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IFA: Huawei debuts smart speaker

At IFA 2018, Huawei unveiled the HUAWEI AI Cube, a two-in-one speaker and 4G router with Alexa built-in, marking its official entry into the smart speaker market

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“Huawei is committed to providing seamless connectivity and enabling the smart, connected experience. To those ends, Huawei has been actively strengthening the value proposition of its product portfolio, and augmenting an increasingly wide range of products with AI technology, with HUAWEI AI Cube being the latest in the line,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG. “HUAWEI AI Cube boasts a complete set of functionalities that showcase Huawei’s commitment to innovation and collaboration. By combining HUAWEI telecommunications technology with Amazon Alexa, the HUAWEI AI Cube is a compelling product that will surely strike a chord with consumers.”

With support for Wi-Fi on 4G LTE, HUAWEI AI Cube can fulfill the myriad connectivity demands arising from the smart home. Setup for the router is easy and intuitive—it only requires a 4G SIM card plugged in to establish a high speed internet connection at LTE Category 6 speeds (300Mbps downlink). HUAWEI AI Cube is also compatible with the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, meaning the router is dual band, capable of working on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels and transmitting data over LAN at up to 1,200Mbps.

HUAWEI AI Cube also features Alexa built-in, enabling users to effortlessly play music, control smart home devices, and access more than 50,000 skills – hands-free. All you need to do is ask.

“The Huawei AI Cube combines several products into one while balancing smart functionality with high-quality sound,” said Pete Thompson, Vice President of the Alexa Voice Service. “We’re excited to see Huawei bring customers in Europe a natural way to play music, control smart home devices and access thousands of skills.”

In terms of speaker performance, HUAWEI AI Cube is built with a large, 400ml sound cavity and an aluminum diaphragm, enabling the AI speaker to produce high quality audio with crystal clear midrange and highs, as well as full, rounded bass. The audio is also enhanced with Huawei’s proprietary audio solution: HUAWEI Histen. Also featured on a range of Huawei devices, HUAWEI Histen enriches the AI speaker’s set of features by including virtual bass, linear phase equalizer, adaptive gain control, far-field voice recognition and more as part of its repertoire.

All the aforementioned technologies supported on the HUAWEI AI Cube are packed in small matte white body with a seamless 3D mesh base. Moreover, the AI speaker is designed in a way that the ports are hidden underneath the base, allowing it to blend in with any home decor easily.

According to market analyst firm Canalys, the global install base of smart speakers is set to more than double in size to reach 225 million units by 2020. This massive opportunity is underpinned by a strong market interest for this category of products, particularly in the China market. As a leading telecommunications equipment and smartphone manufacturer, Huawei is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this burgeoning trend in China and beyond.

Alongside the HUAWEI AI Cube, Huawei also launched HUAWEI Locator, a powerful small form factor location beacon supporting long operation and standby times as well as four major global navigation satellite system (GNSS) standards, namely GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou. Compatible with nano SIM and eSIM, the device supports global roaming with near-real-time location reporting and provides a host of services including SOS button, Geofence and BLE Found, a proximity-based service that triggers a buzzer alarm on HUAWEI Locator when a paired smartphone is within 10 meters from the device. Built as a rugged, multi-purpose device, HUAWEI Locator has an IP68 rating which makes it perfectly suited for any type of activity, indoors or outdoors.

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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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