Weekly Tech News Headlines – Jan 20 2021


Ban on Huawei strengthens in USA

According to sources from Reuters, the Trump administration in its last few days of office has decided to revoke the licenses of companies that supply materials to the Chinese Telecommunication giant, Huawei. Companies like Intel and Japanese chip maker Kioxia Corp were informed that they would no longer be able to sell to Huawei. The administration plans to revoke several dozen more such licenses.

US President Donald Trump has long considered Huawei’s dominance in the telecommunications world to be a threat to their national security. Huawei in May 2019, is put on an “entity list,” which meant that US companies could not sell or transfer technology to Huawei or any of its affiliates without a license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List. After this Huawei smartphones market has also lost a significant share internationally since they cannot provide different Google services to their customers.

Outside the US, the British Government has banned the purchase of new Huawei 5G equipment after December 31, 2020, and vowed to remove all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by the end of 2027.


Fitbit joins Google

Google has successfully completed the acquisition of smart wearable company Fitbit. Google on its blog wrote that the deal has been completed after a year when the company purchased Fitbit for $2.1 billion. Fitbit currently has more than 29 million active users and Google said that they’ll work closely with Fitbit to create new devices and services. Google also added that this deal has always been about devices, not data, and confirms Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be separated from other Google ads data.

Fitbit CEO James Park also wrote in official blog that Fitbit will continue to work with both Android and iOS devices and the things you know and love about Fitbit will remain the same.

Google and Fitbit had first announced the merger in October 2019 but the deal took over a year to materialise due to delay in approvals from the European and Australian regulators.

WhatsApp delays its policy update push

WhatsApp seems to be in the news continuously. After its controversial update push, WhatsApp has delayed the implementation of its new privacy policy. The original update which was scheduled to get into effect from February 8 is now pushed until May month and the company stated that they are still working to counter any confusion by communicating directly with WhatsApp users. Continuing its efforts to keep its users, WhatsApp has been circulating full page newspaper advertisements across India and has been reaching out to its customers by sending messages through WhatsApp status feature in the app itself.

In another news, there has been a petition filed in Delhi High court against both WhatsApp and Facebook regarding the new policy. The court will carry out a detailed hearing on the matter on January 25. However during the arguments, the court said that WhatsApp was a private app and that people were free to not use it.

Adding to this, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has sent a letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart asking it to keep Indian users out of the new privacy policy and the new terms and conditions. One of the key objections raised by the MEITY is the non-voluntary nature of the new policy. In its letter to WhatsApp the ministry has raised several questions and objections. The letter notes that sharing of some data — including business data — generated with WhatsApp with Facebook will weaken the information security of the users. The government also takes objection to the fact that WhatsApp has different policies for different users. For example, the same policy is not implemented in the European Union region by WhatsApp.


Hike messenger shutdown its services

Indian messaging app Hike which was launched in 2012 and later rebranded as Hike StickerChat in 2019, is now shutting down its messaging services. Kavin Bharti Mittal, CEO of Hike Messenger, through his Twitter handle, said the Hike chat app would be shutting down from January 15, 2021. The specific reasons for shutdown is not quoted, however it can be connected as hike inability to compete with foreign messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram.

In Aug 2016, Hike had close to 100 million registered users and also supported 10 regional Indian languages. The app also attracted investment from big companies like Tencent Holdings, Foxconn Technology Group and Bharti Group.

The brand is all set to replace Hike Messenger with Vibe and Rush. Vibe is a platform which provides users with a space for ‘virtual hang-outs’ with friends and Rush is a new bite size gaming service.

Now the app Hike Sticker Chat is no longer available to download from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Users of Hike Messenger can get their conversations and data downloaded from within the app itself.

Online Sale week in India

Amazon and Flipkart are currently offering heavy discounts on their website on the occasion of upcoming Republic Day in India. Flipkart Big Saving Days will continue till Jan 24th of this week and has partnered with HDFC bank to offer an additional 10 percent instant discount upto Rs 1,500 for bank cardholders. On the other hand, Amazon Great Republic Day sale is also offering great deals on smartphones, laptops, amazon devices and appliances. Amazon has tied up with SBI bank card holders offering them 10 percent of instant discount upto Rs 1,500. The sale duration on Amazon India is announced to run till 23th Jan.

Both websites are offering huge discounts on products from Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, Sony and many other brands. So if your upcoming plan includes additions of new electronics in your inventory, you can browse through both websites to grab the best deals out of them.

By LTR Admin

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