5-14: Allwinner chipsets might have security backdoor; Samsung Galaxy X next year would be a foldable 4K smartphone; Sony’s production at the Kumamoto Technology Center will resume operation; etc.

Allwinner system has a backdoor that could influence security of its chipsets; Samsung might have 5 flagships next year, and Galaxy X would be foldable 4K smartphone; Microsoft SparseLightVR could improve immersion experience and solving nausea of VR; Sony’s production at the Kumamoto Technology Center will resume operation; Xiaomi’s application for single brand retail has been put on hold by the Indian government; etc.


Allwinner apparently shipped a version of its Linux kernel with a ridiculously easy-to-use backdoor built in. All any code needs to do to gain root access is send the text “rootmydevice” to an undocumented debugging process. (CN Beta, 163, The Hacker News, Ars Technica)


SMIC, China’s largest foundry, will increase its capital expenditure budget for 2016 to USD2.5 billion on expectations that strong demand will continue for another 4 years. (EE Times, Seeking Alpha, Digitimes)


Samsung’s new patent describes a “wearable device and control method thereof” that seems more geared to the “virtual user interface”, which is projected onto the user’s arm or even nearby objects, than the hardware itself. The projected image can then be interacted with. (Phandroid, Android Headlines, USPTO, CN Beta)


Samsung reportedly will launch 5 flagships in 2017, including Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 edge, Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy Note 7 edge, and Galaxy X. Galaxy X is foldable smartphone featuring 4K display with diamond PenTile subpixel arrangement. (Ubergizmo, Phone Arena, Sam Mobile, TechWeb, Sina)


Microsoft Research has created SparseLightVR to combat VR nausea, which is built upon an Oculus Rift DK2 Prototype and uses an array of 70 LEDs placed around the outer edges of the eye displays to create a 170º field of view. (Android Headlines, Bit Tech, Digital Trends, ACM, Tuicool, Sohu, Gizmag)



Blips, created by Smart Micro Optics, which is a new pair of aftermarket smartphone lenses that claim to be the “thinnest macro and micro lenses”. Blips could soon be mass produced as small, attachable smartphone lenses that can capture both macro and micro imagery. (Digital Trends, Blips)

blips-2 blips

In its fourth update on the situation at its facilities which were affected by the quake, Sony has just reported overnight (US Eastern time) that production at the Kumamoto Technology Center operated by Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. should resume very shortly. (TechNews, Imaging Resource, Bloomberg, Press Release Point, Sony)


Researchers from Brazil have developed an interface that controls the wheelchair using facial, head, or iris movements. They built their first prototype using a standard motorized wheelchair that was modified using sensors and 3D cameras of RealSense. (Digital Trends, FapeSP, CYOL, Yahoo, Sohu)



According to Flurry data, health and fitness titles enjoy the highest loyalty rates of any iOS app category. About 35% of Apple iPhone users who download a health tracking app retain the software after a period of 30 days, using it just under 3 times a week on average. Android boasts 49% retention rate and usage frequency of over 3 times each week. (Flurry, press, Apple Insider)

flurry-loyalty-by-app-category-ios-2016 flurry-loyalty-by-app-category-android-2016

Xiaomi’s application for single brand retail has been put on hold by the government with the company being asked to provide more documents to support its application. (Times of India, Android Headlines)
Full connectivity, AI and security technologies will be the 3 key categories of technology for the future development in the next 25 years, according to Kevin Ho, president of Huawei handset business. (Digitimes, 10JQKA, Hexun)
Sony reportedly stops Xperia C and M series after stopping Xperia Z series in February 2016. All Sony smartphones to be branded X until 2018. (GSM Arena, Xperia Blog)


According to Futuresource Consulting, shipments of headphones worldwide grew 7% to reach 331.3 million units, while retail value surged by an impressive 19% to USD11.2 billion in 2015. The average price paid for a pair of headphones rose by 11% in 2015, to USD34. (The Verge, Futuresource, press)
China Mobile launches 2 value for money handsets: A1s – 5” HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916 processor, 8MP + 2MP cameras, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, LTE, 2300mAh battery, CNY499. A2 – 5.5” HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, LTE, 4000mAh battery, CNY799. (CN Beta, ZOL, Sina)



Canalys predicts vendors will ship 6.3 million virtual reality (VR) headsets worldwide in 2016, of which 40% will be in China. Barriers to enter the VR market have been lowered. (Canalys, press, Digitimes)


Google Play Developer Console website sports a new icon and words that says “Android VR” next to the Android Auto icon. (Ubergizmo, Android Police, 163, Sohu)


Meizu is reportedly entering virtual reality segment. (Gizmo China, Phones Review, Pocket Now, 163, IT168)


Cubot is planning to enter VR market. It seems to be eager into providing the “real” VR experience and planning to fully focus on creating their own VR ecosystem. (Gizmo China, Giz China)


Marvel VR uses smartphone, but claiming to provide a “virtual operating system” environment that is not just for gaming and entertainment, but for productivity and beyond. It offers an 180º field of view. (Android Authority, VR Source, Indiegogo, Kuv8, TechNews, Tuicool)


Samsung launches Charm activity band – tracks activity and uses a small LED light for customized notifications, 17mAh battery, priced at USD45. (Venture Beat, Phandroid, Android and Me, CN Beta, Samsung)


Hyundai has unveiled what is apparently a new robotic exoskeleton. It gives the wearer extra strength, allowing them to lift objects “hundreds of kilograms” in weight. In the future the exoskeleton could be used in factories, by the military, or to help with physical rehabilitation. (Engadget, Hyundai, The Verge, Hexun, 163)


Internet of Things

Hooking up with Didi could help Apple secure a firmer foothold in the world’s largest mobile arena at a time when the company is looking to combat a slump in its smartphone business. The tie-up also represents the company’s first public investment in the auto industry and could provide valuable insights should Apple proceed with its own car. (Bloomberg, New York Times, Business Times, CN Beta)

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