ZTE is learning crowdfunding requires a crowd

A few days ago, ZTE's Jeff Yee posted a mea culpa on a company forum, explaining that his team had made a mistake. He was referring to Hawkeye, the culmination of the CSX project to design a smartphone with suggestions from the community. It was much…

‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ is called ‘The Last Jedi’

Holster those blasters. Turn off your lightsaber. Something important has just happened. The powers that be at Disney and Lucasfilm have decided to reveal the full name for Star Wars: Episode VIII today, which graces movie theaters on December 15th,…

‘Tekken 7’ delayed to June 2

After saying that it would arrive in early 2017, developer Bandai Namco revealed that Tekken 7 is coming to the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC later, on June 2nd. "We were trying our best to get the game out … as early as possible," director Katsuh…

Sprint Buys 33% of Jay Z’s Streaming Music Service Tidal, Plans Exclusives for Customers

Sprint today announced that it has acquired a 33 percent stake in Jay Z’s music streaming service Tidal, which the carrier said will soon give its customers “unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else.” Under the deal, artists partnering with Tidal will create music only available to new and existing Sprint customers.

As part of the deal, Sprint’s chief executive officer Marcelo Claure will also join Tidal’s board of directors. The carrier mentioned that Tidal will continue to function as normal, and Jay Z will remain in charge of the streaming service’s artists and music content. In a statement, Jay Z said that Sprint understands and shares Tidal’s goal of creating a dynamic and revolutionary addition to the streaming music service industry.

tidal-sprint

“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” said JAY Z. “Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”

Artists under Tidal will gain access to a dedicated marketing fund provided by Sprint, which the carrier says “will allow artists the flexibility to create and share their work with and for their fans.” Further information about the Sprint/Tidal partnership will be coming soon.

Apple was thought to be interested in acquiring Tidal last summer in an effort to further boost Apple Music, but the company eventually denied those reports with Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine saying “we’re not looking to acquire any streaming services.” Apple Music and Tidal have been competitors since their launch, each promoting exclusive artist deals with a rivalry that Kanye West said is negatively affecting the music industry as a whole.

Tags: Sprint, Tidal

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Hugo Barra Leaving Xiaomi and Returning to Silicon Valley Next Month

Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra today announced that he will be leaving the Chinese smartphone maker next month.

hugo-barra

The former senior Android executive at Google said he will be returning to Silicon Valley in February after the Chinese New Year to reunite with friends and family. He described moving to Beijing, some “6,500 miles out of his comfort zone,” as the “greatest and most challenging adventure” of his life.

But what I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.

Barra generated headlines in late 2013 when he left his senior position on the Android team to join Xiaomi. As Vice President of International, he helped expand the company’s global presence, although it has yet to officially enter the U.S. smartphone market dominated by the iPhone and other Android-based smartphones.

Xiaomi has made inroads in other countries, including India, where it generated $1 billion in annual revenues faster than any company in the country’s history. The smartphone maker has expanded into over 20 new markets overall, such as Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Mexico, and Poland.

As I thought about this late last year, I concluded that Xiaomi is in a very good place on its global expansion path, and if there was ever going to be a good time for me to come back home, that time is now — when I can confidently say our global business is no longer just an in-house startup.

In 2014, Xiaomi rose to become the world’s third largest smartphone maker behind Apple and Samsung, but it has since fallen out of the top five vendors, according to the latest data from research firm IDC.

mi-5

Xiaomi was sometimes described as “the Apple of China” after releasing a number of iPhone lookalikes, which Apple design chief Jony Ive took issue with.

“I’ll stand a little bit harsh, I don’t see it as flattery,” Ive told Vanity Fair in 2014. “When you’re doing something for the first time, you don’t know it’s gonna work. You spend seven or eight years working on something, and then’ copied. I think it is really straightforward. It is theft and it is lazy. I don’t think it is OK at all.”

Barra defended Xiaomi against the copycat accusations, claiming “people couldn’t bring themselves to believe a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products.”

Barra expressed tremendous gratitude for the opportunity he was afforded and said he will now take some “much-needed time off” before “embarking on a new adventure” back in Silicon Valley in the United States. He noted Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has asked him to remain an advisor to the company indefinitely.

Tags: China, Xiaomi

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Sprint buys a 33 percent stake in Tidal’s music service

Well, this was somewhat unexpected. Sprint just bought a 33 percent stake in Tidal, giving the carrier a significant (though not controlling) influence over Jay Z's streaming music service. They're not discussing the terms of the partnership, but i…

Apple Selects Wistron as First India-Based Supplier of the 2017 iPhone

Apple has tapped manufacturer Wistron as the first major supplier in India for this year’s iPhone 8, following multiple reports that the company has been looking into manufacturing its products locally in the country. According to a new report from DigiTimes, Wistron will become the first original equipment manufacturer for 2017 iPhones, while Foxconn and a collection of other suppliers are being eyed as back up OEMs “if demand increases.”

iphone-8

In a report by The Times of India last month, Apple was said to be looking into building an iPhone manufacturing plant in Bangalore, India with Wistron as a partner. That plant is believed to have production up and running by April and be a major contributor to the Indian iPhone supply chain by the end of 2017.

In today’s DigiTimes report, Wistron is specifically mentioned to have expanded smartphone production capacity in both India and China.

Apple has reportedly selected Wistron to be the first OEM in India for new iPhones to be launched in 2017, while Foxconn Electronics and other makers will become second OEMs if demand increases. In preparation for OEM production, Wistron has expanded smartphone production capacity in Kunshan, eastern China, and in India. Wistron chairman and CEO Simon Lin declined to comment.

Apple has been attempting to increase its presence in India throughout the past year, most recently looking into manufacturing its products locally, while also creating a new distribution center in India to consolidate its logistics and supply chain.

The company asked for tax concessions from the Indian government so it could get its facilities up and running at a smoother pace, but it was denied such benefits earlier this month. Still, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that India will keep an “open mind” for any future incentive requests from Apple.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: India, Wistron

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Twitter botnet quotes ‘Star Wars’ from the middle of the sea

Along with trolls and bullies, one of Twitter's biggest problems is bots — automated accounts that puff up follower numbers, troll users or turn fake news into trending topics. Researchers investigating botnets found maybe the strangest one ever: 35…