Phil Muncaster

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Smartphone user on Tube

Tizen: We have ignition! Smartmobes will come to fruition in spring - reports

Smartphones based on the long-awaited Tizen operating system will finally be unveiled in the next couple of months, according to new reports. Unnamed sources at some of the companies involved in the project told Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun that there’d be an “announcement” on a release date for a Samsung phone based on the OS …
Phil Muncaster, 09 Jan 2014

Apple lifts skirt, flashes leg at shoppers on Chinese web mall

Apple has taken the unprecedented step of touting its wares on a third party e-commerce platform in a bid to step up sales in China, with the launch of a TMall storefront. A spokesperson for parent company Alibaba confirmed to The Reg that the Apple Store at apple.tmall.com is an official Cupertino venture. The news comes on …
Phil Muncaster, 08 Jan 2014

OpenSUSE forums hacked in ANOTHER vBulletin attack

Linux distro openSUSE’s public forums have been compromised and defaced and tens of thousands of user email addresses exposed after a hacker exploited a zero day flaw in the underlying vBulletin software. OpenSUSE responded quickly to media reports about the breach on Tuesday by admitting the successful exploit had allowed the …
Phil Muncaster, 08 Jan 2014
Mobile Gaming

China finally lifts 13 YEAR gaming ban

China has officially overturned a 13-year ban on gaming consoles by allowing the production and sale of “gaming entertainment” in the newly created Shanghai Free Trade Zone. The official pronouncement by the State Council on Monday will open the way for foreign companies like Microsoft and Sony to sell their wares nationwide …
Phil Muncaster, 07 Jan 2014

NASSCOM appoints new boss to corral India's outsourcers

India’s all-powerful IT body NASSCOM has appointed a new head honcho to guide the industry to hoped-for revenues of $US300 billion (£183bn) by 2020. Former Indian telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar took the reins as president on Monday from the outgoing Som Mittal, who served from 2007. Unsurprisingly, he struck an optimistic …
Phil Muncaster, 07 Jan 2014
yulong Coolpad China smartphone logo

China's Coolpad predicts 40 MEEELLION 4G sales in 2014

Little-known Chinese smartphone maker Yulong has set its sights on global leader Samsung with the bold claim it will ship 40 million 4G handsets domestically this year under the Coolpad brand. The firm hopes to sell a further 20 million 3G smartphones in the Middle Kingdom in 2014, according to a microblog post seen by Reuters …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Jan 2014

Hong Kong to welcome planet's second EVER Bitcoin ATM

Hong Kong is set to make waves in the crypto-currency industry after it was revealed as the location for the world’s second Bitcoin ATM. Robocoin Technologies CEO Jordan Kelley told the South China Morning Post the company is looking at several potential sites in the Chinese SAR. "I think Hong Kong is a very progressive …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Jan 2014
lutetium rare earths element

China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

China is set to consolidate most of its sprawling rare earth industry under government control in a bid to better manage production and clamp down on smuggling and unlicensed players. An Economic Information Daily report claimed that a planned six state-run groups would control the majority of production in a country which is …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Jan 2014
Smartphone user on Tube

Used all your mobile data? Why not buy your mate's excess bits?

China Mobile has come up with a rather interesting way to help out customers who run out of data before the end of the month – a new trading platform which allows other customers to sell data bundles they haven’t used. The 2nd exchange market, aka "2cm", is a new app which the operator’s Hong Kong 4G Pro Service Plan customers …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Dec 2013
india

World's cheapest tablet just got CHEAPER

The world’s cheapest tablet is about to get even cheaper after Indian telecoms minister Kapil Sibal announced the subsidised Aakash 4 will eventually ship for just Rs.1,500 (£14). The Aakash project was originally conceived by New Delhi in 2011 as a way to get computing devices in the hands of millions of students across the sub …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Dec 2013

China's central bank hit by DDoS after Bitcoin blitz

Angry Bitcoin users are suspected of DDoS-ing the website of China’s central bank following tough new restrictions it levied this week which appear to have forced the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange into meltdown. Chinese news site 163.com (via The Diplomat) claimed that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) web site and weibo …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Dec 2013
datawind aakash 2 ubislate tablet

Datawind's low cost Aakash tab comes to UK, US

Datawind, the British company behind India’s low-cost Aakash tablet, is spreading its wings with the launch of the device in the UK this week and plans to sell in bricks and mortar stores in the US early next year. The firm’s UbiSlate 7Ci, the commercial name for the Aakash 2 tablet created to meet the needs of Indian students, …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Dec 2013

South Korean to spaff £290 MEEELLION on 5G land grab

South Korea has become the latest Asian nation to pledge its future to fifth-generation wireless networks, aka 5G, with Seoul set to stump up 500 billion won (£292m) to build a super-ultra-mega-fast network by 2020. Keen to maintain the country’s position at the apex of the most technologically advanced nations on Earth, the …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Dec 2013
Apple Store Scottsdale

Samsung poaches Apple store guru for US retail push

Samsung has hired one of Apple’s senior store designers in a sign that the Korean electronics giant could be hoping to make a bigger splash in the US with some eye-catching retail outlets. The chaebol behemoth’s US outpost snapped up Tim Gudgel as VP and GM of its retail sales operations, according to The Information. Gudgel …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Dec 2013

China turns screws on Bitcoin with third party payments ban

The emperor’s-new-clothes world of Bitcoin trading suffered another major blow this week after reports emerged that China has banned all third party payment providers from offering clearing services for digital currency exchanges. The Middle Kingdom’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), met with over ten payment …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Dec 2013
xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router

Xiaomi taps the HYPEGEIST with 10 pence DIY Wi-Fi router

What do you get for the geek who has everything this Christmas? Well, if you’re in China and you have 1 yuan (10p) to spare, Xiaomi has just launched in beta a self-assembly smart Wi-Fi router with a 1TB hard drive. Announced by former Android product manager Hugo Barra in a Google+ post on Monday (h/t TechInAsia), the new Mi Wi …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Dec 2013

Qualcomm pleads innocence as Chinese regulators turn the screw

Mobile CPU giant Qualcomm has released a lengthy statement denying any wrong-doing after Chinese media claimed regulators have “substantial evidence” in an anti-monopoly investigation which could lead to over $US1bn in fines for the firm. Qualcomm revealed at the end of November that China’s National Development and Reform …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Dec 2013

India's spooks prepare to peer through their own PRISM

The Indian government is gearing up to switch on "NETRA", a large scale internet surveillance system that will allow its spy agencies to monitor suspicious online communications in order to detect certain keywords. The Network Traffic Analysis system, to give NETRA its full name, will scan tweets, status updates, emails, IMs, …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Dec 2013
smarty ring smart ring device

Smarty Ring promises technology at your fingertips

A new smart ring which displays the time and alerts from the user’s phone has been getting the interwebs all in a flutter this week. Smarty Ring was the brainchild of Chennai-based mechatronics engineer Ashok Kumar, according to CBC News. A flashy web site offering pre-orders explains that the smart jewellery is compatible with …
Phil Muncaster, 12 Dec 2013

Dimmed but not out: Lantern anti-censorship tool blocked in China

China’s formidable censorship apparatus has finally caught up with a Washington-backed tool designed to help users bypass the Great Firewall, but its creators have vowed to bounce back. Lantern works like a P2P network, allowing users with access to the free internet to share their connections with those whose access is …
Phil Muncaster, 12 Dec 2013
Air pollution in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, in October 2013

China's answer to AIRPOCALYPSE: Fire up the supercomputer

China has decided to use the power of supercomputing to help in its on-going quest to beat the smog that is turning the country into an international coughing laughing stock. The Tianhe-1A, which took number one spot on the oft-changing Top 500 list for a few months in 2010, will be set to work trying to figure out the cause of …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Dec 2013
india

Nokia offers India £224 MEELLION to keep Microsoft deal on track

Nokia has made a desperate bid to ensure that one of its largest manufacturing facilities is transferred to Microsoft, by offering the Indian government a Rs2,250 crore ($369m, £224m) deposit to unfreeze its assets. The Finnish phone giant has promised to transfer the cash into an escrow account pending the result of a long- …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Dec 2013

Chinese hackers targeted G20 in Syria-themed attack

A Chinese hacking group managed to penetrate the networks of five European Union member states in advance of last year’s G20 Summit in a likely bid to lift data on the Syrian crisis, according to FireEye. The security firm told Reuters it monitored the classic targeted attack campaign for around a week in late August 2012, ahead …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Dec 2013

NYU drops Chen Guangcheng iOS spyware claims

New York University has dropped claims that blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng was given iOS devices pre-loaded with spyware by a supporter on his arrival at the uni last year. A joint statement from NYU and the accused aid organisation claimed that the allegations had been made “in good faith" but were based on a " …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Dec 2013
Mobile Gaming

Chinese gamer plays on while BMW burns to the ground

A Nanjing man was almost burned alive in his BMW because he was so engrossed playing a mobile phone game, according to local reports. This latest in a long line of “crazy Chinese gamer” yarns for once doesn’t involve murder, physical abuse or other tragedy, with the BMW owner escaping with his life. A passer-by, surnamed Wang, …
Phil Muncaster, 09 Dec 2013

Lantern lights the way to web freedom for Great Firewall prisoners

A Washington-backed peer-to-peer site designed to push holes through China’s Great Firewall has managed to accrue nearly 10,000 followers in the past fortnight. Lantern was not built specifically for China, but such is the appetite for unfettered internet access in the People’s Republic that around three-quarters of its users …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Dec 2013
Docomo safety mode warning advert

Japanese mobes to stop punters TXTing themselves under a bus

Japanese carrier Docomo will this week launch a new service designed to help wean customers off that anti-social habit of using their smartphone whilst walking, by effectively blocking the device when used on the move. The Japanese carrier said it will introduce its free anshin-mode, or “safety mode”, service on Thursday. If …
Phil Muncaster, 05 Dec 2013

Customs cops shutter 700+ domains in global anti-piracy blitz

Customs officers and cops across the globe have teamed up to take down over 700 domains selling pirated goods over the busy Thanksgiving holiday sales weekend. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) team joined forces with Europol and Hong Kong Customs to seize top level domains …
Phil Muncaster, 05 Dec 2013

Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

The Chinese government has urged Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP in order to boost Beijing’s anti-piracy efforts and head off a potentially huge security threat. Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of China’s National Copyright Administration, met Microsoft and other software companies in a bid to put some pressure on, …
Phil Muncaster, 04 Dec 2013

Chinese cops cuff Hong Kong Bitcoin scammers

Chinese police have nabbed three people suspected of running Bitcoin exchange GBL, which closed down abruptly in October taking with it over 25 million yuan (£2.5m, $US4.1m) of investors’ money. The three were arrested all over the country, in Guizhou province, Anhui province and Shenzhen city, according to Xinhua. They are a …
Phil Muncaster, 04 Dec 2013
Iranian flag flying

Stuxnet 2 in the works, claims Iranian news agency

Hold the front page: Saudi Arabian and Israeli spy agencies are developing a worm more powerful than Stuxnet to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program again, after meeting in Vienna last week. Sound a little far-fetched? Well, stranger things have happened but this particular yarn comes from Iran’s FARS news agency, thought to have …
Phil Muncaster, 03 Dec 2013

Half of all mobes sold in South-East Asia are now smart

Over half of all mobile phones sold in south-east Asia are now smartphones, as punters trade their feature phones in for low-cost, mainly Android-based handsets, in ever greater numbers this year. In the first three months of 2013 alone consumers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the …
Phil Muncaster, 02 Dec 2013
Jade Rabbit or Yutu lunar rover

China's Jade Rabbit takes great hop for mankind

China’s first lunar rover, dubbed Yutu or "Jade Rabbit", has finally left the hutch today as part of the Chang’e 3 mission to become the first Moon landing probe sent up by the People’s Republic. Given the ground-breaking nature of the flight, several of the country’s biggest names in technology were there to lend their support …
Phil Muncaster, 02 Dec 2013

Vietnam tightens noose on web freedoms with new decrees

Vietnam has introduced severe financial penalties in its ongoing bid to stifle web freedoms, including a fine of $US5,000 for anyone using social media to spread propaganda against the state. The ominous-sounding Decree 174 follows up on Decree 72, which came into force in September and limits the use of blogs and social media …
Phil Muncaster, 29 Nov 2013
A US Army M1A1 Abrams tank heads out on a mission from Forward Operating Base MacKenzie in Iraq on October 27, 2004

US army bites the bullet in $50m software piracy pay-out

The US army has been forced to pay out $50 million (£30.6m) for copyright infringement after admitting it installed software on thousands of devices without forking out for it. Texas-based Apptricity produces logistics software which the military uses to manage the movement of troops, transport and other supplies across the …
Phil Muncaster, 29 Nov 2013
The chinese characters for China as used in the new .中国  domain

Chinese iPhone thief returns SIM, contact list to rightful owner

A Chinese iPhone thief has gone to extraordinary lengths to atone for his crime, copying out all 1,000 address book contacts onto paper and sending them to the phone’s owner. In an act of kindness rarely observed by the criminal fraternity, the pickpocket wrote out 11 pages of telephone numbers in total, according to a Xinhua …
Phil Muncaster, 29 Nov 2013
Kinect family gaming

Chinese prof brands gamers no better than drug dealers

A Chinese newspaper has managed to offend most of the nation’s gaming community by quoting an addiction “expert” who likened gamers to drug dealers. Guangdong-based Communist Party mouthpiece the Southern Daily spoke to a “distinguished” university professor Tao Hongkai for the rent-a-quote outburst, in a piece of reporting …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Nov 2013

Singaporean finn-off 'Newkia' readies Android phones

Singapore-based smartphone biz Newkia, started by a former Nokia APAC boss, has named its first global CEO to help it realise a mission to launch the Android handsets the Finnish firm never could. Urpo Karjalainen, who was marketing and sales VP for Nokia in APAC in the 90s and recently BlackBerry’s APAC MD, will take the helm, …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Nov 2013
Hong Kong datacentre asicminer man standing

Hong Kong Bitcoin miners pour datacentre in a FISH TANK

A Hong Kong Bitcoin mining company has hit upon an unusual design for its new datacentre, immersing its server blades in metre-high glass tanks of bubbling cooling liquid. The discovery was made by Bitcell’s Xiaogang Cao, who was invited into mining biz Asicminer’s Kwai Chung facility in the New Territories a few days ago to …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Nov 2013

Microsoft announces new Skype China partner

Microsoft has announced a new JV partner offering Skype services to users in China, but it's likely to continue monitoring text chats and blocking banned keywords according to local laws. Previous China partner TOM wrongly declared earlier this month that Microsoft would be taking sole control of Skype in China from 24 November …
Phil Muncaster, 27 Nov 2013
iphone_3gs_temp_warning

Thai man reportedly dies clutching his scorched iPhone 4S

A 28-year-old Thai man has become the latest to die after talking on his iPhone whilst it was charging, according to local media reports. The man from Chanthaburi province was discovered lying face down on the cement floor of his room clutching a black 4S device which was plugged into the wall through a charger. His 52-year-old …
Phil Muncaster, 27 Nov 2013

Beer giant San Miguel to become mobile operator

Asia Pacific brewing giant San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is planning a sideways step into the telecoms space by becoming a mobile operator in its home country of the Philippines next year. The firm, which has been brewing beer in the south-east Asian nation since 1889, will enter a market dominated by Smart Communications, a …
Phil Muncaster, 27 Nov 2013
Barbed wire surrounding communications tower

Google, please DRILL through Great Firewall of China with your HTTPS LANCE

A non-profit anti-censorship body has called on Eric Schmidt and Google to lead by example and call China’s bluff on web censorship with a simple two-pronged approach. GreatFire.org co-founder Charlie Smith claimed in a blog post that Google should switch its China search service to HTTPS by default, as it does in the US, which …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Nov 2013
Pebble smartwatch

ZTE becomes latest to cuff self to smartwatch bandwagon

Chinese phone maker ZTE has become the latest vendor to cuff itself to the smartwatch bandwagon after announcing plans to launch a device in the second quarter of 2014. The Shenzhen firm’s head of handset marketing, Lu Qianhao, told the Wall Street Journal that ZTE would be “focusing on the mainstream market” with a device …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Nov 2013

US and Japanese chip firms team up on MRAM project

A group of over 20 Japanese and US chip companies are joining forces to develop a way to mass produce new low power memory chips that operate ten times faster than DRAM. Firms including Micron Technology – the world’s number two DRAM producer – Renesas, Hitachi and Tokyo Electron will send experts to Tohoku university to begin …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Nov 2013
Qualcomm Atheros AR9004TB

Sweaty palm time at Qualcomm after Beijing launches probe

Qualcomm is the latest US technology giant to find itself in trouble in China, having been placed under investigation in an anti-monopoly probe and suffering from the fallout over NSA spying revelations. The San-Diego-headquartered chipmaker put out a short release on Monday local time revealing that a probe had begun under the …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Nov 2013

China opens its ears to snooping in foreign tongues

China’s fearsome censorship and surveillance apparatus just got even more intimidating after the introduction of new technology to track communications in regional languages other than the Mandarin/Putonghua spoken in most of the country. The unnamed system was developed by Tsinghua university’s Centre for Intelligent Image and …
Phil Muncaster, 22 Nov 2013

Angry Nokia staff protest Microsoft deal in China

Hundreds of Nokia workers in China have protested the firm’s recent decision to sell its devices unit to Microsoft, complaining that they were forced to sign new contracts on worse terms. The disgruntled employees stood outside a Nokia plant in the southern city of Dongguan, holding signs with slogans that read "Legally protect …
Phil Muncaster, 22 Nov 2013
The Pirate Bay logo

Pirate Bay co-founder Svartholm Warg to be shipped to Denmark

Beardy Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg will be extradited to Denmark next week to face hacking charges, after a long journey which has already seen him deported from Cambodia to Sweden last year. The balding former pirateer will be forced from his homeland next Wednesday 27 November, prosecutor Henrik Olin told AFP …
Phil Muncaster, 22 Nov 2013
Google chairman Eric Schmidt, speaking at the 'How Green Is the Internet Summit'

Google's Schmidt predicts end to global censorship in a DECADE

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has been shooting his mouth of again – this time predicting the end of global internet censorship within a decade. The Chocolate Factory supremo was speaking at Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday. "First they try to block you; second, they try to infiltrate you; and third, you win. I …
Phil Muncaster, 21 Nov 2013