It seems that at some point we will have to talk more about politics than about technology. The climate is irreversibly changing, but it seems that this does not bother anyone, and more important is the momentary. It’s still a long way to the end of the world, but I’m sure we’ll watch it live unless something else happens along the way. Politicians are reshaping the technology landscape, and markets are changing, for example, there are major reshuffles in the top three players in Russia. More on this and other topics in today’s issue. Go!
- Politicians rule the IT world – America versus China and Russia
- MTS. Please pay the bill for 559 million rubles
- A14 Bionic processor performance – first benchmark results
- Is a random MAC address good or bad?
- Microsoft’s Miracle Yudo – Surface Duo with two screens
- Deficit in private and deficit in large – Russian smartphone market
Politicians rule the IT world – America versus China and Russia
Politicians are increasingly interfering in the world of technology, and they do so without much understanding of how it works and trying to calculate the consequences of their steps. It seems that politicians are guided by a simple rule: first we turn off something, and then we’ll see how this affects our enemy, whether it breaks something in our country. This is a dangerous approach, since neither side of the conflict can control what is happening and everything can instantly get out of control, and the consequences are almost impossible to predict.
In politics, the principle of proportionality of the response and symmetrical measures always operates, we can say that these are the rules of good form. For example, your country begins to levy additional taxes on American companies, since they dominate your territory, and you do not have your own strong players. The tax on Google, which concerns not only this corporation, but also Facebook, Apple and others, did not appear in Russia, it was introduced in Europe. Immediately prompting a symmetrical American response, a variety of goods that came from Europe fell under the additional taxes. The symmetry of the answer here is relative, since America’s response affected more goods and, as a result, caused more damage to the European economy. What will happen in the next round of this trade war, which is not too well known, unlike the Sino-American litigation? I think that everything will go on increasing, since neither side can stop and will incur direct, undisguised losses. For the IT industry, this means that states will increasingly invest in the development of local assets, attack American corporations so that they do not occupy such a position in the market. Plus, to force them to comply with local laws, in Europe for the sake of this they even adopted a law on the protection of personal data (GDPR), which, in theory, should protect an ordinary European from the collection of his personal data by external companies. It is clear that the law was adopted to combat American companies and is perceived by everyone in this capacity. To some extent, the GDPR can be called draconian, since it did not calculate all the consequences of the introduction and forced many developers to stop providing their services in Europe, oddly enough, this affected small companies, those who do not have the means to comply with all provisions of the GDPR.
Russia has been at the forefront of this kind of change, in theory, network services should store all personal information in Russia, but most do not. There is no pressure on companies other than verbal attacks in the press. Politics intervenes because it is assumed that aggressive actions will provoke opposition and lead to worse consequences. But this reasoning worked exactly until the moment when other countries began to act on their territory in the same way in relation to the products of foreign companies. Let’s remember the history of TikTok.
The President of the United States did not observe any decency when he publicly explained that TikTok is a successful business and it can receive information from Americans, which means that it must be sold to an American company, for example, Microsoft. The madness of the situation was that the American president was publicly racking for a company from his country, with no evidence that TikTok was doing something wrong or in any way violating American laws. There are many places in the world where the law as such is not considered and decisions are made according to the wishes of the first person of the state, but in America they have always tried to observe at least the semblance of decency, now there is no such small thing. The whole situation developed live, and the Chinese government could not stand aside. For ByteDance, this whole story turned into a big test: on the one hand, the president of the United States, demanding to sell the company at least in all English-speaking countries, on the other hand, the native Chinese government, which prohibited any negotiations on the sale. China’s position was unambiguous – no sale of TikTok, it is better to close the application in other countries than sell it under pressure. And this is a healthy position.
The deal with Microsoft collapsed, but ByteDance decided to accept Oracle’s offer, the company was ready to move all TikTok servers to their sites (before that they were in the cloud from Google, which is no less ridiculous), and ByteDance was ready to disclose the codes of their applications so that it was possible to make sure that there is no second bottom in them. All this did not play any role, since the President of the United States had already decided that this service should not exist in America, as well as the WeChat messenger. The US Department of Commerce published an announcement that effective September 20, the use of these applications in the United States is prohibited, as they threaten the national security of the country and undermine American values. The full text can be found here.
This means that both WeChat and TikTok have been removed from all app stores, including the App Store and Play Store, no one can officially work with the companies that own these services and provide them with any services. For owners of iOS devices, this means that it is impossible to install these applications, in principle, for Android smartphones you can install APK files, but any American resources that distribute them will be prosecuted by the state.
On Sunday, Trump changed his mind again and approved the deal with Oracle and Walmart, exactly one week the TikTok ban will be postponed. At the same time, Trump publicly announced that TikTok will invest $ 5 billion in US educational programs, as well as create 25 thousand jobs (currently, 1000 people work for the company in the United States). ByteDance has publicly announced that this is the first time it has heard of such an investment in education. Oracle got out more gracefully, said that the newly formed company will pay in taxes on profits of more than $ 5 billion.
The speed with which everything changed for TikTok shows that we are facing a situation in which the state is squeezing out someone else’s business in favor of local business. And along the way it is covered with loud words about safety.
These actions look at least amazing. It’s hard for me to imagine that TikTok is somehow threatening US national security. The times of the USSR and dudes come to mind, which also threatened the social identity of the country, stood out strongly from the general mass and therefore actively fought this phenomenon. In my view, the United States today has turned in ideology into the Soviet Union of the late 70s, when there was still a passion for the fight against dissent. It looked ugly for the USSR, and it looks no less ugly for the United States today.
The American industry is built around manufacturing in China, most of the small and medium-sized businesses, those who trade on the same Amazon, get their goods in China. And for them, the same WeChat is vital, since all communication with Chinese partners takes place in it. This is the most popular messenger for everyone working with China, there are other communication options, but they are alternative. And the fact that WeChat is now banned in the United States is a problem primarily for Americans, inside the country almost no one used this messenger, this is an application for communicating with China.
The same story about Chinese families living in America, they will have to look for alternatives to the usual WeChat, which they can easily do. This is an inconvenience, but not a blow to the messenger itself. The actions of the US President look like a state racketeer when there was an attempt to squeeze out a successful company, but this did not happen. Now we see how “the tent is burned down” so that no one gets the business. This is another attempt to show China its place in this world, but it will give nothing but another round of mutual pressure.
Very often I hear sympathy for China because of this situation, because it seems very simple and understandable, America is bad, and China is the victim. But do not forget that China has long ago banned most of the American services on its territory, and at least the same Facebook or Google. So America’s response, even to some extent, looks belated, albeit excessive. The content may be correct, but the form in which this happens looks disgusting.
In addition to the main participants in this confrontation, it should be noted those who closely watch him from the outside. And the conclusions that are being made in other countries may be far-reaching; in the coming years, the world will be swept by a wave of bans on certain services if they do not comply with the requirements of local laws and at the same time pay. Or they will be offered to sell a piece of the service in order to comply with the laws, as President Trump did with TikTok. A bad role model can quickly spread in the world, and it will be extremely difficult to fight it. There is no doubt that the consequence for American business will be increased pressure in all corners of the world, the former neutrality regime will no longer exist. This means that the cost of doing business will rise, add here the global recession and get a sad picture of the next decade. It is impossible to publicly behave like the President of the United States and think that other politicians from smaller countries will not copy this behavior. Therefore, I am sure that this whole story will come back to haunt us more than once and lead to negative consequences.
MTS. Please pay the bill for 559 million rubles
The evening of September 18 will be remembered by many MTS subscribers as the day when they could not use the connection and, having looked into their personal account, found that they owe the operator millions of rubles. However, see for yourself, the amounts are impressive.
Any sane person understands that there was a mistake on the MTS side, something broke in the billing system, and hence the incredible communication bills. But here many other questions arise that are unpleasant for the operator and put him in an extremely uncomfortable position. The operator’s billing should be able to correctly calculate the subscriber’s costs, if such a failure occurs throughout Russia, then the system itself is not working properly and someone inside can influence it. Are you aware of the train of thought? For example, someone may despair of achieving revenue growth and simply add a few services to each subscriber in billing, for example, add 20 minutes of voice calls. Someone will fit them into the package tariff plan, while others will pay for them. Hundreds of millions of rubles will come out of the air of additional income for the operator.
I will specifically emphasize that I do not believe in such a scenario, but this is exactly what most ordinary people think. The operator steals money, and the failure that occurred is just indirect evidence that it is easy to cheat with billing. Let’s figure out together how billing works and where such incredible numbers could come from.
The operator’s database records all your expenses, calls, messages, the amount of data transferred. This information is fed into a single database, which has several levels of redundancy, since in fact it is the most important information for the operator. In turn, calculation rules are imposed from another database (the same tariffs), which indicate the cost of a minute, traffic, and so on. And if a very limited circle of people has access to billing and calculating your costs within the operator, then a larger number of people have access to the tariff scale, the possibilities of these tariffs.
How can you drive a large number of subscribers into minus and at the same time not change the volume of those services that they used up? Yes, it is very simple and straightforward, you need to change the cost, for example, of one GB of data and install it in any size. Let’s say that a minute of a call will cost a million rubles, recounting the minutes already consumed will show that you have gone into a deep minus. And then it’s a matter of technology, the machine will disconnect your communication services, you will receive an SMS in which you will be offered to pay the debt.
There are several more ways how you can achieve the same result, but you need to understand that they are all related to human error and for the operator they cost a lost reputation, a lot of discussions on social networks, the load on the salons that people come to to solve the problem. … The operator did not widely comment on the situation, for example, in the Urals, a comment of this kind was given. “Last night, for several hours, some subscribers could display incorrectly the status of their mobile account. There were isolated cases, and now everything is displayed correctly, – said the head of the press service of MTS in the Novosibirsk region Tatyana Zubko. ”
Unfortunately, MTS preferred to sweep everything under the rug, not to draw any additional attention to the problem. On social networks, users who have encountered this problem complain that there was no connection for almost a day, the subscriber service could not help with this. MTS did not provide any compensation to the affected subscribers.
I am surprised that MTS limited itself to a dry SMS message, especially since, according to the company’s press service, these were isolated cases. In my opinion, for isolated cases it was possible to find time to call the victims and apologize humanly, to offer, for example, a discount for a certain period. It was necessary to think about this and resolve this issue so that people would be satisfied. But everything turned out as usual.
Many victims were forced to buy SIM cards from other operators, as their communications did not work. Some complained that they could not pay with a bank card (SMS did not reach). MTS’s mistake created many inconveniences for the operator’s subscribers. Technical failures happen, and not a single company is insured against them, you need to get used to the fact that this can happen. And a prudent person can use two SIM cards, so that if one operator fails, they will not be left completely without communication. Moreover, most phones support work with two SIM cards, there are tariffs where you do not need to pay for a package of services, and the card can simply be in the device just in case (just remember that the cost of services on such a SIM card will be very high if use it not in critical cases, but constantly).
But the lack of a clear reaction from MTS, the fact that they tried to instantly forget about the failure – all this does not add points in favor of this operator. And rumors that the operators are stealing money are feeding more than ever. The MTS behavior model fits perfectly with how ordinary people perceive the reaction of operators. And that’s bad.
How could this problem be solved? Think over an apology, call subscribers, give them a discount for the next month of 10 percent of the bill. And the problem would be solved by itself, the majority, feeling care, would change their attitude and opinion. There would not be such a wave of negativity as it is now. But the train left, there was no reaction.
What do you think, are operators stealing money or not? Vote in our survey.
A14 Bionic processor performance – first benchmark results
The announcement of the new iPhone 12 is not far off, and information is pouring in from China about what these devices can do. Let me remind you that, just like the iPad Air 4 announced last week, these smartphones use the A14 Bionic processor. What we know about him is that Apple announced that his productivity increased by 40%.
Unfortunately, the first reviews from those who held this tablet in their hands are not too optimistic, there is no noticeable difference in system performance, the fast processor is invisible in everyday tasks. Moreover, some have the audacity to say that the third and fourth generation iPad Airs run at the same speed. What kind of impudent people. This is all the more interesting because the iPad Air has an A12 Bionic processor, the difference in operating speed is described with it, and not with the previous generation, as many realized. The Air was compared with its predecessor, but the fact that many invented the difference in the operation of the A13 and A14 was the problem of the inventors.
In China, they were able to run the Antutu test on the iPhone 12 Pro Max (6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of internal). This is the result obtained in virtual parrots.
Now let’s take a closer look at a detailed comparison of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and new items in terms of processor performance.
The difference in the speed of A14 and A13 is about 15-17 percent, which is well within expectations when going from 7 nm to 5 nm. It is impossible to wait for more performance.
In comparison, Tab S7 and Apple iPad Air 4, I was very scolded for the fact that I do not understand anything about the processors, I compare the number of cores, but it is necessary to compare only the speed (and yes, 40% faster, do not forget about the A14). Many people find it difficult to realize that processors that are similar in process technology and cores (hello, ARM and their design!) Will work similarly in practice. And the processor with more cores can show more performance.
Let’s take a look at the virtual parrots in the Snapdragon 865+ on the Tab S7. It turns out that the performance is at the level of a 5nm processor from Apple, if you trust the measurement that walks around the network. It is possible that there will be some optimization, but the performance will not change much.
On the way we have Snapdragon 875, Exynos 1000, both processors are made in the same configuration, one Cortex X1 core (the most productive), three cores of the same level, but with a lower frequency and possibly a different architecture, as well as four cores for basic tasks. they are most efficient at saving energy. Both processors also use a 5nm process technology. And here a logical question arises: if the current processor from Qualcomm has the same performance as the A14 Bionic, what performance will the next processors show? The answer lies on the surface.
But our comparison lies in the plane of measuring virtual parrots; only those who will use them in heavy tasks will be able to assess the difference in processor performance. Even 1% of those who buy such devices, smartphones or tablets will not have such users. But for everyday tasks, performance will be enough for the eyes, both processors from last year and current models. But this is perhaps the secret that manufacturers are trying to sincerely hide from you, because otherwise there will be no sense in promoting the fastest processors. Something similar has already happened in the computer market, now this trend is happening in the smartphone / tablet market.
Is a random MAC address good or bad?
Very often technologies appear that look healthy, but in practice there are pitfalls that change their perception. The road to the famous place is paved with good intentions, and it can be said that protecting users in both Android 10 and iOS14 has brought some problems for these users.
Manufacturers have unexpectedly begun to monitor the privacy of their users’ data, but rather to restrict data collection by third parties, which increases the value of the information they trade themselves. As usual, there is an underlying rationale, the fight for privacy has hidden implications. To prevent stores from identifying a visitor, in the Wi-Fi settings, his MAC address (unique device address) becomes random. In the settings, it looks like this.
How important is it? In theory, this allows you to track you while connected to a Wi-Fi network, for example, in a public place. But it also means that the Wi-Fi network knows that you are you and gives you the appropriate access. For example, in the Moscow metro, users are identified by their MAC address. And those who enable a random MAC address will have to be authenticated every time they connect. Such a warning has already appeared on this network.
For each network, you can manually disable the randomization of MAC addresses; on iOS you cannot disable this option for everyone, as it happens on Android. Unfortunately, randomization does not provide any special protection, there are about a dozen ways to determine your device and what you are. Therefore, such “protection” rather creates a lot of problems out of the blue, but does not provide much benefit. We wanted, of course, what was best for ourselves, but it turned out that they did not give any protection to users, and they also create additional problems. The release of iOS14 again highlights this problem, which appeared in Android 10, but it just got more attention. So if your device suddenly began to require authorization in a particular network, just check what is happening in the Wi-Fi settings, turn off the randomization of the MAC address.
Microsoft’s Miracle Yudo – Surface Duo with two screens
Microsoft has never been shy about creating obscure devices. You look at such a miracle of engineering and cannot understand for whom it was created, and most importantly, why. Some projects have existed for many years, like Windows Phone and its own line of smartphones received from Nokia. There were also projects for a couple of months, for example, Microsoft Kin. And, perhaps, this particular project is worth remembering in connection with the existence of Microsoft Duo, I got the impression that they are of the same type in approach. In the spring of 2010, Microsoft launched two smartphones on the market – Kin ONE and Kin TWO. Both were designed for younger audiences and had a QWERTY keyboard. With great fanfare, Microsoft presented these devices in their home market, said that they had invested a little over a billion dollars in their development, and the whole process took about two years. I remember very well my reaction – they went crazy. The models had no market prospects. Zero. But the fact that Microsoft is behind them suggested that they could support Kin for years. This did not happen, the entire project was closed two months after the start of sales. Sales were so low at Verizon that the operator actually stopped them. The Kin lineup was quickly given up.
Now the Surface Duo, a dual-screen Android smartphone with a price tag of $ 1, is on the market!
The device was created for about five years! I must say that the process was clearly unhurried, since in the end a model on Snapdragon 855 came out, it did not receive a new processor. A slight delay of one year in relation to the market.
But the very idea of two screens on Android that form one big one, but at the same time have a joint, I do not like. This is an attempt to create a compact smartphone, but without a flexible screen, which is expensive. LG is indulging in something similar, but their devices have not gained much success.
Microsoft actually experimented with an unusual form factor, and released it on the market with only one purpose – to justify the years and budgets spent on this development. There is no other reason, as the Surface Duo is not viable in any form. He has only one undoubted advantage: he is so unusual that it baffles everyone. But most importantly, it is impossible to come up with a single user scenario that would be convenient and in some way better than a regular smartphone, not to mention a smartphone with a flexible screen.
The first days I forced myself to understand what I can do with Duo, it turned out that there was not much. There is practically no camera in the device, the built-in module for selfies cannot be considered a modern camera, the quality of images is beyond good and evil. And photographing is difficult, it is not the easiest process.
The build quality is amazing, the parts don’t fit together and there are gaps. Full feeling of an early prototype, but not a commercial model. Everything is done inaccurately. But on the other hand, it is unusual and unusual.
I hoped that multitasking would be at the software level and would be such that it would make you forget about all the flaws. But this did not happen, working with two screens is somewhat intricate, and it does not give much sense. On the other hand, someone might like the fact that you have two screens in one device. And that they are separate, you can run your application on each. I would interpret this device as a small, compact tablet with a high cost. And you can also call on it.
What can you say about this model? It is amazing and shows that the years go by, but such crazy projects inside Microsoft still exist. The device has no market prospects, it is aimed at the niche of those who are ready to buy something extravagant, but the Duo is simply not adapted for the mass market. Although several of my acquaintances are actively interested in this device, since there is nothing like this and the image charge is high. In Russia, it is offered on the gray market at about the price of the second Fold, that is, about 180 thousand rubles. And this confuses me a little, since the difference between the models is huge.
Deficit in private and deficit in large – Russian smartphone market
I wanted to touch the edge of a topic that might be of interest to all of us, in Russia there was a renaissance in the smartphone market, sales are going up, and August can be called one of the most successful months in recent years. Already now it can be argued that the market will be at the level of the last year or even higher, but also the leaders have changed. Let me remind you that last year and early this year, Samsung lost the first place to Huawei (along with Honor). By the beginning of the summer, Samsung was swinging, giving a large number of discounts to snatch back its first place, and it worked.
At the same time, there was a deficit for the majority of manufacturers, and the proportion of those who had sufficient quantities of goods began to grow. Do you know what happened? Xiaomi managed to grow to 24% of the market in pieces, primarily due to the segment from 10 to 20 thousand rubles. Although, looking at the sales of the Galaxy A51 in two versions, we can say that there is this smartphone and all the others, it is the undisputed sales leader in Russia. And it goes by a huge margin from all its closest competitors. Xiaomi was able to build up its sales and increase its share. Amid stagnating Apple sales, which has hovered between 7.5% and 9% this year, Xiaomi’s record is astounding, starting at 10%.
But the shortage affects all companies, and the fourth quarter can be quite interesting, with those who can supply as much of the product as possible that benefit. At Huawei, the rhythm of deliveries is not what it was at the beginning of the year. There is a deficit, as the company focuses on the home market, tries to saturate it. But in Russia there are noticeably fewer goods, and many positions are simply not available in sufficient quantities, which affects sales. The rise of Xiaomi directly depends on the supply of Huawei, as soon as their product appears, then there is a decline in sales of Xiaomi. In my opinion, today these are communicating vessels, buyers choose either one or another brand. On the Xiaomi side, dozens of new brand stores have been opened all over the country, and they provide an excellent contribution to sales.
If Xiaomi had more products, they could reach the first place in pieces in August and September. On the other hand, in the segment above 50 thousand rubles, 99% of sales are shared by Apple and Samsung, all other manufacturers share the remaining one percent! Not much.
Faced with the fact that the deficit is characteristic not only of those whom we consider successful, for example, Sony in smartphones has fallen dramatically, the company is trying to survive. However, the flagship Xperia 1 II, launched in the summer, is not widely available, all quantities are sold, as they say, from wheels. The scarcity is terrible. I tried to understand the nature of this phenomenon and realized that many do not want to be with Apple, do not want to be with Samsung, but want the flagship of a well-known company and at the same time for decent money. This is not a question of economy.
And here comes the compact flagship Xperia 5 II, apparently, and the same story will happen to it, it will be in a certain deficit, despite the cost of 70 thousand rubles. The model is very interesting and can become a cult, albeit not mass one. Read the first look at this unit.
The same deficit made me remember Sony, it is typical for the market as a whole. And it is determined not by the manufacturing company, but by the availability of the goods. This does not mean that customers are ready to eat literally everything that is offered to them. Niches for products have grown, but growth is not always orders of magnitude, as we see with Sony. On the other hand, we will not be able to estimate how much they could sell in practice, so the question is rhetorical.
Exactly the same growth in demand for the Galaxy Fold2, which de facto no longer exists. Someone who placed a pre-order managed to receive the device, many learned that it is not worth waiting for the device before October, since it is simply not available. Against this background, the resellers look interesting that they were able to take the device at a wholesale price and are now selling it on message boards. Considering the cost of the device, I do not think that the deficit will remain long, as in October it will be more or less easy to buy. But compared to the previous device, the demand has almost doubled. It remains only to understand how many outbids were then and how many are today.
The Russian market reminds me of a field of miracles, when everything should not be too good, it demonstrates exactly the opposite – it is growing. And at the same time, growth is observed in all price segments, as if there was no crisis. Miracle, isn’t it?
PS Have a good working week, so that everything works out for you, and good deeds work out wonderfully well. This week there will be reviews of various interesting devices, some have already been mentioned in one way or another, some we have not yet spoken about. So come in, it will be interesting.
Also at 20.00 Moscow time on Monday, September 21, we will have a live stream, we will discuss various topics, I will answer your questions. Come to the light, we have fun and warmth.
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