Apple Says iPhone Production Hit By China Covid Lockdown

People walk past an Apple store in Beijing on December 11, 2018. Apple stores in China continued with business as usual on December 11, despite a Chinese court-ordered ban on iPhone sales that could hurt the US tech firm in one of its most crucial markets.


Apple warned customers would face longer wait times for iPhones with the holiday season approaching, after Covid restrictions in central China “temporarily impacted” production at the world’s largest factory producing the smartphone.

Foxconn, Apple’s principal subcontractor, locked down its massive factory in Zhengzhou last month after a spike in infections — in line with China’s zero-Covid policy.

In a separate statement Monday, the Taiwanese firm said its fourth quarter earnings this year would take a hit from the coronavirus lockdowns.

Panicking workers last week had fled the site on foot in the wake of allegations of poor conditions at the facility, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers.

“Covid-19 restrictions have temporarily impacted the primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly facility located in Zhengzhou, China,” California-based Apple said in a statement late Sunday.

“The facility is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity.”

Despite strong demand for Apple’s products ahead of the holiday season, “we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated”, it said.

“Customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products.”

Foxconn is China’s biggest private sector employer, with more than a million people working across the country in about 30 factories and research institutes.

But Zhengzhou is the Taiwanese company’s crown jewel, churning out iPhones in quantities not seen anywhere else.

“In a normal situation, almost all the iPhone production is happening in Zhengzhou,” Ivan Lam, an analyst with specialist firm Counterpoint, told AFP.

The company was initially “cautiously optimistic” about its fourth quarter earnings, it said.

“But due to the pandemic affecting some of our operations in Zhengzhou, the company will ‘revise down’ the outlook for the fourth quarter,” Foxconn said in a statement.

“Foxconn is now working with the government in (a) concerted effort to stamp out the pandemic and resume production to its full capacity as quickly as possible,” the company said.

It did not give any statistical projection for how badly it expected earnings to be hit.

“This is a dark sign of the zero-Covid policy in China impacting production for Apple with Foxconn,” Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities, told AFP.

“It confirms the Street’s fears with Apple this quarter and will be an albatross on the tech market this week.”

– ‘We are drowning’ –

Local authorities locked down the area surrounding the factory on Wednesday, but not before reports emerged of a lack of adequate medical care at the plant.

Multiple workers have recounted scenes of chaos and increasing disorganisation at Foxconn’s complex of workshops and dormitories, which form a city-within-a-city near Zhengzhou’s airport.

“People with fevers are not guaranteed to receive medicine,” a 30-year-old Foxconn worker, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP.

“We are drowning,” he said.

China is the last major economy wedded to a strategy of extinguishing Covid outbreaks as they emerge, imposing snap lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines despite the widespread disruption to businesses and international supply chains.

And authorities poured cold water on speculation that the policy could be relaxed Saturday, with National Health Commission (NHC) spokesperson Mi Feng saying that Beijing would “stick unswervingly to… the overall policy of dynamic zero-Covid”.

“At present, China is still facing the dual threat of imported infections and the spread of domestic outbreaks,” Mi said at a press briefing.

“The disease control situation is as grim and complex as ever,” he said. “We must continue to put people and lives first.”


Infinix To Launch Yet Another Premium Smartphone On October 6


Top premium smartphone brand, Infinix is set to launch its latest device, Zero ULTRA. The device is an addition to its zero series namely: Zero X, and Zero 5G.

ZERO Series smartphones provide a powerful smartphone experience, each with its own unique and varying features. The ZERO ULTRA raises the bar yet again, giving users access to features that rival high-end, more expensive competitor brands.

The phone will be launched on Thursday, October 6 2022 at Legend Hotel, Airport Road, Lagos.

Aside from its ability to take images in 200MP mode, another key feature of the ZERO ULTRA is that it has one of the fastest charging systems in the market, with the battery going from 1% to 100% in less than 15 minutes. The Zero Ultra is targeted at tech bros, innovative technologies lovers, and trendsetters who are very active on social media- Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok and love sharing photos and making videos.

Infinix which prides itself as one constantly evolving in technology and current trends will also be launching a limited NFT platform artwork which will be distributed for free.

Celebrities like Osas Ighodaro, Alexx Ekubo, Liquorose, and Maria Chike are expected at the launch event.

To be updated about the launch of the Zero ULTRA and other exciting updates from Infinix, follow and engage with them on their social media pages

Highlights From Infinix Note 10 Launch – Where Beauty Meets Strength


Did you miss the most exciting smartphone launch in recent times? Infinix Mobility has unveiled yet another product — the Infinix Note 10, the device that meets beauty with strength. This is the latest smartphone in their product line of the Note series. The launch, which was tagged, ‘Meet Beauty With Strength’  illustrates the beautiful screen and body of the device, while showing the strength of its processor.

Infinix Nigeria went all out at the launch of the new Infinix Note 10 to showcase the elements of the new Note 10- Speed, Beauty, Power, and Strength. There was a beautiful array of speed bikes, luxurious cars, and exotic rides that made for an exhilarating experience and the celebrities sure did have fun showing the fans the most interesting features of the phone. It was a fun event for all involved. Watch the video on YouTube here Infinix Note 10 Launch




The launch was broadcast live on TV with celebrities like Nancy Isime, Timini Egbuson, Osas Ighodaro, and Poco Lee taking fans through the different features of the phone. The event was filled with thrill and excitement around the main features of the Note 10 – speed, beauty, power, strength – as the functionalities of the new smartphone were tested live. From Timini and Poco Lee testing out the powerful processor with video games to Nancy, Osas, and some fans taking beautiful high-quality images, the event was amazingly fun. You can catch the replay for the live stream of the Note 10 launch here and find out how to win amazing prizes.

Infinix Mobility, with the slogan “The Future is Now” prides itself as one of the fastest-growing mobile phone brands in Africa with a 160% sales growth worldwide between  2018 and 2020. They have been ranked 26th among the TOP 100 MOST-ADMIRED BRANDS IN AFRICA. Their mission is to empower today’s youth with smart devices using cutting edge technology and they have been living up to this with every new product they release.





The Infinix Note 10 boasts of being the world’s biggest center-punch screen smartphone with a super amazing Helio G95 processor. The superior CPU and GPU performance allow it to operate with a 58% download speed faster than its predecessors.

It comes with a 6.95” FHD for superfluid display for a quality viewing experience while gaming, watching videos, or performing other functions on the phone.

The smartphone offers users less eye fatigue during use due to its TÜV Rheinland certified low blue light technology. Users can also capture images like a pro with a 64MP AI Quad camera that provides a stunning photographic experience. The device operates with a 5000mAh battery and allows fast charge for quick refill so users are not cut off from the immersive experience. It comes with a unique design and stylish colours of 95Black, 7Purple, Emerald Green, and Nordic Secret.


You can preorder the device on for just N2500 or N2000 for Note 10 Pro and Note 10 respectively.



The Infinix brand also unveiled the latest addition to its product line with the Infinix Laptop, also called The Inbook X1. More information can be found on their social media pages @InfinixNigeria on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.




itel Mobile Unveils Olamide As Brand Ambassador, Sets New Targets  

Popstar Olamide (L) signs a branding deal with itel Mobile. The smartphone make announced the deal on May 22, 2020.
Popstar Olamide (L) signs a branding deal with itel Mobile. The smartphone brand announced the deal on May 22, 2020.


In what can only be considered as the coming together of two kings, the smartphone for everyone brand, itel Mobile has unveiled Afro-pop star, Olamide Adedeji as its official brand ambassador.

The signing of the famous Afro-pop star is informed by the brand’s desire to enhance consumer engagement and endear more fans to her community.

itel Mobile’s choice of Olamide as the face of the brand brings to bear connecting similarities between their target audience and acceptance, with both brands serving mass markets. itel Mobile is a leader in the smartphone mass market in Nigeria offering reliable and affordable smartphones for everyone, while Olamide makes popular music for the streets, rolling out frequent hits they can relate with.

“We are delighted to have Olamide in the itel Mobile family at this time. The choice of Olamide as the face of our brand is based on the many similarities between both brands. Both brands have been able to stay on top of their games, we are both leaders in our spaces. Olamide is the king of hip-hop and street music, itel is the king of smartphones in the mass markets. Olamide and itel complement each other, hence the collaboration. Both brands are Real Kings, blessed with a community of hardworking and aspirational individuals. The best is beginning to take shape.” said Oke Umurhohwo, Marketing Communications Manager (West Africa), itel Mobile, on the partnership.

Olamide Adedeji: “it feels very special working with a great brand that shares similar goals with you."
Olamide Adedeji: “it feels very special working with a great brand that shares similar goals with you.”


Commenting on the partnership between both brands, Olamide Adedeji observed that “it feels very special working with a great brand that shares similar goals with you. This is more than a mere partnership; it is a relationship that would bring satisfaction and happiness to our audiences. I look forward to the great things we will do together in the days ahead.”

The unveiling was staged online via itel Mobile’s social media pages and attracted over 500,000 views across different social media platforms while it lasted.

itel Mobile is a leading smartphone brand in the Nigerian and African markets. The brand provides affordable and reliable smartphones for everyone. itel Mobile has multiple awards and recognitions under its belt, including the leader of the smartphone mass market and the most student-friendly smartphone brand in Nigeria.



UK To Launch Smartphone App For Tracking COVID-19

A Swiss soldiers holds his smartphone showing an app, created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) that could help trace those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the COVID-19. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
A Swiss soldiers holds his smartphone showing an app, created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) that could help trace those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the COVID-19. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP


Britain was poised on Monday to roll out a new smartphone tracing app for coronavirus on an island off England’s south coast, as the country looks to ease a six-week nationwide lockdown. 

The app, developed by the state-run National Health Service (NHS), will be trialled on the Isle of Wight ahead of its planned rollout across Britain later this month.

It is seen as a key part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to lift stay-at-home orders imposed in late March.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the app would be available to the island’s health professionals from Tuesday, before being rolled out to all of the island’s roughly 80,000 households later this week.

He said the app was part of the government’s new “test, track and trace” strategy that aimed “to hunt down and isolate the virus so it’s unable to reproduce”.

“This does not mean the end of social distancing on the Isle of Wight or anywhere else for that matter,” Hancock added at the daily Downing Street briefing.

Britain is one of the worst-hit countries in the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing another 288 deaths on Monday to take the death toll to 28,734 — the third highest globally and almost on a par with second-placed Italy.

Johnson said last week the country was “past the peak” of the outbreak but not yet ready to move out of lockdown.

The measures — which are assessed at three-week intervals — are set for review on Thursday, but the British leader is not expected to set out his proposals for their easing until Sunday, according to media reports.

In the meantime, officials will assess how well the smartphone app performs on the Isle of Wight.

‘Stick with lockdown’

The island is seen as an ideal place for the trial because it has no direct links to mainland Britain and has a relatively low number of confirmed virus cases.

The app will be deployed alongside a newly recruited team of contact tracers, who will eventually number 18,000 nationwide, to help track down people identified by the tool as at-risk of having become infected.

But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned it was not a “quick-fix” and that the number of people being infected was still too high to make any “meaningful change” to the social distancing regime.

“It is very likely on Thursday I will be asking you to stick with lockdown for longer,” she said.

Britons are currently being told to stay at home unless they need to work, buy essentials or take daily exercise, but they must stay at least two metres away from other people.

New government guidance on how to maintain social distancing in workplaces suggests British office workers will be encouraged to stay at home for months to avoid overwhelming the transport system, according to the BBC and the Financial Times.

The guidance urges employers to stagger shifts and stop people from sharing desks or stationery. Workers who deal with customers must also be protected by plastic screens.

No date for reopening schools has yet been decided, a spokesman for Johnson told reporters.



Huawei Introduces HUAWEI P30 Lite To Nigeria Market




Triple-Camera Smartphone with a 48MP Main Camera help the photography enthusiasts capture the most endearing pictures.

Positioned as the stylish flagship line-up, the HUAWEI P Series recently welcomed a new entry to the family. Exuding the same classy design, the HUAWEI P30 lite is a real treat to the eyes. But it’s far from being just a charmer; powered by Huawei’s innovative technologies including a triple-camera system, HUAWEI P30 lite delivers a highly compelling user experience as well.

The HUAWEI P30 lite is equipped with a triple camera system that includes an ultra-wide-angle lens plus main and secondary cameras. The main camera is a 48MP camera with a f/1.8 wide aperture lens that allows for greater light sensitivity. The third, ultra-wide-angle 8MP camera supports a field of view of up to 120 degrees—twice of that of conventional cameras—allowing users to capture clearer photos and do so with a wider perspective. For less favorable lighting conditions such as when there is too much or too little light, or when the light source is illuminating the subject from the back, users make take advantage of Super Night Mode, which automatically adjusts the settings to compensate for the suboptimal lighting.

With it, users can chronicle their lives with their smartphones at any time of the day.

An Exquisite Look

The elegant design of the HUAWEI P30 lite represents Huawei’s commitment to understanding aesthetics. Every minute detail is meticulously engineered to perfection, and every facet is a reflection of the HUAWEI P30 lite’s understated, but absolute confidence. It is equipped with a 6.15-inch Dewdrop display. The unobtrusive, miniaturized notch gives the display a massive 84.1 percent screen-to-body ratio, and lets it naturally connect with the frame to form perfectly rounded edges that make caressing the device a true pleasure.



HUAWEI P30 lite also adopts a next-generation color manufacturing process. The gradient effect now gets a new mesmerizing sheen, making the device closer to an actual piece of art than ever before. Available in Midnight Black, Pearl White and Peacock Blue, HUAWEI P30 lite offers a choice of three colorways what invokes imagination of its users. Stunningly unique, the HUAWEI P30 lite is a category of its own, representing best-in-class industrial design.

A Marriage of Art and Technology

Since its inception, the HUAWEI P30 lite has always been about driving one message to consumers: A smartphone can be beautifully crafted, lightweight, while simultaneously provide an outstanding photography experience. HUAWEI P30 lite brings technology and art together to deliver a photography experience that rivals even DSLR cameras, without needing the assistance of external accessories.



One of the most exciting features of the HUAWEI P30 lite is its 24MP AI Selfie Camera. With a HUAWEI P30 lite in hand, consumers command a professional team of virtual stylists, comprising makeup artists, gaffers and photographers, who will follow them wherever they go. Raise the HUAWEI P30 lite, and they can take studio-quality images with a tap of a button. From chiseled jawlines, bright eyes to tall noses, every selfie looks better with HUAWEI P30 lite’s 24MP selfie camera. Details are not lost regardless of magnification—anyone can look like a star through the lens of the latest HUAWEI P 30 lite smartphone.

Powerful Software and Hardware to Deliver Stress-Free Gaming and Entertainment.


Underneath its beautiful appearance, the HUAWEI P30 lite is equipped with powerful hardware and software. In terms of hardware, it features the Kirin 710 system on a chip and a massive 128GB storage device. As for software, the device runs on the EMUI 9.0.1 operating system. Combined, they ensure the smoothest, smartest user experience for any scenario.

Today’s youth are more dynamic than any of the generations that come before them. Aimed at catering to this audience, HUAWEI P30 lite offers a novel AI Video Ringtone feature. With it, users may set videos, as opposed to just audio, as their ringtones.

In view of the rise of mobile gaming, HUAWEI P30 lite also features an upgraded version of GPU Turbo. This groundbreaking innovation greatly enhances GPU performance while simultaneously lowering the power consumption of games. This means users can game with better, smoother graphics and for longer periods of time between charges.

HUAWEI P30 lite is Huawei’s third foray into triple-camera smartphones, following the HUAWEI P20 Pro and the HUAWEI Mate 20 Series. Featuring innovative AI technology, premium design and powerful performance, the HUAWEI P30 lite is a worthy new addition to the HUAWEI P Series.

Huawei understands that unique “Naija Swag” that make you standout and stay confident everywhere, that’s why the new Huawei is absolutely a worth-to-buy smartphone. The phone is defined by its top notch performance and trendy design. It offers you bleeding edge technology and also gives you the best qualities you need in a phone.
The HUAWEI P30 lite is now available for NGN99,000. Buy now and get a digital wristband and also enjoy the Airtel Double Data!
Exclusive to SLOT and Airtel

Smartphone Sales See Modest Rebound After Two-Year Slump


Global smartphone sales increased modestly in the third quarter, the first growth for the segment after a two-year slump, a market tracker said.

Data from Strategy Analytics late Wednesday showed handset shipments up two percent from a year earlier at 366 million units, the first rise since the third quarter of 2017.

South Korean-based Samsung remained the top vendor and China’s Huawei held its number two spot despite US sanctions, ahead of third-place Apple, the research group said.

“Worldwide demand for smartphones is recovering, due to strong pricing competition among vendors and new innovations such as larger screens and 5G connectivity,” said Linda Sui, an analyst with the group.

Samsung extended its lead in the market by boosting sales by eight percent in the quarter to 78 million units, representing a 21.3 percent share.

Huawei was the biggest surprise, showing a gain of 29 percent with 66 million units sold, giving it an 18.2 percent market share despite sanctions imposed by Washington that could make it harder to obtain key technology and components.

The Chinese firm, which launched its latest high-end smartphone in September without popular Google apps, picked up gains in its home market, according to Strategy Analytics.

It said Huawei’s gains were largely in its home market.

The report said Apple’s sales of iPhones fell three percent from a year ago to 45.6 million units, giving it 12.4 percent of the market.

Apple, which released its quarterly update Wednesday, did not disclose iPhone unit sales but said revenue from its iPhones was down nine percent.

“Despite the slight decline, this was actually Apple’s best growth performance since last year,” said analyst Woody Oh.

“We believe Apple is stabilizing, due to cheaper iPhone 11 pricing and healthier demand across Asia and the United States.”

The report showed China-based Xiaomi maintaining fourth place with a nine percent market share, followed by another Chinese firm Oppo, at eight percent.

Other unspecified vendors captured the remaining 31 percent of the market, according to the report.

SPONSORED: This Year’s HUAWEI P Series Is Coming: Is It A Lite Year?

In 2018, the Huawei shipped more than two hundred million smartphone units, dominating the one-third of the global smartphone market.

One can’t mention Huawei without taking the P series flagship smartphones into consideration. As the high-end Huawei smartphone, the P series not only achieved great sales performance but a reputation for excellent quality.

From the world’s slimmest smartphone HUAWEI P6, to the all-metal flagship HUAWEI P8, to the HUAWEI P10 with 10 colour variations, the HUAWEI P series is a flagship device series targeting young and fashionable consumers.

In terms of photography, from the monochrome cameras of the HUAWEI P9 to the redefined portrait photography of the P10, and from Leica certification to AI empowerment, the HUAWEI P20 established a benchmark in the 2018 smartphone industry with its brilliant design and powerful triple rear camera setup.

Meanwhile, the P20 set a barrier for other smartphone manufacturers. After one year, people have greater camera expectations of the P series successor.

Reportedly, the latest P series product is coming soon, and it will be the light flagship HUAWEI P30 Lite, designed for the elegant and international, fashionable elites.

Enriching and supplementing the Huawei P series after the P20, what surprises will the P30 Lite bring to us?

Smartphones have become increasingly powerful as technology has developed.

Not only it can the smartphone be used for communication, but they have more and more photography capabilities. In fact, smartphones have been a necessity in modern society.

With increasing requirements from consumers, many smartphone manufacturers have begun to focus on camera capabilities, such as portrait mode, Bokeh effect, ultra-wide-angle lens, super night mode and other features. Additionally, the image quality requirement grows higher and higher. The overall progress of this technology is obvious to all.

Since the HUAWEI P20 Pro ranked at the top of the DxOMark list, becoming the world’s best camera smartphone, people have much higher expectations of the P series camera quality. In 2019, Huawei’s triple camera design has been copied by other manufacturers.

Not surprisingly, the HUAWEI P30 Lite’s dual camera and wide-angle lens is indispensable. For the main and second lens, it is unknown whether they will adopt portrait or colour mode, the well-received 48MP lens or other functionalities.

However, it is certain that the camera optimization and progress of the Huawei P30 Lite won’t let the consumer down.

If camera capability is a key performance indicator (KPI) of smartphones, performance must be the top priority. Accordingly, for a long time, the whole industry has remained focused on the CPU performance and benchmarking, and consumers continue to follow this. But actual user experience is ignored. But not Huawei.

As the light flagship product of the HUAWEI P series, HUAWEI P30 Lite will feature the Kirin 710 chipset and the largest 128GB of storage, along with the latest EMUI 9.0.1 operating system.

Overall, the specifications are fully capable to handle everyday applications and heavy games. Additionally, empowered by the GPU Turbo and other AI technologies, the HUAWEI P30 Lite can definitely offer users an excellent—and more intelligent—experience.

The HUAWEI P flagship series has a good reputation for user experience. Carrying on with this philosophy, Huawei again delivers to its target users of the P series with the light flagship P30 Lite. And, a good product will earn the loyalty of users, who are concerned about the phone’s capabilities. Powered by quality hardware specifications and superb software optimization, the P30 Lite is definitely the masterpiece Huawei planned for young and fashionable elites.

Get ready to experience a phone that take its performance to a higher level.

Coming soon. #StayTuned

Huawei Still Number Two Smartphone Seller Despite US Sanctions

The Huawei logo is displayed at a store in Beijing on December 6, 2018. The chief financial officer of China’s global telecommunications giant Huawei has been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States, officials said, triggering a strong protest by Beijing, which called for her immediate release. PHOTO: FRED DUFOUR / AFP

Huawei remained the number two global smartphone vendor in the past quarter despite tough US sanctions imposed on the Chinese technology giant, market trackers said Wednesday.

The Chinese firm managed to boost its sales even as the overall market declined, remaining on the heels of sector leader Samsung and ahead of US-based Apple.

According to Strategy Analytics, overall global smartphone sales fell 2.6 percent to 341 million units in the April-June period.

Samsung increased its market share to 22 percent, helped by a seven percent rise in handset sales, mainly in the mid-range and entry segments. The South Korean giant stayed ahead of Huawei at 17 percent, and Apple at 11 percent of the market.

“Huawei surprised everyone and grew its global smartphone shipments by eight percent annually,” said Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston.

“Huawei surged at home in China during the quarter, as the firm sought to offset regulatory uncertainty in other major regions such as North America and Western Europe.”

The research firm estimated that Apple, which released its results this week without details on unit shipments, saw an eight percent drop in iPhone sales in the quarter.

“Apple is stabilizing in China due to price adjustments and buoyant trade-ins, but other major markets such as India and Europe remain challenging for the expensive iPhone,” said Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics.

A separate report by Counterpoint Research offered similar findings, showing Samsung, Huawei and Apple in the three top spots as overall sales fell.

Analyst Tarun Pathak at Counterpoint said however the US ban on technology sales to Huawei will have an impact in the coming months.

“The effect of the ban did not translate into falling shipments during this quarter, which will not be the case in the future,” Pathak said.

Anthony Scarsella of the research firm IDC, which also issued similar findings, said the market is seeing signs of stabilizing.

“A key driver in the second quarter was the availability of vastly improved mid-tier devices that offer premium designs and features while significantly undercutting the ultra-high-end in price,” Scarsella said.

“Combine this with intensified and generous trade-in programs across major markets and channels, and upgrading now makes more sense to consumers.”

The surveys indicated Chinese makers Xiaomi and Oppo holding the fourth and fifth spots, largely due to sales in their home markets.

According to Counterpoint, the combined global smartphone market share of Chinese majors Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Realme reached 42 percent, the highest it has ever been.

Google Bucks Soaring Smartphone Prices With New Pixel

Google products, including the new Pixel 3A phone, are displayed during the Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 7, 2019. PHOTO: Josh Edelson / AFP


Google bucked the soaring smartphone price trend Tuesday, unveiling a high-performance Pixel handset aimed at the middle of the market as part of a wide-ranging pitch to developers of its new hardware, software and privacy efforts.

The Pixel 3a phone, which includes many of the artificial intelligence features of its flagship devices, is priced from $399, executives said as Google opened its annual I/O developers conference near its headquarters in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View.

“There has been a troubling trend of high-end phones getting more expensive,” Google head of hardware Rick Osterloh said.

“So, we challenged ourselves to deliver a high-end experience in a new Pixel 3a starting at $399.”

The new Pixel was available atGoogle’s online shop.

Osterloh contended that the price is about half that of latest generation premium smartphones but is built with camera, digital assistant and other features found in top-end handsets.

“They just redefined what a mid-priced phone can do,” Forrester Research principal analyst Frank Gillett said at the event.

“But they didn’t tell us what compromises they made on the hardware.”

Google’s expertise is software, so getting features like artificial intelligence to work on less costly smartphones plays to the internet giant’s strength, according to Gillett.

Enabling artificial intelligence to handle sophisticated features on smartphone means less user data needs to be shared with online data centers to handle tasks, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said while discussing steps being taken to strengthen privacy and security of users.

“We always want to do more for users, but do it with less data over time,” Pichai said.

“We strongly believe that privacy and security are for everyone.”

 Budget appeal

The Pixel 3a makes its debut in a tightening smartphone market, particularly when it comes to premium models, with Google having failed to garner significant market share.

Over the past quarter, South Korea’s Samsung led all manufacturers with a 23 percent share in a global market that fell 6.6 percent, according to research firm IDC.

China’s Huawei, US-based Apple and three other Chinese firms rounded out the top five, according to IDC.

Google stepped up its hardware ambitions last year with the acquisition of the smartphone division of Taiwan-based HTC.

The new Pixel 3a device is being introduced as Apple and Samsung have boosted prices of their newest handsets to over $1,000, and with Google’s flagship Pixel 3 selling from around $800.

Pixel 3a has features “extremely attractive to users on a budget,” and comes as a threat to the leading Android-powered smartphone maker Samsung, according to Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi.

Google also introduced a Nest Hub Max device that combines a 10-inch (25-centimeter) display with a camera, microphone, sound system and a digital assistant.

Smarts built into Max include facial recognition that allows the device to personalize experiences and even alert owners when someone it doesn’t recognize is in a home, according to executives.

Max will be priced at $229 when it launches later this year in Australia, Britain and the US.

Analyst Gillett saw the Max price as “jaw-dropping” given it combines a smart camera, video screen and high-quality stereo.

 Privacy minded

Google executives dived deep into ways it is improving its software, particularly with privacy and machine learning in mind.

Along with weaving podcasts and 3-D augmented reality images into search results, Google is enabling more of the computing to be done on handsets where users have control.

“Instead of sending data to the cloud, we shipped machine learning models directly to your device,” Pichai said.

“We always want to do more for users, but do it with less data over time.”

While the “devil is in the details” regarding how much of what Google mobile software learns about users will be “grist” for its money-making online ads, weaving improved privacy into its offerings could improve the company’s position with regulators, according to Gillett.


Barber To Receive 12 Strokes Of Cane Over Phone Theft, Court Rules

Court Freezes, Orders Forfeiture Of Accounts Without BVN
File photo of court premises.


An Iyaganku Magistrate Court in Ibadan has ruled that a 25-year-old barber be canned 12 strokes for stealing a smartphone valued at N48,000.

The barber, Mutiu Fatai, was also sentenced ‎to one week of community service.

Fatai was arraigned on April 23, 2018, before the court ‎on a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing.

The prosecutor, Shalewa Hammed told the court ‎that the convict and others now at large April 9, 2017, at about 6:30 p.m. at Oni and Son’s Hospital area of Ibadan respectively did conspire together to commit a felony with stealing.

READ ALSO: Offa Robbery: Saraki Writes Police, Responds To Allegations

He said on the same date, time and place Fatai double-crossed the car of one Mrs Taylor Funmilayo of Oni Memorial Hospital and snatched her smartphone valued at N48,000.

Hammed said the offence is punishable under Section 516 and 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol. II laws of Oyo State.

On April 23, 2018, the convict pleaded not guilty and was granted bail the sum of 50,000.00 ‎with one surety gainfully employed and the case adjourned till June 5, 2018.

On June 7, 2018, the complainant had approached the court requesting for the withdrawal of the case based on pressure from Mutiu Fatai’s Family.

The Magistrate, however, turned down the request insisting that he wanted to hear the fact of the matter.

After listening to the fact of the matter, the Magistrate put it to the convict whether it was true or not, to which he (Mutiu Fatai‎) replied in the affirmative and pleaded guilty.

He further prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, saying that dropped out of school due to financial problems from his family.

In his ruling, the Magistrate ruled that Fatai be canned 12 strokes and sentenced him to one-week community service, to serve as a deterrent to others.

Amnesty International Accuses Tech Firms Of Child Labour

amnestyTech firms like Apple, Samsung and Sony, among others, have failed to ensure that minerals used in their products are not mined by children.

That is according to a report released by human rights group Amnesty International.

In a report into cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the group found children as young as seven working in dangerous conditions.

“Millions of people enjoy the benefits of new technologies but rarely ask how they are made. It is high time the big brands took some responsibility for the mining of the raw materials that make their lucrative products,” Business and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International, Mark Dummett said.

“The glamorous shop displays and marketing of state of the art technologies are a stark contrast to the children carrying bags of rocks, and miners in narrow manmade tunnels risking permanent lung damage,” he added.

Cobalt is a vital component of lithium-ion batteries.

The firms have however denied the accusations saying that they have a zero tolerance policy towards child labour.

Amnesty International says miners working in the area face long-term health problems and the risk of fatal accidents

The DRC produces at least 50% of the world’s cobalt.