This September took off with an important trade show for the mobile technology world, where several interesting devices were launched. At the same time, September 2018 marks a significant anniversary for one of the most popular mobile operating systems. Nonetheless, this anniversary is a little marred by the findings of a survey concerning app safety.
At the same time, one of the key players in the mobile technology world has launched new devices and software updates during a traditional annual event hosted at its headquarters. Meanwhile, a regulatory body is stepping forward to set some rules for the way local authorities can charge for the deployment of high speed mobile internet.
Let’s delve into the key news and events in the mobile technology world one by one.
Android Turns 10 Years Old
Google’s mobile operating system has turned 10 years old this September. It all started with the T-Mobile G1 smartphone, manufactured by HTC and running on Android v1.1. At the moment of its launch, Android had two strong competitors: Apple iOS and Nokia Symbian OS.
By 2010, Android ruled over all mobile operating systems in terms of number of active devices running it. At the moment, Google’s open source mobile OS holds 88% of the market share. For nostalgia’s sake, here is how the Google team introduced Android to the world:
Highlights from IFA Berlin 2018
IFA Berlin is said to be the European contender of US-based CES. Taking place at a comfortable span of 6 months, both events are worth attending and represent popular platform for key announcements and product launches.
The event, this year hosted from August 31 to September 5, is a magnet for anyone interested in discovering the latest technologies incorporated in consumer appliances, smart devices, and other related products.
The mobile producer Huawei took advantage of this year’s IFA Berlin trade show to unveil its latest mobile chip – Kirin 980. This chip performs better than its predecessors and even better than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, which is equipped on rival Samsung’s flagships Galaxy S9 and Note 9.
Sony also opted to launch a new phone model at IFA Berlin. Xperia XZ3 incorporates Sony’s patented Bravia technology in its 6-inch display. This technology is known for deep black tones, sharp images and vibrant, lifelike colors. Following the general trend for smartphone flagships, Sony Xperia XZ3 has a curved screen around the edges. The phone is equipped with a 19 MP Motion Eye back camera, capable of recording 4K HDR movies.
Not to be left behind, Honor has brought its latest gaming phone to IFA Berlin, Honor Play. The company has overcome some key problems in developing a device that offers a fully immersive, non-stop gaming experience by partnering with PUBG MOBILE to fix various performance issues. The company also presented a teaser for a future flagship model, called Magic 2. The phone will be equipped with a pop-up selfie camera and with Honor’s own virtual assistant, called YoYo.
Many other innovative products presented at IFA Berlin focused on delivering a high-end wireless sound quality packed in designer speakers which embrace modern art or pop culture styles.
Apple Special Event: the Launch Pad for New Smartphones and Software Updates
For some years now, Apple has been hosting an event in September to present their latest products and innovations. This year, the Steve Jobs Theater at the company headquarters was the launching pad for three new smartphones: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.
iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max
All three devices follow the design lines of last year’s iPhone X model. The XS range features a Super Retina Display and A12 Bionic chip with advanced FaceID capabilities.
iPhone XR is aimed at people who want to see more variety in the available colors. Equipped with the brand-new Liquid Retina display, the smartphone also runs on A12 Bionic chip and features an innovative camera system with Depth Control. It will be available in six colors: coral, white, black, red, yellow and blue.
The Cupertino-based company also announced software updates for its entire range of products: iOS12 for smartphones, mac OS Mojave for laptops, watchOS 5 for smartwatches and tvOS 12 for smart TVs. All updates will be deployed by the end of September.
Android Apps, Plagued by Security Risks
In the same month when Android OS turns 10 years old, the American Consumer Institute released a concerning report. The researchers focused on the analysis of the most popular mobile apps from the point of view of their safety.
The research selected 330 Android apps for analysis. Out of these, 32% (105 apps) had multiple security vulnerabilities. The average number of vulnerabilities per app is also high – no less than 19. These vulnerabilities range from low risk to high and critical risk.
The researchers found that 43% of the total 1,978 vulnerabilities identified are classified as high and critical risks. These were found in a wide range of popular apps - including banking, ticket purchasing, travel, and sports apps.
“Apps from trusted brands including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, the NFL, Sephora, McDonalds, Instagram and Snapchat, among many others, could put businesses and consumers at risk, if left unpatched for known vulnerabilities. We are calling on all apps developers to redouble their efforts to find vulnerable code and to use the latest patches to plug these security holes,” said the President of the American Consumer Institute, Steve Pociask.
FCC Imposes Limits to the Fees Cities Can Charge for 5D Deployment
The Federal Communications Commission is ready to issue a set of rules which will limit the local governments in charging carriers for the deployment of small radio devices which will enable 5G mobile internet.
The Commission will vote for these rules on October 3 during the FCC’s monthly meeting. According to the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai: “By updating our rules to make it easier to install wireless infrastructure, the Commission is taking another critical step to promote U.S. leadership in 5G wireless services.”
The rules proposed by the FCC would oblige municipalities to charge only the cost of processing applications and managing rights of way, estimated by the Commission at $270 per cell site per year. However, at the moment, some cities charge as much as $5,100 (New York), while others charge only $148. On average, the fee paid by wireless carriers is $500 per pole per year.
However, critical voices rose to express their worries that this set of rules will limit the municipalities’ negotiation power with wireless carrier providers. Several Democrat members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the FCC with the request to postpone its vote on these rules.
The letter states the House Committee members’ worry that limiting the fees cities can charge “will only stifle local policy innovation, including efforts to bridge the digital divide.”