumption of cotton this season.

Floor brokers said that the last two days of easy conditions extended under the pressure of global trend in cotton prices and uncertain outlook for the crop across the world. Though there are no negative reports about the condition of cotton crop so far, global trends are heavily weighing against the domestic factors.

However, due to late sowing in Punjab this season, the crop size would be smaller than the previous season’s, brokers said. Brokers believe the prices in domestic market should have been higher due to expected wide gap between demand and supply.

But the global trend of falling cotton prices continued to overshadow the market sentiment with lint prices recording fresh fall. As a result, cotton prices recorded a fall of Rs300 to Rs350 per maund (around 37 kilograms) during the week. Similarly, phutti (seed cotton) prices also came down by Rs200 to Rs250 per 40kg.

The cotton prices were hovering around Rs7,000 to Rs7,100 per maund early in the week came down in the range of Rs6,350 to Rs6,500 for Sindh quality by the close of the week. The Punjab variety cotton also declined by Rs6,550 to Rs6,600 per maund while official spot rates were reduced by Rs250 to Rs6,350.

The Karachi Cotton Association cut its spot rate further by Rs50, to Rs6,350 per maund.

Major deals on the ready counter were: 800 bales from Mirpurkhas (Rs6,350 to Rs6,525), 1,000 bales Tando Adam (Rs6,350 to Rs6,550), 800 bales Shahdadpur (Rs6,450 to Rs6,550), 600 bales Hyderabad (Rs6,450), 200 bales Shahpur Chakar (Rs6,500), 200 bales Nawabshah (Rs6,500), 200 bales Moro (Rs6,525), 200 bales Saheh Pat (Rs6,550) and 200 bales Vehari (Rs6,650).

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SEOUL: Samsung issued a global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on Friday, putting sales of the device to a stop after it investigated reports about units with exploding batteries.

The latest addition to the Note series went on sale in some markets, including South Korea and the United States, on Aug 19.

“There have been 35 cases that have been reported globally,” Samsung said in an official statement, adding that it had conducted a thorough inspection with suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market.

Units which have already been sold will be replaced by the company in the next few weeks, Samsung said.

Shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone were delayed in South Korea this week for extra quality control testing. The move came after reports that batteries in some of the jumbo smartphones exploded while they were being charged.

Citing an unnamed company official, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said Samsung’s investigation found that faulty batteries caused the phone to catch fire.

Koh Dong-jin bows at a news conference in Seoul after announcing the voluntary recall ─ AP
Koh Dong-jin bows at a news conference in Seoul after announcing the voluntary recall ─ AP

Yonhap News said five or six explosions were reported by consumers. It cited pictures of severely damaged phones shared in local online communities, social media and YouTube. The photos and accounts could not be immediately verified.

There were no confirmed reports of any injuries.

The number of the Galaxy Note 7 phones with a faulty battery accounts for “less than 0.1 per cent” of the products in the market and Samsung is discussing how to resolve the issue with Verizon and its other partners, the official told Yonhap.

The battery issue is a fresh blow to Samsung’s smartphone business that has been on a recovery track.

Samsung reported stellar earnings that beat market expectations in the latest quarter and its stock price was at a record high before the Note 7’s battery problems dented investor sentiment. Samsung’s share rose 0.8pc early Friday. The stock closed 2pc lower in the previous session.

Despite the investigation in South Korea, Samsung went ahead with its scheduled launch Thursday of the Galaxy Note 7 in China.

It is unusual for Samsung to confirm a delay in sales of a device, and rare for it to cite a quality issue.

“Every year, there have been accidents of battery explosions but it is the first time that six or seven cases happened within such a short period after the launch of a new product,” said Ha Joon-doo, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.

The Galaxy Note 7 smartphone is the latest iteration of Samsung’s Note series that feature a giant screen and a stylus.

The Note series smartphones are one of the most expensive lineups released by Samsung and usually inherit designs and features of the Galaxy S series that debut in the spring. Samsung also added an iris scanner to the Note 7, which lets users unlock the phone by detecting patterns in the eyes.

Even before the issue of battery explosions emerged, supplies were not keeping up with higher-than-expected demand for the smartphone.

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WASHINGTON: The White House said on Tuesday it was concerned about a European Commission order for Apple Inc to pay billions in unpaid taxes to Ireland because it seemed TO undermine joint US-EU progress on creating a more fair international tax system.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was possible the EU order for Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes could be unfair to US taxpayers because Apple might be able to claim it in the United States as a tax deduction.

“We are concerned about a unilateral approach … that threaten to undermine progress that we have made collaboratively with the Europeans to make the international taxation system fair,” Earnest told a briefing.

Apple shares lose a little shine

Apple shares lost some of their shine on Tuesday after the European Union ordered the US tech giant to pay a record 13 billion euros in back taxes in Ireland.

Shares in the iPhone and iPad maker were down 0.7 per cent in late morning trading, making for a more than 3 per cent loss in the two weeks ahead of the widely-anticipated decision.

Apple has vowed to appeal the ruling, as has Ireland, which has attracted multinational firms with its low corporate tax rate and willingness to negotiate specific tax treatment.

EU order for Apple to pay $14.5bn in back taxes could be unfair to US taxpayers because Apple might be able to claim it in the United States as a tax deduction.

The European Commission concluded that Dublin had shown preferential treatment in an arrangement that allowed Apple to avoid virtually all tax on its business in the bloc, paying an effective corporate tax rate of just 0.005 per cent on its European profits in 2014.

ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson said investors were fretting over the longer term implications rather than the size of the fine.

“For Apple and others like it, this could be a watershed,” Wilson added.

‘Tough for multinationals’

“Caught between an aggressive EC and the Obama regime’s clampdown on tax inversions, it’s looking increasingly tough for multinationals to avoid paying the going tax rate.”

The EU has recently stepped up its campaign against its member states giving huge tax breaks to firms, last year ordering US coffee giant Starbucks and Italian automaker Fiat to each repay up to 30 million Euros in back taxes to the Netherlands and Luxembourg respectively.

Shares in other multinationals which run much of their international operations via Ireland, such as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook, also dipped.

Overall, Wall Street’s main indices were down around 0.3 per cent in late morning trade. Meanwhile in Europe, shares ended mixed.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 finished up 1.1 per cent and the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.8 per cent as weak German inflation and a drop in eurozone business confidence reinforced expectations that the European Central Bank will have to step up stimulus measures.

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) for the 19-nation eurozone compiled by the European Commission fell one full point to 103.5 in August as Britain’s vote to quit the European Union continued to undermine eurozone business and consumer confidence in August, holding above the boom-bust line of 100 points.

Meanwhile Germany’s 12-month inflation rate dipped to 0.3 per cent in August using the ECB’s methodology, an indication that its efforts to stimulate the eurozone economy and bring inflation back towards a healthier rate of just fewer than 2 per cent are not yet bearing fruit.

“The ECB has reason to increase its policy support, perhaps as soon as next week,” Jack Allen at Capital Economics wrote.

Meanwhile, London’s FTSE 100 index of top blue-chip companies dipped 0.3 per cent after coming back from a long holiday weekend.

Asian equities mostly rose on Tuesday, but Tokyo ended slightly lower on tepid data and profit-taking.

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WHEN a government seeks to rein in a political opponent by listening in on his calls, reading his text messages, and spying on his meetings, how do they go about doing so? In the case of the UAE and pro-democracy activist Ahmed Mansoor, they sent him a short text message. “New secrets about torture of Emiratis in state prisons,” the Aug 10 and 11 SMS messages to Mansoor read. The texts included a link, and had Mansoor clicked it, his phone would have turned into a powerful surveillance tool for an entity that researchers believe is the Emirati government.

Pegasus, the software used against Mansoor, allows its operator to record phone calls and intercept text messages, including those made or sent on nominally encrypted apps such as Viber and WhatsApp. It can mine contact books and read emails. The software can also track its subject’s movements and even remotely turn on the phone’s camera and microphone.

The cyber-offensive against Mansoor was detailed in a new report by Citizen Lab, a research outfit based at the University of Toronto that has extensively chronicled foreign governments’ use of hacking for surveillance. The report shows the spies targeted Mansoor’s iPhone using so-called zero-day vulnerabilities, flaws that Apple had been unaware of.

Mansoor may have been one of the most high-profile people targeted with Pegasus, but he won’t be the last. As technology like Pegasus comes into wider use and governments become more aware of just how powerful a surveillance tool a smartphone can be, other dissidents, human rights activists, and journalists could come under similar attack. “These dissidents or high-value targets [give] us all a taste of the future,” said Bill Marczak, one of the report’s authors and a senior research fellow at Citizen Lab.

Thursday’s report cannot definitively prove that the UAE government targeted Mansoor for surveillance, but the researchers assembled a strong, if circumstantial, case pointing squarely at the Emiratis. Among other things, they found links between the use of Pegasus and an earlier hacking campaign, dubbed Stealth Falcon, linked to the Emiratis. The UAE’s embassy in Washington did not return calls and emails seeking comment on the report.

The NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance vendor, said in a statement that its “mission is to make the world a safer place by providing authorised governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime”. It said the company has no knowledge of specific cases in which its technology has been used, and that its “products may only be used for the prevention and investigation of crimes”.

Mansoor is a prominent and internationally recognised human rights activist. He was one of the so-called UAE Five arrested and imprisoned in 2011 amid the Arab Spring for insulting the UAE’s royal family. Mansoor’s crime was signing a pro-democracy petition.

This is the third time Mansoor has been targeted by sophisticated malware written by a private intelligence firm. In 2011, he was attacked with a program developed by FinFisher, a company based in Germany and the UK. In 2012, he was targeted with surveillance software written by Hacking Team, an Italian firm that was hacked last year by cyber-vandals who leaked its internal emails onto the internet. Researchers have tied previous attempts to use sophisticated malware to monitor Mansoor to the Emirati government.

It is unclear how much money the UAE purportedly paid to the shadowy Israeli firm that created Pegasus, the NSO Group, but Marczak said it was likely that the firm’s contract with the Gulf nation was in the range of $10 million to $15 million. The size of that contract, he added, would depend on how many targets the UAE would have hired NSO to surveil.

NSO reportedly sells its surveillance tools to governments around the world, and the UAE appears to be one of its biggest clients, judging by the company’s use of Emirati domains.

The Pegasus software utilised a chain of three zero days in Apple’s mobile operating system to turn iPhones into highly capable, multifunction surveillance tools. It effectively enables the kind of intrusive, round-the-clock snooping that in the past would have required a huge team of operatives and massive resources. Foreign intelligence services once needed to install microphones in the walls to snoop on their subjects’ private conversations at home. Now, operatives from countries like the UAE — and, potentially, more authoritarian regimes like Russia and China — can just hack a phone.

“The cost of monitoring people is no longer the cost of following people around and wiring bugs into your apartment, like the Stasi did in the 1980s,” said John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab.

Zero-day vulnerabilities are highly rare and can fetch six figures from companies that traffic in such information. Last year, a company called Zerodium issued a $1 million bounty for an iPhone flaw such as the one utilised in the Pegasus software. The bounty was claimed within weeks, an indication of how large payouts for tools to hack into encrypted products such as Apple’s devices is attracting high-end programmer talent.

Though the software used to target Mansoor was written in Israel, NSO is owned by an American private equity firm, Francisco Partners Management LLC. After purchasing NSO for a reported $110 million in 2014, Francisco Partners was reportedly exploring a sale last year that would have valued the company at around $1 billion. To stay under the radar, NSO has repeatedly changed its name.

The spread of Pegasus reflects the cat-and-mouse game taking place between governments determined to steal personal data and companies determined to safeguard it. That was the fundamental divide earlier this year when Apple and the FBI waged a highly publicised war over the encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists in December’s shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California. The FBI got a court order demanding that Apple undermine the phone’s security features, but Apple pushed back. In the end, the FBI reportedly paid private hackers more than $1 million to break into that device.

That may get steadily harder for the FBI and other intelligence services around the world. As consumers become more aware of the privacy risks posed by the digital revolution, companies have responded in many cases by rolling out sophisticated encryption tools to safeguard the contents of their customers’ conversations. WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular messaging apps, uses end-to-end encryption, in which only the participants of a conversation can unscramble its contents. It has incorporated this technology throughout its app — phone calls, voice messages, and texts are all protected by advanced encryption.

This has hugely frustrated government security officials and law enforcement, who are often unable to obtain evidence from phones with encryption enabled. But tools such as Pegasus circumvent such encryption by breaking into the device used to communicate. The surveillance software records communications as they are input into an app, before encryption occurs, and then reports that information back to its maker.

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SEOUL: Better-than-expected demand for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 is causing supply constraints globally, the South Korean tech giant said on Wednesday, suggesting strong initial sales for the new premium smartphone.

While robust demand could help deliver another solid quarter of earnings, Samsung also risks missing out on potential sales if it cannot boost supply quickly. Rivals such as Apple Inc are poised to launch new phones which could pull customers away from Samsung if a shortage persists.

“As pre-order results for the Galaxy Note 7 have far exceeded our estimates, its release date in some markets has been adjusted,” Samsung told Reuters in a statement without commenting on where launch delays could occur.

Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if the world’s top smartphone maker does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.

Samsung shares were down 2 per cent as of 0339 GMT Wednesday after hitting a record high on Tuesday, while the broader market was down 0.3pc.

Samsung said it was trying to boost production at the secret locations where the Notes are made, and aimed to meet demand “as early as possible”. It gave no further details.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters there was no production issue for the curved screens used on the Galaxy Note 7 and that the shortage would not be a long-term problem.

“The party got more visitors than Samsung expected, so they just need to put more food out,” said Nomura analyst C.W. Chung, who said the supply situation was not a major risk given that Samsung made key parts such as displays and chips in-house.

Samsung could sell as many as 15 million Galaxy Note 7 phones this year, Chung said, compared with an estimated 9 million Galaxy Note 5 phones sold last year.

The phone went on sale on Aug. 19 in countries including the United States and South Korea, where it retails for $882.

Samsung hopes it helps maintain sales and earnings momentum in the second half. Some analysts raised their profit forecasts for Samsung after the phone received favourable reviews.

“There could be a temporary issue but Samsung has almost never had prolonged production misses,” said IBK Asset Management fund manager Kim Hyun-su, adding that the share price decline appeared to be profit-taking after a recent rally.

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The new style of business

The svelte, ultra-portable Huawei MateBook was designed for the busy professional. Stylish and powerful, it’s the perfect work companion for on-the-spot collaborations as well as out-of-town business trips. Its ultra-thin design is accentuated by a premium metal unibody and expansive 12-inch display. And since it’s powered by a 6th Gen Intel Core M processor, it’s super travel-friendly.

Huawei Matebook start up screen

Perfect minimalism

Sure to catch approving glances from your colleagues, the MateBook is designed with simplicity and class in mind. Its sleek exterior is crafted from a single sheet of metal as well as other high-quality materials. Every corner, edge, and port is precision crafted and polished to perfection.

Man holding Huawei Matebook and stylus pen

Impossibly lightweight

Weighing just 1.4 pounds, this impossibly light PC impresses with how much it contains within its impossibly thin metal body, including a stunning high-resolution 12-inch touchscreen, fingerprint sensor, and 9-hour battery. It has all the features without the added poundage.

Finger using built-in side fingerprint sensor

Secured by your touch

The business-oriented MateBook boasts one of the most secure file storage systems in the industry. But, just because it’s secure doesn’t mean it requires a complicated access procedure. In fact, it comes equipped with a built-in side fingerprint sensor that lets you unlock with a single touch.

Hand holding Huawei Matebook with finger pointing on screen

Powerfully professional

Deceptively quick and incredibly powerful, the MateBook features up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB high-speed SSD. And the up to 6th Gen Intel Core m5 processor enables it to stay incredibly cool, efficient, and silent while you put it through its paces.

Tech specs


12 in Full HD IPS touchscreen (2160 x 1440), 10-finger multi-touch support


Intel Core m3-6Y30 900 MHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.20 GHz


4GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz

Hard drive size


Operating system

Windows 10 Home, 64-bit

PC type

2 in 1

Optical drive


Media drive





Intel HD Graphics 515 with shared graphics memory


1 USB Type-C (also used for power) • Headphone output/Microphone input combo


33.7WHr, 4430mAh (up to 9 hours)*


5MP webcam


802.11a/b/g/n/ac (Miracast enabled)


Bluetooth 4.1


10.97 x 7.64 x 0.27 in (278.80 x 194.10 x 6.90 mm)


1.41 lbs (639.56 g)




Model number: MateBook HZ-W09 • Fingerprint reader (Windows Hello compatible) • Includes USB Type-C to Micro-USB cable, Micro-USB to USB-A adapter, USB Type-C adapter • TPM 2.0

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