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Tablets decline in Africa

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market declined 12.3% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016 to total 3.32 million units, according to the latest figures from International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global research and consulting services firm’s ‘Middle East and Africa Quarterly Tablet Tracker’ indicates that the MEA tablet market contracted on a year-on-year basis for the second quarter in a row, following the 8.8% year-on-year decline seen in Q4 2015.

“We are finding that consumers are increasingly reluctant to replace their existing devices as the majority of tasks that were previously performed on tablets have now shifted to smartphones with larger screens,” says Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “This reluctance has resulted in a lengthening of tablet replacement cycles, a phenomenon that has inevitably had a negative impact on overall demand.

“Compounding the issue is the fact that consumer sentiment and business activity are both being hampered by low crude oil prices, particularly in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Meanwhile, the continued depreciation of key African currencies against the U.S. dollar – including the Nigerian naira, the South African rand, and the Egyptian pound – has also acted as an inhibitor, as poor exchange rates make tablets more expensive.”

One bright spot amid the market’s overall slowdown is the growth of detachable tablets, which are steadily gaining popularity in the region following the launch of various new devices in this product category. Detachable tablets now account for 4.2% share of the overall tablet market, with shipments up by a staggering 335% year on year in Q1 2016.

“All vendors are feeling the pinch from the slowdown,” says Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a senior research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “Considering the thin margins on the lower-end products that account for the bulk of demand, vendors are unwilling to offer any further support to channels, leading to a decline in shipments across the region. As certain entry-level tablet models are available at price points below $50, key players are under intense pressure to maintain their sell outs.”

In terms of vendor rankings, Samsung – which has the widest tablet portfolio – continued to lead the market in Q1 2016 with 21.2% share, despite suffering a year-on-year decline in shipments of 23.3%. After a sluggish performance in Q4 2015, Lenovo retook second place with 12.3% share, despite posting a 21.7% year-on-year decline in shipments. Apple rounded out the top three with 11.5% share after posting an 11.0% decline in shipments.

IDC has revised its forecast for the 2016 MEA tablet market downwards and now expects a total of 14.9 million units to be shipped in the year, representing a year-on-year decline of 7.9%. The Windows operating system is expected to register healthy growth during the year in line with the growth in detachable devices. IDC expects shipments of detachable tablets, the bulk of which run on Windows, to grow 127.7% year on year in 2016.

“IDC expects the delivery of multiple projects involving high volumes of tablets to take place in Pakistan and Egypt this year,” continues Charakla. “Projects in the former will see the shipment of approximately 200,000 detachable tablets, while projects in the latter are expected to involve the shipment of around 40,000 traditional slate tablets. The deal in Pakistan is to be delivered to the education sector and will contribute significantly to the growth of detachable tablets in the MEA market.”

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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