Huawei still some way behind rivals

Huawei still some way behind rivals

I've had some feedback expressing surprise that I invested in a smartwatch. Yes, I didn't think I'd see the day either, but it does function very well as a watch with changeable faces and at a price point that's far below some of the faces it can duplicate. The always-on test was a success in that I only turned the watch off when I wasn't using it on some evenings. It also does sleep tracking, which perhaps provides a sterner test, but it still provided a week's worth of use making it usable for many. On a longer trip you would need to take the charger along. Note that for both tests, I kept Bluetooth on the whole time.

Huawei have been advancing their mobile phone technology for some time now. A while back, I predicted that Huawei would surpass its rivals, especially given how good China is at copying others' innovations and ignoring the copyright implications. For example, after some improvements, they did this with Apple's 2017 FaceID technology. They have also produced a good version of an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Enter the Mate 20 Pro. The long exposure technology is excellent, as is the face recognition. There are five versions in this range from the Lite to the Porsche-branded model and the rather absurd 7.2-inch monster phablet for gamers. The Mate 20 Pro beat the OnePlus 6T and Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro to the under-screen sensor market, with Samsung considering this for their next models, perhaps. The speaker is cleverly built into the USB-C port. There is an obvious notch in the screen. The P20 version doesn't have a headphone jack, which I still find just plain silly. From just plain silly to just plain crazy, Huawei has gone for a proprietary memory card format, the NM or Nano Memory card. This alone is enough to keep me a long way away from this model. There are no real-world examples available yet to purchase so the P20 is essentially a fixed memory phone. Huawei also need to work on the user interface if they truly want to play against the big names.

In related news, Samsung is working on revamping its UI but only Samsung S9 users will be getting the update. For those lucky enough to have these models, the focus is on making things easier to reach with your fingers along with a better dark or power-saving mode.

Remember the flip phone patents I mentioned recently? Samsung has already announced one flip phone for the US and launched another one in China. The W2019 looks like an older model phone but with some upgrades. Both sides have a screen, so it's not the kind of flip phone I've been imagining, and I can't see how many people will adopt the technology. It's also around US$2700 (88,900 baht) in China, so again, a very small target market.

I recently watched a video on a first gen mobile phone that brought back some memories. What I hadn't realised is just how much those old phones could do and how much the networks had been compromised. If you want some nostalgia, then check out "Hacking the NEC P3 mobile phone" on YouTube.

Now, what do you get the boat owner who has everything? Well, what happens if the GPS network goes down? Basically, we would need to go back to maps, compasses and the like to navigate. Option 2 is a quantum accelerometer that is capable of measuring tiny shifts in ultra-cool atoms and calculating how far and fast a device has moved. Yes, a quantum compass. By using such a device, a vessel would know exactly where it is. The current version, built by scientists at Imperial College London, is about a metre square and very expensive. It also currently only works in 2D but is an early example of a technology that could end up in the driverless cars of the future.

The secure Edge browser from Microsoft can be compromised in eight different ways by a web page. Enter Patch Tuesday from Microsoft and for Adobe users as well. There is a total of 62 vulnerabilities for Microsoft and fixes for three Adobe products. Probably best to apply this one in the near future.

3D printers are now well in the user-affordable price range. In related news, scientists are asking for some research into the air quality in areas that use them, thanks to the ultrafine dust they generate. There are also the toxic chemicals generated during the fusing process. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US are not ready to make any definitive statements on the subject, but they are recommending that such devices be used in a well-aired environment and, for prolonged use, a face mask. The warning covers all public fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at

James Hein

IT professional

An IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. He has a column in Bangkok Post tech pages and has been writing without skipping a beat every week all these years.

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