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Google, Android system to cut ties with Huawei

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US internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it was beginning to cut ties with China’s Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat.

The move could have dramatic implications for Huawei smartphone users, as the telecoms giant will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary services — which include the Gmail and Google Maps apps — a source close to the matter told AFP.

Reports also emerged on Monday that several US chipmakers providing vital hardware for Huawei’s smartphones have stopped supplying the Chinese firm.

In the midst of a trade war with Beijing, President Donald Trump has barred US companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.

The measure targets Huawei, the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker, which has been listed by the US Commerce Department among firms that American companies can only trade with if authorities grant permission.

The ban includes technology sharing. Google, like all tech companies, collaborates directly with smartphone makers to ensure its systems are compatible with their devices.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson told AFP.

“We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device,” Google’s official @Android account tweeted.

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Due to the ban, Google will have to halt business activities with Huawei that involve direct transfer of hardware, software and technical services that are not publicly available.

That means Huawei will only be able to use the open source version of Android.

It will need to manually access any updates or software patches from Android Open Source Project, and also distribute the updates to users itself, a source told AFP.

In a statement, Huawei said it would “continue to provide security updates and after-sales services” to all existing smartphones and tablets globally, including those not yet sold.

A person familiar with the matter who requested anonymity told Bloomberg News that Huawei will be unable to offer Google’s proprietary apps and services in the future.

China’s foreign ministry said it was actively following the situation.

“At the same time, the Chinese side supports Chinese enterprises in taking up legal weapons and defending their legitimate rights,” said spokesman Lu Kang.

 5G leader

Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology, and currently has the most advanced and cheapest 5G capacities in the world.

Its smartphones outsold Apple’s iPhones in the first quarter of this year, seizing the California company’s second-place spot in a tightening smartphone market dominated by Samsung.

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But the Chinese firm remains dependent on foreign suppliers.

It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.

US chipmakers including Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom have informed workers that they will stop supplying Huawei until further notice, Bloomberg said Monday, citing people familiar with their actions.

Huawei “is heavily dependent on US semiconductor products and would be seriously crippled without supply of key US components,” said Ryan Koontz, a Rosenblatt Securities analyst, although the Chinese firm is believed to have stockpiles in place.

The ban “may cause China to delay its 5G network build until the ban is lifted, having an impact on many global component suppliers,” he added.

The companies themselves did not comment.

Huawei is the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

Super-fast networking 5G, the fifth-generation successor to today’s decade-old 4G technology which is struggling to keep pace with global broadband demand, promises radically quicker transfers of data.

US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Saturday that “We have not done anything which violates the law,” adding the US measures would have a limited impact.

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Ren’s army background and Huawei’s opaque culture have fueled suspicions in some countries that the firm has links with the Chinese military and intelligence services.

 

AFP

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Renewable Energy Is Now The Cheapest Option – Even Without Subsidies | By James Ellsmoor

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IN recent years, the world has marched towards renewable energy. According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), unsubsidized renewable energy is now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation . The report finds that the cost of installation and maintenance of renewables, which was an important stumbling block to mass adoption, continues on a downward trajectory.

Adding to existing efforts made by governments and businesses, these lower costs are expected to propel the mass adoption of renewables even further. The report further touches on the importance of renewables in sustainable development and the need for governments to help achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, coming just months before the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit being held in Abu Dhabi in September this year.

Among other findings the IRENA report highlights that:

  • Onshore wind and solar PV power are now, frequently, less expensive than any fossil-fuel option, without financial assistance.
  • New solar and wind installations will increasingly undercut even the operating-only costs of existing coal-fired plants.
  • Low and falling technology costs make renewables the competitive backbone of energy decarbonization – a crucial climate goal.
  • Cost forecasts for solar PV and onshore wind continue to be revised as new data emerges, with renewables consistently beating earlier expectations.
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Further data from REN21′s Renewable Global Status Report show that over one fifth of global electrical power production is  now generated from renewables.

Growing Environmental Concerns

The detrimental impact of climate change, including more intense heat waves, rising sea levels, and loss of sea ice, is rapidly becoming more apparent across the world. These alarming trends are projected to worsen at a temperature rise of 2°C above pre-industrial levels according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As the data depicts, ridding the world of fossil fuels and eliminating the impact of climate change relies on championing the adoption of renewables, a roadmap that requires a concerted effort from businesses, governments, and individuals. Sustainable energy continues to be a key priority for the United Nations, which includes energy in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG 7 champions renewable energy adoption for the entire world, requiring governments to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all”.

The Reducing Cost Of Renewables

For many years, financing entities perceived renewables as risky because of high cost, leading to high lending rates for individuals and businesses that need funding for renewable power generation. As the IRENA report depicts, this trend has been on the decline since the early 2000s. The worldwide weighted average cost of electricity from solar power concentration fell by 26%, that of bioenergy reduced by 14%, solar photovoltaics, geothermal, onshore, as well as offshore wind, fell by 14%, and hydropower by 12%.

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Connecting The Dots

These new statistics demonstrate that using renewable energy is increasingly cost-effective compared to other sources, even when renewables must compete with the heavily-subsidized fossil fuel industry . Promising signs in the IRENA report show that more an increasing number of corporates are entering the renewable energy industry as the number of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) rise, meanwhile more than 10 million people are now employed in the global renewable energy industry.

 

Culled from Forbes

 

 

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Facebook Celebrates One Year of NG_Hub

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Celebrating exactly a year to the day since the doors of NG_Hub opened in Lagos, and Facebook further cemented its ambitions to train users across Nigeria in digital skills, Facebook released an infographic highlighting key milestones over the past year

 

Created as part of Facebook’s ongoing commitment and investment in growing the start-up ecosystem, and in partnership with CcHub, NG_Hub is a multi-faceted space which connects and bring together developers, start-up’s and the wider community to collaborate, learn and exchange ideas. With a number of expert training and events with partners across Nigeria, undertaking in the hub and externally, the aim is to equip individuals and businesses to grow.

Some highlights over the past year includes:

  • Trained over 50,800 SMBs in digital skills across 20 states in Nigeria
  • Delivered 526 events with over 11,490 attendees at NG_Hub, including programmes such as AR/VR meetups, FbStart Accelerator Programme, Facebook Community Leaders Community meetings (CLCs), Developer Circle gatherings etc.
  • Directly supported businesses in 11 different industries from agriculture, through to catering, education and fashion

Speaking of its one year anniversary, Adaora Ikenze, Head of Public Policy, West and Central Africa, said: “I’m proud of the incredible impact that NG_Hub has had in its first year, and continues to have on the lives of young Nigerians. We remain committed in deepening our engagement, increasing skills development and supporting the next set of innovators, tech entrepreneurs, start-ups, in our collective bid to change the face of technology and grow the economy.”

Commenting on the partnership Bosun Tijani, Founder/CEO of CcHub, added: “We’re glad about the tremendous impact Facebook’s investment in NG_HUB has had in such a short period and the ecosystem is already seeing the fruits of this commitment. We’re committed to working with Facebook to position NG_HUB as a major platform that drives smart application of technology innovation for economic prosperity across the region and beyond.”   

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New access to Premium Local TV channels enabled via satellite

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Nigeria’s latest free-to-air (FTA) local channel bouquet, “PREMIUM.FREE”, has enabled local television broadcast audiences access to 13 new premium channels which are custom-made for African viewers. These include multinational language channels like Cinema Hausa, and popular African lifestyle channels such as True African.

Delivered via SES satellites, this innovative channel bouquet is supplied by AfricaXP, the leading independent African network, which is well-known for its compelling Nollywood catalogue and longstanding partnerships with prominent West African producers.

CEO of AfricaXP, Craig Kelly, says that working with SES has enabled PREMIUM.FREE to achieve the maximum possible reach in Nigeria. “We are confident that localization, coupled with our fresh international rights will provide the kind of content blend that modern West African audiences demand. Transmitted free-to-air via satellite, this is obviously a great offer at a price point that can’t be beaten.”

It is this blend of premium African programming with top-flight international content across a diverse range of themes from sports to movies, telenovelas, kids, factual, reality and lifestyle programming, which really sets PREMIUM.FREE apart from other channel bouquet offerings on the market.

SES, the world’s leading satellite operator with over 70 satellites, reaches over 9 million Direct-to-Home households across West Africa from its orbital position of 28.2 degrees East. Those households with existing FTA set-top boxes (STBs) will be able to start watching the new channels on their existing STBs for free.

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“The Nigerian FTA market in particular offers great opportunities for growth, and we are proud to have engaged with PREMIUM.FREE to deliver a differentiated content package for Nigeria and offer more choice for viewers,” says Clint Brown, Vice President of Sales and Market Development, Africa for SES Video.

“New initiatives like this, which focus on delivering local and international content that is attractive for the end-consumer and is offered in high picture quality, will further develop consumer choice in Nigeria,” Brown concludes.

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