Nokia is all set to launch its Smart TV with a 43-inch screen in India on June 4, said HMD Global has revealed, a report by Gadgets 360. The Nokia website had been teasing the arrival of the 43-inch Smart TV since March. The launch could have been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown. The 43-inch model will feature alongside the Nokia Smart TV 55-inch model which arrived in India back in December.
Nokia TV 43-inch price in India (expected)
The company has confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the Nokia Smart TV 43-inch model will launch on June 4. The new smart TV will be positioned at a price point ranging between Rs. 31,000 to Rs. 34,000 in India and the Nokia Smart TV 43-inch variant will go on sale exclusively via Flipkart. Exact pricing details and offers would be announced closer to launch. Key features on the Nokia Smart TV include JBL Audio and Dolby Vision support.
Nokia TV 43-inch features, specifications (expected)
The Nokia Smart TV 43-inch will run on Android 9.0 operating system, and it should most likely offer the same experience as the 55-inch variant. Design-wise, the Nokia Smart TV 43-inch model looks identical to the 55-inch model with slim bezels and the same V-shaped stand aesthetic. The 43-inch model should have the same specifications as the 55-inch model. The larger variant is priced at Rs. 41,999, and it also runs on Android 9 Pie. The 4K Smart TV pack quad-core processor, Mali-450 MP GPU, 2.25GB of RAM, and 16GB storage. There are two 12W speakers onboard with Dolby Audio and DTS TruSurround.
The 55-inch Nokia Smart TV has support for apps like Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, and Prime Video, and the 43-inch model will likely support them as well. It is also expected to offer Chromecast built0in and support for Bluetooth v5.0.
Amazon, Google Pressed by US Senator Amy Klobuchar on Matter Smart Home Alliance
By Reuters | Updated: 23 June 2021
Amazon and Alphabet’s Google need to offer more details about how their smart-home devices and virtual assistants will support competition and user privacy, US Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote to the companies on Tuesday.
In a letter, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee said testimony last week by attorneys from the companies left her with concerns about their dominance of the fast-growing field.
She asked the companies which of their products will support – and which will not – a recently revamped industry alliance known as Matter. The group, which includes Apple, Ikea, and others, aims to allow home-automation gadgets such as Internet-connected lights and speakers from various companies to sync with one another.
“For what period of time do you commit to support the Matter interoperability project, and who at your companies is responsible for determining whether to extend the length of your commitment to Matter?” Klobuchar wrote to Amazon and Google.
She called on the companies by July 2 also to answer questions about data collection by voice assistants and how the information is used.
Last week’s hearing followed complaints by Sonos and other home-device makers about big tech companies engaging in allegedly anticompetitive tactics to extend their dominance in advertising and other businesses.
Klobuchar noted at the hearing that Amazon’s Echo line had more than 50 percent of the smart-speaker market, while Google’s Nest products had 30 percent.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
Amazon, Google Pressed by US Lawmakers on Smart Speakers Markets Amid Concern Over Dominance
By Reuters | Updated: 16 June 2021
US lawmakers from both parties pressed Alphabet’s Google and Amazon on Tuesday about their smart speakers markets, amid concern over the domination of the tech behemoths in this area.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, noted that Amazon had more than 50 percent of the smart speaker market while Google had 30 percent, and stressed the importance of interoperability.
“In a few years, people might easily have 20 or more connected devices in their homes – from a vacuum and a fridge to speakers and lights. We want those devices to work with each other seamlessly,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to choose the right devices for your home based on whether they play nicely with Google or Amazon’s digital assistants.”
Smart home technology includes smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Nest, security systems or televisions.
Google Senior Public Policy Director Wilson White said interoperability was a goal and there were “robust conversations” underway on how to achieve it.
Ryan McCrate, Amazon’s associate general counsel, said Amazon wanted users to have access to multiple assistants from a single device if that was what the user wanted.
Neither Google nor Amazon appeared to be trying for true interoperability, said Eddie Lazarus, chief legal officer for smart speaker maker Sonos.
Google contractually prohibits Sonos from using technology that allows users to switch between Amazon’s Alexa and the Google voice assistant, Lazarus said. He said Amazon’s effort to work with smaller companies was “just an on-ramp into the Amazon ecosystem because you can’t mix and match between the big companies.”
The hearing took place at a time of extraordinary interest in tougher antitrust enforcement, much of it focused on the biggest US technology companies. One result has been a series of investigations and several federal and state lawsuits filed against Google and Facebook as well as a long list of antitrust bills.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
Alexa, Siri, Other Voice Assistants Pose Concerns of Anti-Competitive Practices: EU Regulator
By Reuters | Updated: 9 June 2021
A year-long inquiry into voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri and other Internet-connected devices has led to among more than 200 companies expressing concerns of potential anti-competitive practices, EU antitrust regulators said on Wednesday.
The European Commission has opened similar inquiries in the past into sectors such as e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, financial services, and energy that eventually led to cases against companies and hefty fines.
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Alphabet’s Google Assistant are among the most popular voice assistant devices.
“When we launched this sector inquiry, we were concerned that there might be a risk of gatekeepers emerging in this sector,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“From the first results published today, it appears that many in the sector share our concerns,” she said.
The EU antitrust watchdog said respondents cited concerns about certain exclusivity and tying practices related to voice assistants and the position of intermediaries between users and smart devices.
They also raised concerns about the extensive access of providers of voice assistants and smart devices to troves of data, and the lack of interoperability between devices, with proprietary technology acting as de facto standards.
The Commission said the findings of the inquiry would be open to a 12-week long public consultation ending Septemeber 1, with a final report due in the first half of 2022.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
Apple AirTags Could Factor Into US Senate Antitrust Hearing
By Reuters | Updated: 21 April 2021
Apple on Tuesday announced the launch of attachable AirTags to help users track lost items, and the devices could become the focus of a rival company’s challenge during a hearing before the US Senate on Wednesday.
When attached to keys and other items, the tags communicate with Apple devices to help users find the items if lost. They compete with Tile, a startup company that has sold a similar device for more than a decade and has testified to US lawmakers that Apple’s privacy practices have put Tile’s products at a disadvantage.
In a statement on Wednesday, Tile’s Chief Executive CJ Prober said lawmakers should examine Apple’s entry to the tracker tag product category at a US Senate committee hearing where Tile will testify.
“We welcome competition, as long as it is fair competition,” Prober said. “Unfortunately, given Apple’s well documented history of using its platform advantage to unfairly limit competition for its products, we’re skeptical.”
Apple said it had recently opened its iPhone’s systems to third-party tag trackers in ways that meet Apple’s privacy standards.
“We have worked from the very beginning of iPhone to help protect the privacy of users’ location data, giving them transparency and control over how all apps may access, and share their location,” Apple said in a statement.
“We have always embraced competition as the best way to drive great experiences for our customers, and we have worked hard to build a platform in iOS that enables third-party developers to thrive.”
Tile will testify this week before the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel headed by Senators Amy Klobuchar, the Democratic chair, and Mike Lee, its ranking Republican. The hearing will focus on competition concerns from developers who rely on Apple and Alphabet-owned Google’s app stores to reach consumers.
Apple and Google executives will testify as will executives from music streaming service Spotify and dating service Match, both of which have criticised Apple’s requirements to use its payments system and to pay commissions on sales from the App Store.
Tile’s concerns have centered on Apple’s privacy controls and restrictions and whether Tile has the same access to the iPhone’s hardware and systems as Apple’s own products.
In testimony last year, Tile said it had maintained a productive relationship with Apple, selling its products in Apple’s stores, but that the relationship rapidly deteriorated in 2019 when Apple announced it would enhance its FindMy app to work more like Tile.
Tile testified that Apple hired away one of its engineers around that time and also tightened up its privacy controls by adding more steps before third-party developers could access a user’s location data, which the Tile devices require to function. But to use Apple’s FindMy system, third-party developers face limits on how much data they can collect on customers. Tile argued that the extra steps put its products at a disadvantage to Apple’s own FindMy app.
In 2020, Apple began to open up the FindMy app to third-party developers. Last month, Apple opened the programme, saying that it would release a chip blueprint that third parties could use to take advantage of the iPhone’s hardware. Three companies have announced products that use Apple’s new system, including electric bike maker VanMoof and Chipolo, which makes an item tracker similar to Tile’s devices.
Tile has not said whether it plans to use Apple’s programme for third-party access to the FindMy app.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
Millions of IoT Devices Exposed to Hacking Due to Amnesia:33 Vulnerability, Research Shows
By Associated Press | Updated: 9 December 2020
Researchers at a cybersecurity firm say they have identified vulnerabilities in software widely used by millions of connected devices — flaws that could be exploited by hackers to penetrate business and home computer networks and disrupt them.
There is no evidence of any intrusions that made use of these vulnerabilities. But their existence in data-communications software central to Internet-connected devices prompted the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to flag the issue in an advisory.
Potentially affected devices from an estimated 150 manufacturers range from networked thermometers to “smart” plugs and printers to office routers and healthcare appliances to components of industrial control systems, the cybersecurity firm Forescout Technologies said in a report released Tuesday. Most affected are consumer devices including remote-controlled temperature sensors and cameras, it said.
In the worst case, control systems that drive “critical services to society” such as water, power and automated building management could be crippled, said Awais Rashid, a computer scientist at Bristol University in Britain who reviewed the Forescout findings.
In its advisory, CISA recommended defensive measures to minimise the risk of hacking. In particular, it said industrial control systems should not be accessible from the internet and should be isolated from corporate networks.
The discovery highlights the dangers that cybersecurity experts often find in Internet-linked appliances designed without much attention to security. Sloppy programming by developers is the main issue in this case, Rashid said.
Addressing the problems, estimated to afflict millions of devices, is particularly complicated because they reside in so-called open-source software, code freely distributed for use and further modification. In this case, the issue involves fundamental internet software that manages communications via a technology called TCP/IP.
Fixing the vulnerabilities in impacted devices is particularly complicated because open-source software isn’t owned by anyone, said Elisa Costante, Forescout’s vice president of research. Such code is often maintained by volunteers. Some of the vulnerable TCP/IP code is two decades old; some of it is no longer supported, Costante added.
It is up to the device manufacturers themselves to patch the flaws and some may not bother given the time and expense required, she said. Some of the compromised code is embedded in a component from a supplier — and if no one documented that, no one may even know it’s there.
“The biggest challenge comes in finding out what you’ve got,” Rashid said.
If unfixed, the vulnerabilities could leave corporate networks open to crippling denial-of-service attacks, ransomware delivery or malware that hijacks devices and enlists them in zombie botnets, the researchers said. With so many people working from home during the pandemic, home networks could be compromised and used as channels into corporate networks through remote-access connections.
Forescout notified as many vendors as it could about the vulnerabilities, which it dubbed AMNESIA:33. But it was impossible to identify all affected devices, Costante said. The company also alerted U.S., German and Japanese computer security authorities, she said.
The company discovered the vulnerabilities in what it called the largest study ever on the security of TCP/IP software, a year-long effort it called Project Memoria.
Samsung SmartThings Brings Support for Google Nest Devices for the First Time
By ANI | Updated: 9 December 2020
Tech giant Google and Samsung are bringing their smart home platforms together for the first time. Samsung’s SmartThings will support Google Nest devices starting in January 2021.
According to The Verge, this will build a bridge between one of the industry’s leading ecosystems for managing smart devices like cameras and thermostats with one of the leading companies developing those products.
Prior to this, owners of devices that qualified for the Works With SmartThings (WWST) certification had to use separate software to manage any Google Nest products they owned. Following the launch of the integration next month, all Nest products will be controllable from the SmartThings platform and will qualify as WWST devices.
As per The Verge, the partnership further boosts Samsung’s smart home platform, which is one of the leading hub makers for managing smart home devices on the same network. Samsung purchased SmartThings in 2014 for $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,500 crores) due to the company’s proficiency at helping smart home products communicate across various protocol standards.
Samsung says its new Google partnership means Nest devices can be incorporated into SmartThings Scenes for setting up automated controls for multiple devices at the same time, and the integration will also mean Samsung TVs and its Family Hub fridge will support streaming from Nest cameras and other devices.
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