Foxconn Plans US Display Plant for Over $10 Billion, Scouting for Location

Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker and a major Apple supplier, plans to invest more than $10 billion (roughly Rs. 64,588 crores) in a display-making factory in the United States and will decide on the location of the plant next month.

The Taiwan-based firm has been eyeing US investments for some time and its CEO, Terry Gou, had previously said the company hoped to spend over $7 billion to set up a display-making plant in the country – which has no panel-making industry but is the No.2 market for televisions.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, is currently considering Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina as possible locations, Gou told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday.

“In July we will make a conclusion,” Gou said, adding the company would invest the money over five years.

Foxconn operates vast factories in China, where it employs a million people and makes most of Apple’s iPhones, but so far it has not invested heavily in manufacturing in the United States.

“This time we go to America, it’s not just to build a factory, but to move our entire supply chain there,” Gou told shareholders, without providing specific details.

While the plant would create jobs, Gou added it would not employ as many people as in its China plants, as the cost of labour is higher and the plant would rely on automation.

“In the US, the state governors’ sincerity and confidence to attract investment … is beyond my imagination,” Gou said.

Foxconn Plans US Display Plant for Over $10 Billion, Scouting for LocationPresident Donald Trump has called for firms to build more products in the United States. He has made several announcements since his election in November about US investments by both foreign and domestic manufacturers, building on his campaign focus on preserving and creating American jobs.

According to Tai Jeng-wu, CEO of Foxconn’s Japanese unit Sharp, six US states were being looked at for a possible location for the display-making plant.

Foxconn already has operations in Pennsylvania.

Gou said that an agreement announced four years ago to invest in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was still pending.

ZTE Small Fresh 5 With 4GB RAM, Dual Rear Cameras Launched

ZTE launched its Small Fresh 4 last year and the company has now the launched the smartphone’s successor – Small Fresh 5 – in China. The most interesting feature in the new iteration of the smartphone series is its rear camera setup, which now comes with two sensors for capturing images with depth of the field. The phone will be available in colours including Dark Grey, Grass Green, Elegant Gold, and Glacier Blue.

The ZTE Small Fresh 5 has been launched by the company in two RAM/ storage variants, i.e 3GB RAM/ 16GB storage and 4GB RAM/ 32GB storage, priced at CNY 999 (roughly Rs. 9,400) and CNY 1399 (roughly Rs. 13,200) respectively. The smartphone will be made available for purchase in the country from July 5 onwards.

ZTE Small Fresh 5 With 4GB RAM, Dual Rear Cameras LaunchedThe dual-SIM Small Fresh 5 runs MiFavor UI 4.2 based on Android 7.1 Nougat out-of-the-box and sports a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. The smartphone is powered by a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with either of the RAM variants mentioned above.

In terms of optics, the dual rear camera setup on the ZTE Small Fresh 5 comes with a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor as well. At the front, the smartphone features a 5-megapixel camera for clicking selfies. The phone comes with a fingerprint scanner, located at the back, as well.

The storage on the ZTE Small Fresh 5 is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). The connectivity options on the smartphone include 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and GPS + GLONASS. The smartphone houses a 2500mAh battery, measures 145×70.7×7.9mm, and weighs 132 grams.

Cybercrime-Related Losses Rose 24 Percent in 2016, Says FBI

Losses from cybercrimes rose 24 percent in 2016 to over $1.33 billion (roughly Rs. 8,589 crores), according to a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

The centre, which was set up in 2000 to receive complaints of internet crime, received 300,000 complaints during the year from hacking victims.

Businesses lost $360 million to cyber criminals, who tricked them into wiring money using fraudulent emails that appeared to be from corporate executives and suppliers, according to the report released on Wednesday.

Cybercrime-Related Losses Rose 24 Percent in 2016, Says FBIIC3 said it received 2,673 complaints last year from victims of ransomware, with losses totalling over $2.4 million.

In May, the WannaCry ransomware attack infected 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries, disrupting factories, hospitals, shops and schools.

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts data on infected machines, then typically asks users to pay ransoms in hard-to-trace digital currencies to get an electronic key so they can retrieve their data.

Snapchat Launches Snap Map, a Location Sharing Feature

After being reported to acquire social map app Zenly, photo-sharing app Snapchat has introduced location sharing feature Snap Map on its platform.

The feature that lets you share your current location, which appears to friends on a map and updates when you open Snapchat, was rolled out on Wednesday to all iOS and Android users globally, TechCrunch reported.

“We have built a whole new way to explore the world! See what is happening, find your friends and get inspired to go on an adventure!,” said Snapchat in its blog.

Once you have access to the feature in the app, you can choose to share your location with all your friends, a few friends you select, or you can disappear from the map at any time by going into “Ghost Mode” or not opening Snapchat for a few hours.

Snapchat Launches Snap Map, a Location Sharing FeatureTo access the Snap Map, you pinch on your Snapchat camera home screen. From there you can scroll around to see where friends are in your city or around the world.

Outside of the location-sharing element, Snap Map also gives users an alternative way to discover Story content beyond the well-worn Stories feed and the powerful “Story Search” feature.

Users can see “heat” colors on the Snap Map to see where lots of Snaps are being uploaded, which might indicate a concert or big event from which you’d want to explore Snap Stories.

Snap Map would compete with Facebook Messenger’s “Live Location” feature. But because Snap Map only updates when you open the app, it’s more geared toward privacy and saving battery life.

Foxconn Says Pursuit of Toshiba Deal ‘Not Over’

The head of Taiwan’s tech giant Foxconn said Thursday its pursuit of Toshiba “is not yet over”, a day after the Japanese firm announced it preferred another group of bidders to acquire its prized chip business.

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai, is controlled by billionaire Terry Gou and reportedly had Apple as a financial backer in its multi-billion dollar bid for Toshiba’s memory chip unit, seen as crucial for the cash-strapped Japanese firm to turn itself around.

Toshiba said Wednesday it would hold exclusive talks with a consortium of US, South Korean and state-backed Japanese investors, dashing Gou’s ambitions.

But the Foxconn chairman vowed to keep pursuing the acquisition, saying the Taiwanese firm still has a chance.

“The Toshiba case is not yet over. It is very similar to the Sharp deal,” Gou told shareholders at an annual meeting in New Taipei City.

He was referring to his takeover last year of the Japanese electronics firm for $3.7 billion, a move he described as “really worth it.”

Foxconn Says Pursuit of Toshiba Deal 'Not Over'Gou is known for his aggressive dealmaking prowess, shown by his dogged determination to acquire Sharp despite concerns over the Japanese firm’s mounting losses.

“We still have a big chance,” he said at Thursday’s meeting of the Toshiba quest, adding there were still “a lot of variables”.

The inclusion of Japanese investors in the selected bidding group by Toshiba will ease reported government concerns about losing a sensitive technology to foreign owners.

But a Foxconn official criticized Japanese authorities for taking a protectionist approach.

“There’s no end to their corporate crisis if they are not able to open up,” said Tai Jeng-wu, who took over as president of Sharp after Foxconn’s buyout.

The Taiwanese firm is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and is best-known for assembling products for international brands such as Apple and Sony.

Gou said earlier this year he was mulling a $7 billion investment to make flat panels in the United States in a joint project with Japan’s Softbank.

He also said Foxconn aimed to increase investment in China this year to try to boost Sharp’s market share in the country.

Google to Push for Law Enforcement to Have More Access to Overseas Data

Alphabet’s Google will press US lawmakers on Thursday to update laws on how governments access customer data stored on servers located in other countries, hoping to address a mounting concern for both law enforcement officials and Silicon Valley.

The push comes amid growing legal uncertainty, both in the United States and across the globe, about how technology firms must comply with government requests for foreign-held data. That has raised alarm that criminal and terrorism investigations are being hindered by outdated laws that make the current process for sharing information slow and burdensome.

Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel, will announce the company’s framework during a speech in Washington, DC, at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that wields influence in the Trump White House and Republican-controlled Congress.

The speech urges Congress to update a decades-old electronic communications law and follows similar efforts by Microsoft.

Both companies had previously objected in court to US law enforcement efforts to use domestic search warrants for data held overseas because the practice could erode user privacy. But the tech industry and privacy advocates have also admitted the current rules for appropriate cross-border data requests are untenable.

Google to Push for Law Enforcement to Have More Access to Overseas DataThe Mountain View, California-based company calls for allowing countries that commit to baseline privacy, human rights and due process principles to directly request data from US providers without the need to consult the US government as an intermediary. It is intended to be reciprocal.

Countries that do not adhere to the standards, such as an oppressive regime, would not be eligible.

Google did not detail specific baseline principles in its framework.

“This couldn’t be a more urgent set of issues,” Walker said in an interview, noting that recent acts of terrorism in Europe underscored the need to move quickly.

Current agreements that allow law enforcement access to data stored overseas, known as mutual legal assistance treaties, involve a formal diplomatic request for data and require the host country obtain a warrant on behalf of the requesting country. That can often take several months.

In January, a divided federal appeals court refused to reconsider its decision from last year that said the US government could not force Microsoft or other companies to hand over customer data stored abroad under a domestic warrant.

The US Justice Department has until midnight on Friday to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court. It did not respond to a request for comment.

US judges have ruled against Google in similar recent cases, however, elevating the potential for Supreme Court review.

Companies, privacy advocates and judges themselves have urged Congress to address the problem rather than leave it to courts.

Google will also ask Congress to codify warrant requirements for data requests that involve content, such as the actual message found within an email.

Chris Calabrese, vice president of policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said Google’s framework was “broadly correct” but urged caution about the process for letting countries make direct requests to providers.

“We need to make sure the people in the club are the right people,” he said.

Nissan Plans Driverless Ride-Hailing Service to Beat Off Startup Competition

Nissan Motor on Thursday said it plans to launch driverless ride-hailing and ride-sharing services in coming years, as the automaker looks beyond making and selling cars to survive an industry being quickly transformed by new services.

Automakers are leveraging expertise in automated driving functions for mass-market cars to develop mobility services, as they compete with tech firms such as Alphabet and Uber in the fast-growing “pay-per-ride” market which threatens to hit demand for car ownership.

Ogi Redzic, head of Nissan-Renault’s Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services division, said the alliance would begin self-driving services based on its electric cars “certainly within 10 years,” though not likely before 2020.

“We think that the big opportunity for us is in automation, electric vehicles and ride-sharing and hailing together,” Redzic said in an interview.

Nissan and Renault join a small group of automakers aiming to enter the ride-hailing market, which Goldman Sachs last month estimated would grow eightfold by 2030 to be five times the size of the taxi market.

Nissan Plans Driverless Ride-Hailing Service to Beat Off Startup CompetitionRedzic said the Japanese and French partners were testing self-driving vehicles, and that any service would run on pre-mapped courses with predetermined pick-up and drop-off points.

The two automakers are developing the system with Japanese game software maker DeNA Co Ltd and French public transport operator Transdev SA.

German rival BMW is also testing autonomous vehicles for use in ride-hailing services, while Uber has been developing self-driving technology.

US tech firm nuTonomy and ride services company Lyft, which counts General Motors as a major shareholder, this month announced they would begin piloting an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service in Boston.

Redzic said to market a self-driving service, regulations need to change to allow driverless cars on roads. At the moment, most global jurisdictions do not expressly authorise vehicles to operate on regular roads without a driver.

“It doesn’t just depend on us,” he said. “To become fully driverless you need laws to change.”

iPhone 8’s Anticipated In-Screen Fingerprint Sensor Delaying Shipments: Report

While a recent report suggested that Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will not feature a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display, it seems like Apple’s implementation of the feature has also hit a roadblock. If the latest reports are to be believed, iPhone 8 production may have been delayed as the Cupertino-based company has still not finalised the design for the fingerprint scanner embedded in the display.

Investment firm Cowen & Co. has claimed that Apple is yet to finalise plans for the implementation of Touch ID on iPhone 8, as per a memo received by CNET. Citing analysts, the report says that currently, Apple is considering three options for the fingerprint sensor on the upcoming iPhone 8.

As the first option, the company is considering “thinning the cover glass for the fingerprint area (cover glass cutout).” The second option under consideration would be to create a pin hole through the glass for optical or ultrasonic fingerprint sensing. The final option would be to replace the the AuthenTec Touch ID with a ‘film’ fingerprint sensor that is integrated with the display, as per the report.

iPhone 8's Anticipated In-Screen Fingerprint Sensor Delaying Shipments: ReportAs the iPhone-maker still seems to be deliberating upon these options, the investment firm has predicted that the iPhone 8 shipments will be delayed by a month of two and will eventually go on sale in the fourth quarter this year. In order to make up for this expected delay, Cowen says that Apple can possibly stock as many as 90 million iPhone units in fourth quarter of 2017.

Notably, all the options mentioned above suggest that the fingerprint scanner will be present at the front of the display and not at the back, as has been suggested by some earlier rumours.

Interestingly, the same report that suggested Galaxy Note 8 will not be getting an in-screen fingerprint sensor due to security issues also suggested that Apple has succeeded in the implementation of the feature on iPhone 8. While the report mentioned that the company faced its fair share of problems with the design, it said that the Cupertino-based tech giant finally succeeded in introducing it.

Google Play Hit by More Ztorg-Based Android Malware, Says Kaspersky Labs

In a bid to increase security on its Android platform, Google has reportedly removed more Android apps from its Google Play store for the second time this month. Google has taken strict action against two malicious apps – Magic Browser and Noise Detector – acting as conduits for attackers to remotely ‘root’ control the infected devices after a researcher from Kaspersky Lab pointed out the threat in his report. The Android malware carried by these apps belongs to the Ztorg Trojan family, which is notoriously known for bypassing Google’s safety controls to root infected Android devices.

In a report published on Kaspersky Lab’s Securelist website, senior researcher Roman Unuchek presents extensive analysis on the new Ztorg-based malware. Kaspersky Lab says Ztorg malware bypassed Google’s malware checks almost 100 times since September last year, and the malware family is best known for gaining ‘root’ privileges of infected devices to completely control them. Ztorg apps like Privacy Lock and a false Pokemon Go guide raked in huge download numbers before they were recognised as malicious and deleted from Google Play.

Google Play Hit by More Ztorg-Based Android Malware, Says Kaspersky LabsComing to the current batch of apps, the first one is Magic Browser that pretended to be a Chrome browser alternative in Google Play. It was published on May 15 and had been downloaded over 50,000 times before it was finally removed. The other app is Noise Detector that was meant to allow users to measure the decibel level of sounds and had more than 10,000 downloads before its removal.

Both the apps, as we mentioned, belonged to the Ztorg Trojan family, but didn’t root affected devices before their removal. Unuchek says the app had the Ztorg digital fingerprint, and speculates that the developers may soon have added the root ability if the apps hadn’t been removed.

Unuchek says the Magic Browser app was being used by developers to either test or use malicious text messaging functions. The Magic Browser could send premium text messages to infected phone numbers and leave no traces behind by even deleting the incoming messages and muting the notification sound. “In total, the Magic browser app tries to send SMS from 11 different places in its code. Cybercriminals are doing this in order to be able to send SMS from different Android versions and devices. Furthermore, I was able to find another modification of the Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Ztorg that is trying to send an SMS via the “am” command, although this approach should not work,” reads Unuchek’s report.

Sony Launches 2017 Lineup of Its 4K HDR TVs in India

Sony has launched the 2017 models of its 4K HDR TV line-up in India, starting at Rs. 72,900 for the 43-inch model. A total of 17 models are being launched across six different series: X95E, X94E/ X93E, X90E, X82E, X75E, and X70E. While most of them go on sale this week in Sony stores across India, some will be releasing in the near future. There’s no mention of Sony’s OLED 4K TV, which stole the show at CES 2017.

The biggest and most expensive of the lot is the 75-inch X94E, which costs a whopping Rs. 6,04,900. The X95E is Sony’s new top of the line 4K HDR TV, priced at Rs. 3,04,900 for the 55-inch model, and Rs. 4,04,900 for the 65-inch one. The X93E comes after that, coming in at Rs. 2,64,900 for 55-inch, and Rs. 3,64,900 for the 65-inch.

Stepping down further, you get the X90E series, which starts at a slightly more reasonable Rs. 1,54,900 for the 49-inch model. The 55-inch and 65-inch X90E models cost Rs. 2,04,900 and Rs. 2,84,900 respectively. Further down the line you’ve the X82E, costing Rs. 87,900 for 43-inch, Rs. 1,24,900 for the 49-inch, and Rs. 1,54,900 for the 55-inch.

In the X70E line-up, you can choose from the aforementioned 43-inch model, at Rs. 72,900. If you need something bigger, the 49-inch X70E costs Rs. 94,900. That leaves the X75E – in 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch variants – which don’t have prices or a release date yet.

Sony Launches 2017 Lineup of Its 4K HDR TVs in IndiaThe reason the X94E is so expensive isn’t just for its size (75-inch), but also because it has direct LED technology in its panel, as opposed to edge LED on the rest of the 2017 Sony line-up. That means the LEDs are behind the panel, which provides better contrast and brightness, at the expense of thickness and a premium. The X90E models also have direct LED.

To compensate on the X95E and X93E (which have edge LED), Sony is touting “Slim Backlight Drive+” for more brightness, which it says brings more accurate local dimming control. From X90E upwards, the Sony 4K HDR TVs also have better systems for picture processing, and clarity, and contrast enhancement.

In terms of connectivity, you get four HDMI inputs on X82E onwards. While the X82E has two on the side and the back, X90E has three on the side and one on the back. There is one on the side and three at the bottom in the X93E, X94E, and X95E. The X70E has three in total, two on the side and one in the back.

The entire Sony X-series runs Android TV 7.0 Nougat by default, with Sony’s own interface running on top of it. The Android aspect is stressed on the remote as well, with dedicated buttons for Netflix, Google Play Store, and YouTube. All of Sony’s 2017 Android TVs are part of Netflix’s recommended programme, if that’s a checkbox for you.