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How Does the Huawei US Ban Affect South Africans?

Staff Writer / 23-08-2019 / News

US President Donald Trump issued a ban last month, barring American companies from trading with certain Chinese companies, including Huawei, which has grown rapidly over the years to become one of the major players in the market with the release of popular devices like the Mate 20 and P30 Pro. As you may know, the ban means that Google would have to cut off Huawei’s access to its Android operating system, Google apps and security updates, leaving Huawei smartphone owners worried that their beloved devices just turned into expensive paperweights. There’s no need to panic, yet.

Not long after the ban was announced, Huawei was granted a 3-month grace period that would allow them to continue doing business with Google, meaning that current users of its devices would not be affected and can still access the Google Play Store, download apps such as Gmail and YouTube, and receive security updates and patches. The long-term plan is still unclear though as no-one can predict what will happen after the 3-month grace period ends on 19 August 2019, but just in case, Huawei is developing a backup plan.

Once news of the ban broke, Huawei revealed that it has been working on its own app store and operating system, similar to Apple’s App Store and iOS. It’s reportedly called Hong Meng, but details on whether it will be ready in time if the ban continues after the grace period have been scarce. Another concern is whether there is room for a new operating system, as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android pretty much dominate the smartphone industry worldwide. Even Microsoft had to abandon their Windows mobile OS because of poor adoption and lack of support from app developers. The other option Huawei has is switching all users to the open-source version of Android, but this OS will be limited in terms of access to Google’s apps, which will have to be accessed via a web browser or by side-loading the apps on devices, which may seem like too much trouble for the average user looking for a phone that just works right out of the box.

Huawei recently released a statement to the media: “Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry.

Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

For now, Huawei users will not be affected by the ban and can continue using their phones and updating them as usual. Just in case you were wondering, you cannot return your Huawei smartphone to the network you bought it from as, according to law, sellers cannot be held liable or responsible for external events that are out of their control. The bottom line is that you may never need to sell or dump your Huawei smartphone as the ban could be lifted even before the grace period runs out should Trump’s trade negotiations with China move ahead amicably.

TECH NEWS

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What to do if your phone is lost, stolen or damaged!

Having to deal with a lost, stolen, or damaged phone is a gut-wrenching experience that can happen anywhere, at any time. The good news is, there are always ways you can prepare for these situations and ensure that you incur as small a loss as possible. Lost Losing or misplacing a phone can happen to anyone especially if you’re stressed or doing too many things at once. If you’ve searched everywhere and still come up empty-handed – don't panic! ● Find my Phone Both the iPhone and the Android are enabled with technology to help you locate your phone quickly and accurately. Find My iPhone helps you track your phone using your Apple account details on any other device. For Android users, a feature known as Find My Device, it works similarly and is linked to your Google account. ● Insurance If you have a new phone, it’s advisable to apply for comprehensive cellphone insurance with your cellphone provider as this will cover you in the event of a loss. But remember, you can only apply for this within a certain time frame after you purchase your device. ● Information backup Lost your phone and worried about your pictures and videos? If automatic backups were activated on the device before the loss, there’s no need to worry. For Android users, a copy of all your data will be uploaded to your Google Drive, while iPhone users can find this on their iCloud account. ● Contact your network provider If after some time you still can’t locate your phone, there is a chance it has ended up in the wrong hands. Because of this, you need to have it blacklisted immediately and have your SIM blocked with the help of your service provider. Your provider will also provide you with an ITC number as this will be required for the police report. ● Police report Losing a phone can be a highly stressful situation but remember to hold onto your composure and report the incident to your nearest police station as soon as possible. Although they may not be able to get your phone back, they will provide you with a case number for insurance purposes. Stolen A stolen phone can be a traumatic experience especially if it is violently taken from you. But, don’t let the situation get the better of you. Instead, take control in the following ways: ● Lockdown a lost phone Although you may want to locate your phone online and track down the suspect, it is important not to place yourself in a harmful situation. Instead, you can use the find my phone service to turn your phone on lost mode. This ensures it is locked and no one can access your personal information and apps. ● Insurance Today, many cellphones are easily worth over R30 000 and this makes them an attractive option for petty criminals. Therefore, comprehensive cell phone insurance is a necessity as your stolen device will be replaced with the same or similar option. You can apply for insurance with your service provider (for a new phone) or, alternatively, if your home is insured you can include the device among your home contents insurance. ● Information backup If your phone is stolen, the bad news is, chances are it's gone forever. But this doesn’t have to mean the same for your data. Provided backups are switched “on”. You can back-up your iPhone or Android in the settings menu – once activated all your data will be saved on iCloud or Google Drive. Doing this ensures that you will then have access to all your data – even if you never see your phone again. ● Contact your network provider A stolen phone needs to be blacklisted and the SIM blocked with the help of your service provider. Once again, your provider will need to provide you with an ITC number as this will be required for the police report. ● Police report Although you are probably shaken up after the theft of your cell phone, you must prioritise reporting the case to the nearest police station. You need to get a case number which will be required by your insurance company. This number is also important for your bank and online shops in case your accounts have been accessed and used fraudulently. Damaged No matter how well you take care of your phone, there is always the possibility of damage – both big and small. Therefore, you should be prepared for anything. Here are a few tips: ● Information backup Water, screen, or hardware damage can be so hazardous to your phone that it can prevent it from functioning properly. If the damage is bad enough, you may not be able to access any of your data such as images, apps, or contacts. To prevent this from happening, always ensure that your phone is backed up so you can easily access your data on any other device such as a laptop or tablet. ● Insurance A cracked screen is no fun, and neither is a phone you are unable to switch on at all. Fixing these problems can cost up to several thousand rand or you may even need to replace your phone entirely. This makes cellphone insurance a lifesaver. Depending on your cover, insurance can pay for accidental damage, as well as device repair or a replacement. Don’t be caught powerless when phone trouble comes calling, always be prepared so you get the best out of any situation!

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The Hisense Infinity H50 has dropped!

In recent years the Hisense brand has steadily grown in popularity among South African smartphone users and with the release of the Infinity H50, it’s easy to see why. Under the Hood The Infinity H50 has a lot going on in its favour. While priced in the same range as other mid-tier devices on the market right now, the Infinity H50 offers top-tier performance as the most powerful option of the three devices released by the Chinese tech giant in 2021 (there is also the Infinity H50 Lite and the Infinity H50 Zoom). The device houses the MediaTek MT6785 CPU with 6GB RAM and 128GB of built-in storage. It also comes kitted out with the latest Android 11 software. Screen and Body Visually, the device performs on the premium end of the spectrum too. Although made primarily of plastic, like most smartphones of this day and age, the phone has a very high-end, elegant look and feel. It comes in two stunningly iridescent colour options – Pine Green and Black Jade – both of which leave you feeling as though you’re looking at a new phone depending on how the light hits it. The H50 boasts an impressive 6.8-inch FHD+ O-Infinity display that’s perfect for video streaming and gaming fundis. Speakers are located at the bottom of the phone along with an active noise cancellation function with a dedicated mic. The side mounted fingerprint button allows for easy single-handed access and the built-in face recognition technology provides an extra layer of security for anyone housing sensitive information on their phones. The smartphone also comes with a jelly case supplied in the box, which is a nice little touch. Camera Once again, Hisense has come through for its customers. Quad cameras may be a standard feature in 2021, but not all quad cameras are created equal. The H50 offers a pretty expansive range on a budget with a 64 MP main camera, an 8 MP ultra-wide camera, a 2 MP depth camera and a 2 MP macro camera for those finely detailed shots. The 32 MP front facing camera contains a Beauty Mode feature which adjusts the light conditions to bring out the best of you in every selfie! Battery The H50 is powered by a 5000 mAh battery, which can provide up to three days use on one full charge, and a 18W fast charger. Verdict Stylish and powerful, the Hisense Infinity is the perfect smartphone for anyone looking for high-end performance on a budget.

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Your Privacy Matters - Android Settings to Switch Off Today!

Why privacy matters Android smartphones are the most popular and widespread cellular devices in the world today. As with iPhones, privacy has become a heated topic since the sudden surge of apps. To understand why this is the case, think of your Android phone as a pocket-sized information collector. At any given time, your smartphone can collect, analyse and sell information about you. But it can only do this, if you explicitly permit it to do so. With permission, the apps you download can access the searches you perform, the websites you visit, the articles you read, what you buy online, and so much more. Ultimately, the more permission you grant an app, the easier it is for companies to track you and get a clearer picture of who you are. For this reason alone, it is vital to protect your privacy. This not only places the power back in your hands, it also limits the amount of your information companies freely have access to. What companies can do with your information There is high value attached to your personal data. It is a commonly known fact that cell phone companies, apps and social media platforms can sell your data to third parties to generate an extra income. In some instances, companies can even use this data to fund self-run ad networks. But this doesn’t mean doom and gloom for your Android smartphone! Fortunately, there are ways to curb the amount of information being sent by changing certain privacy settings on your phone. 5 key settings to change on your new phone Your new Android is packed with many new privacy features that allow you to choose what you’re comfortable sharing with your apps. To make the most of this, ensure your phone has the latest software release, Android 11. From here, you can control the data you share by switching off the following permissions: 1. Your camera is personal Apps that have access to your camera can see where you are, what you’re doing, and can reveal deep insights about your digital world. But this is only possible if you allow the app access to camera all the time. For better security, switch this permission off and instead grant a limited permission that will allow less or no access. 2. Keep your location lowkey Previously, most apps would ask for your location by default and this meant that the majority knew your whereabouts at any given time. To prevent this, new software upgrades now allow you to switch off the all the time permission through one centralised click. For certain apps that need your location to function such as Google Maps, you can grant it access only while the app is in use. 3. Your microphone has ears It’s quite unnerving knowing that third parties may be picking up sound and conversations on your phone. Much like your camera, your phone’s microphone allows them insight into your personal details. Therefore, it's important to switch off your microphone on apps that don’t require this access to function. 4. More permissions, greater privacy You can now grant permissions on an Only This Time basis, which grants your apps temporary one-time permission. This provides more reason to switch off lenient permissions and choose more privacy-friendly options. 5. Do an overall check There’s an app for almost everything and this makes it easy to lose track of what you’ve downloaded. Even if you have a new phone, you will most likely transfer your old phone’s data onto the new one. For this reason, it is important to check the permissions of all your apps once your data is transferred. Go to your settings, locate the Permissions Manager and switch off any permissions that infringe on your privacy.

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