TymeBank has officially launched in South Africa

TymeBank has officially launched in South Africa, with its EveryDay transactional account now available to customers across the country.

The digital-only bank conducted a soft launch in December 2018 and has been expanding its operations ahead of its official launch today.

TymeBank works in partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer supermarkets, which offer physical spaces for the bank’s customers to access banking services.

The bank’s transactional account features various tools, including GoalSave, MoneyTransfer, and the TymeCoach App.

“We are planning to introduce credit products later this year, as well as an SME proposition, but for now our focus is on getting simple and cost-effective banking solutions into people’s hands,” said TymeBank CEO Sandile Shabalala.

“Our mission is to drive meaningful financial inclusion by making banking more accessible to all South Africans.”

The bank acquired over 80,000 customers in the lead up to its official launch, and expects to have 730 points of presence inside Pick n Pay and Boxer stores once it completes its bank kiosk rollout.

There are over 14,000 till points across the Pick n Pay and Boxer network, too, where customers can withdraw money free of charge and deposit money for just R4, added Shabalala.

“We have a strong proposition, which competitors will find hard to match right now and the tens of thousands of customers that have opened and are using their accounts are testament to that,” he said.

MyBroadband

Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X: Foldable phones are a beautiful, cruel tease

Samsung last week spent nearly 15 minutes on stage showing us slick concept videos and stills of its Galaxy Fold smartphone. The amount of time we actually got to see the real thing: Less than two minutes.

At MWC Barcelona over the weekend, I actually got to handle the Huawei Mate X — one of only a handful of journalists to do so. Most got about a foot away from it during a press briefing.

TCL’s portfolio of concept foldable devices sat behind a glass cover. Xiaomi’simpressive demo video remains just a video.

Welcome to the foldable phone revolution. For now, it’s mostly look, but no touch.

These brief glimpses of the various foldable smartphones underscore the desperate race to be the first to the finish line with a device. But in trying to one-up each other, these companies are taking a rushed approach, offering fleeting glimpses of their products and padding their presentations with polished – and heavily controlled – rendered videos and photos.

It’s admirable that these companies are so eager to forge a path toward the next big innovation in phones, a category that has, frankly, gotten boring. And from everything we’ve seen of these phones, they’re impressive. Just a few years ago, watching a phone display fold in on itself would’ve been unthinkable. Now, there are multiple companies looking to churn them out.

The key operative word, for most people, is “seen.” The public hasn’t had any real time with these devices, and these teases are not doing foldable phones any favors. Almost immediately, the hype over the Galaxy Fold transformed into skepticism. After Samsung wrapped up its stage presentation and opened up its demo area, the Galaxy Fold – the star of the show – was conspicuously absent.

While they may fascinate gadget enthusiasts – and maybe the 1 percenters? – it’s still going to be a hard sell, especially if the phones are going for $2,000 or more.

Keep in mind, just two years ago, we all thought a $1,000 phone was ridiculous.

“There will be initial skepticism over foldable form-factor smartphones in terms of pricing, pocketability and usability,” said Neil Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, noting that some of the early entrants from smaller, aggressive Chinese players could end up hurting the category in the short run.

Blink and you’ll miss it

Samsung’s Unpacked event last week wasn’t a tease for the Galaxy Fold – it was the phone maker’s big launch event. That the company opted not to give anyone too close a view of the device invited speculation that the Galaxy Fold still needs a lot of work.

Admittedly, there’s time. The phone launches on April 26.

It makes me wonder if the device still has the kind of flaws that plagued the Royole Flexpai – promising hardware beset by buggy software that wasn’t quite ready to handle the new design.

Samsung didn’t comment on the manner of the launch but noted that the press would get a closer look at the devices at its booth at MWC. It also released additional video of the device.

Then there was the Huawei Mate X. The Chinese phone maker, battling increased skepticism about the security of its networking equipment, aimed to wow at MWC with its foldable phone.

But at a briefing ahead of its press conference, journalists lined up on one side of a roped-off area and watched a Huawei employee hand-model the device. After a few minutes, another group filed into position.

While I was repeatedly warned that I wouldn’t be able to handle the device, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, handed it to me ahead of an interview with a few journalists.

“You can see it for yourself,” Yu said when I asked about the limited time that people got with these phones and how that might some to wonder if it’s ready for the market. “I’ve been using it for a while.”

Admittedly, the Mate X worked pretty well in my hands, despite a bit of stiffness when I folded and unfolded it. Yu said if it weren’t for the need to build out 5G networks, he could ship the Mate X today.

TCL likewise offered something to put our hands on, but they consisted of early prototypes that showed off its DragonHinge mechanism. They were largely pieces of plastic and metal, with the displays just printed paper to mimic an Android home page. The more polished prototypes were protected by glass.

TCL isn’t planning to enter into the foldable phone market this year, executives told CNET in January. But the company wanted to show the industry what it could do.

“This is about being patient enough to deliver something meaningful,” said TCL spokesman Jason Gerdon. “At the same time, we’re conscious of the fact that a lot of other manufacturers are racing to be first, we are cognizant of that hype factor. ”

Time will tell

The limited face time with these devices, wrapped up in a slick presentation, has me skeptical about these devices and the immediate future of foldable smartphones.

I’ve already listed the reasons why you’re probably not going to buy a Galaxy Fold. Indeed, questions about durability, battery life and app support will need to be addressed. This category is a potential game changer and needs time to develop.

I just hope that in the rush to be first with a foldable phone, these companies actually make a product that works as promised, setting the groundwork for iterative improvements down the line. Yu said that it’ll take around two years before prices for foldable phones get down to the level of mainstream phones, and bad first impressions are hard to fix.

On the flip side, you can point to one notable device that made its public debut despite needing a lot of work: the original iPhone. The phone reportedly dropped calls and froze with disturbing frequency in the days before the actual launch event.

But ultimately, the iPhone changed everything, from the way we interact with technology to the intimate role it plays in our lives. More than a decade later, everyone has a smartphone that evolved out of that first fledgling demo phone.

Maybe a decade from now, we’ll have phones that flex, bend and stretch every which way. Given the excitement and investment in this area, it’s a future I can clearly see.

I just can’t touch it yet.

Samsung Galaxy S10 – South African contract pricing

Samsung recently unveiled its Galaxy S10 smartphones at its Unpacked 2019 event.

The company announced that its Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, and Galaxy S10+ smartphones would be available to pre-order from today – and will launch in South Africa on 8 March 2019.

The devices will be available in three colours: Prism White, Prism Black, and Prism Green. The Galaxy S10e will be available in Canary Yellow, it added.

The recommended retail pricing for the new devices is as follows:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10e – R15,999
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB – R18,999
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+ 128GB – R20,999
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+ 512GB – R25,999
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+ 1TB – R35,999

Contract pricing

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 smartphones are currently available for pre-order from Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, and Cell C, with contract packages available alongside cash purchases.

All South Africans who pre-order any Samsung Galaxy S10 device, including the Galaxy S10e, will also receive a free pair of Galaxy Buds, said the company.

We compared some of the best contract prices for the Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, and S10+ below, based on deals available at the time of writing.


Vodacom

Vodacom logo red

Deal Data Minutes SMS Extras Price
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Smart XS+ 350MB 50 50 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R699
Smart Data 1GB 1GB 75 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R769
Smart Data 2GB 2GB 150 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R889
Smart Data 4GB 4GB 150 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R1,039
Samsung Galaxy S10
Smart XS+ 350MB 50 50 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R799
Smart Data 1GB 1GB 75 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R869
Smart Data 2GB 2GB 150 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R989
Smart Data 4GB 4GB 150 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R1,139
Samsung Galaxy S10+
Smart XS+ 350MB 50 50 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R899
Smart Data 1GB 1GB 75 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R969
Smart S+ 650MB 200 200 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R999
Smart Data 4GB 4GB 150 25 Samsung original cover, Once-off 10GB data bundle, R10,000 Top Dog voucher R1,239

MTN

MTN logo yellow

Deal Data Minutes SMS Extras Price
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Made For Me S 350MB 50 50 R500 off Samsung cover, 24GB Entertainment Pass, 20GB once-off data R749
Samsung Galaxy S10
Made For Me S 350MB 50 50 R500 off Samsung cover, 24GB Entertainment Pass, 20GB once-off data R899
Samsung Galaxy S10+
Made For Me S 350MB 50 50 R500 off Samsung cover, 24GB Entertainment Pass, 20GB once-off data R999

Telkom

Telkom office mockup logo

Deal Data Minutes SMS Extras Price
Samsung Galaxy S10e
FreeMe 1GB 1GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months R699
FreeMe 2GB 2GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music R749
FreeMe 5GB 5GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R899
FreeMe 10GB 10GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R999
FreeMe 20GB 20GB 3,000 Telkom, 1,500 all networks 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,099
FreeMe Unlimited Unlimited 3,000 all networks 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,599
Samsung Galaxy S10
FreeMe 1GB 1GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months R799
FreeMe 2GB 2GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music R849
FreeMe 5GB 5GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R999
FreeMe 10GB 10GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,099
FreeMe 20GB 20GB 3,000 Telkom, 1,500 all networks 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,199
FreeMe Unlimited Unlimited 3,000 all networks 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,699
Samsung Galaxy S10+
FreeMe 1GB 1GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months R899
FreeMe 2GB 2GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music R949
FreeMe 5GB 5GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,099
FreeMe 10GB 10GB 3,000 Telkom 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,199
FreeMe 20GB 20GB 3,000 Telkom, 1,500 all networks 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,299
FreeMe Unlimited Unlimited 3,000 all networks 50 per day 10GB x 6 months, 100 minutes x 24 months, LIT_music, LIT_video R1,799

MyBroadband

SABC AND VIU SA ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

Johannesburg, Tuesday 19 February 2019 – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has signed a license agreement with leading global over-the-top (OTT) video service Viu, operated by PCCW Media and Vuclip. Through the partnership, Viu gains exclusive digital rights to selected SABC titles, as well as a slate of  premium library content for a period of 24 months.

The license agreement, will see SABC 1 programmes  Uzalo – South Africa’s most-watched TV show with a single episode of the previous season drawing 10.2-million viewers, and audience favourite Skeem Saam, migrating its video playbacks from YouTube onto the Viu app. Uzalo and Skeem Saam will remain available for viewing on both YouTube and Viu app, until the migration period ends on 28 February 2019, when Viu officially launches in the South African market. Thereafter, the two SAFTA-winning shows latest seasons will exclusively be available on the Viu App or on www.viu.com as a catch up service.

In addition, Viu has also secured Video On Demand (VOD) rights to 18 South African favourites from the SABC catalogue. This includes critically-acclaimed series The Docket, as well as selected dramas and telenovelas namely Yizo Yizo, Single Galz, Taryn and Sharon, Ngempela, The Sober Companion, When We Were Black, and Emoyeni to name a few.

All programmes licensed exclusively to Viu, remain the property of the SABC.

Madoda Mxakwe, SABC’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) stated, “The SABC is proud to have partnered with Viu SA on this exciting new initiative. As a broadcaster, it is imperative that we continuously move with the times and ensure that our programmes are available through VOD platforms.”

“With its experience in delivering and successfully monetising OTT and VOD services across the globe, Viu SA will assist the SABC’s mandate of ensuring universal access for South Africa’s rich home-grown content. This strongly aligns with our strategic objective to identify new revenue streams and, in this particular case, increasing revenue through sub-licensing SABC’s owned Intellectual Property (IP), specifically in the video entertainment space.”

Ryan Solovei, Country Manager: Viu South Africa said, “As a premium platform, we are proud to partner with SABC to provide a digital platform for the broadcaster’s incredible shows. We believe in the power of South African stories, and we look forward to increasing access to these stories to as many people as possible through our digital platform.”

The service can be accessed on connected devices (mobile, tablet and laptop), through the mobile App, which is available for free download on IOS and the Google Play store, and on the web at www.viu.com. The Viu app boasts great such as the capability to download content to watch offline later, as well as a data-friendly feature allowing you to select your preferred resolution.

About Viu:

Viu is a leading OTT service operating in 16 markets in countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Mayanmar and Middle East countries of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. The Premium App, which offers a hybrid of both free and paid-for content has long been enjoyed globally with over 20-million monthly active users, 1.2-billion video views in 2018 H1 and boasts 70-plus Viu Original titles (2018). The company hopes to replicate its success in the developing markets in South Africa followed by the rest of Africa.

These Android apps have been tracking you, even when you say stop

Some apps may track your activity over time, even when you tell them to forget the past. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Roughly 17,000 Android apps collect identifying information that creates a permanent record of the activity on your device, according to research from the International Computer Science Institute that was shared with CNET. The data collection appears to violate the search giant’s policy on collecting data that can be used to target users for advertising in most cases, the researchers said.

The apps can track you by linking your Advertising ID — a unique but resettable number used to tailor advertising — with other identifiers on your phone that are difficult or impossible to change. Those IDs are the device’s unique signatures: the MAC address, IMEI and Android ID. Less than a third of the apps that collect identifiers take only the Advertising ID, as recommended by Google’s best practices for developers.

“Privacy disappears” when apps collect those persistent identifiers, said Serge Egelman, who led the research. He said his team, which reported the findings to Google in September, observed most of the apps sending identifying information to advertising services, an apparent violation of Google’s policies.

The company’s policies allow developers to collect the identifiers but forbid them from combining the Advertising ID with hardware IDs without explicit consent of the user, or from using the identifiers that can’t be reset, to target ads. What’s more, Google’s best practices for developers recommend collecting only the Advertising ID.

The behavior fits into the tech industry’s long history of creating privacy measures that websites and app developers quickly learn to bypass. Adobe, for instance, was forced to address Flash cookies in 2011 after complaints that the snippets of software could survive in your web browser even after you cleared all your cookies. Similar complaints arose in 2014 over Verizon’s and AT&T’s use of so-called “supercookies,” which tracked users across multiple devices and couldn’t be cleared. In 2012, Microsoft accused Google of circumventing its P3P web privacy standard, which let users of the Internet Explorer browser set their preferences for cookies. (Google countered that the standard wasn’t useful anymore).

Data collected by mobile apps has provoked even broader scrutiny because of the explosion of smartphones and tablets. In January, Facebook and Google were both found to have used a developer tool to circumvent Apple’s privacy rules and build iOS apps that collect user information. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018 and other privacy controversies have sparked greater scrutiny over how data is being collected and used. (For tips on how to prevent apps from taking your data, please see this story.)

Egelman’s team, which previously found around 6,000 children’s apps improperly collecting data, said Thursday that big-name apps for adults are sending permanent identifiers to advertising services. The apps included included Angry Birds Classic, the popular smartphone game, as well as Audiobooks by Audible and Flipboard. Clean Master, Battery Doctor and Cheetah Keyboard, all utilities developed by Cheetah Mobile, were also found to send permanent info to advertising networks.

All of these apps have been installed on at least 100 million devices. Clean Master, a phone utility that includes antivirus and phone optimization services, has been installed on 1 billion devices.

What Google’s doing about it

Google said it had investigated Egelman’s report and taken action on some apps. It declined to say how many apps it acted on or what action was taken, or to identify which of its policies the apps had violated. The company said its policies allow for the collection of hardware identifiers and the Android ID for some purposes, like fraud detection, but not for the targeting of ads.

Google also said it can enforce its policies only when Android apps send the identifiers to Google’s own ad networks, such as AdMob. If the apps send the data to outside networks, Google says it can’t monitor them for violations.

“We take these issues very seriously,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “Combining Ad ID with device identifiers for the purpose of ads personalization is strictly forbidden. We’re constantly reviewing apps — including those listed in the researcher’s report — and will take action when they do not comply with our policies.”

Google has a number of initiatives that aim to protect user privacy and security. In a blog post Wednesday, the company said it increased the number of abusive apps it blocked from the Google Play store by 55 percent in 2018.

Representatives of Rovio, which develops the Angry Birds series, and of Audible, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A Cheetah Mobile spokesman said in an email that its apps send a device’s Android ID to a company that helps it track installations of its products. The information isn’t used for targeted ads, and the company complies with all relevant Google policies and laws, the spokesman said.

He added that the version of Battery Doctor tested by the researchers was out of date; Cheetah Mobile updated the app in 2018 to no longer collect the IMEI.

Flipboard said it doesn’t use the Android ID for ad targeting.

data-privacy-security-hackers-hacking-unlock-iphone-0996

The data collection identified by Egelman and his team is similar to an issue that got Uber in trouble with Apple in 2015. According to The New York TimesApple CEO Tim Cook was furious to learn that Uber was collecting iOS users’ hardware identifiers against Apple’s policies and threatened to remove the Uber app from the App Store.

Egelman’s team tested the apps as they ran on Android 6, also known as Marshmallow. Just over half of all Android devices run Android 6 or an earlier version of the system, according to a Google analysis from October. The researchers configured a version of Android that let them track which identifiers an app collected and then ran thousands of apps on the modified software.

Egelman said that changing your Advertising ID should serve the same function as clearing out your web browsing data. When you clear cookies, websites you visited in the past won’t recognize you. That stops them from building up data about you over time.

But you can’t reset other identifiers, like the MAC address and IMEI. The MAC address is a unique identifier that your device broadcasts to internet connections like Wi-Fi routers. The IMEI is an identifier for your specific device. Both identifiers can sometimes be used to prevent stolen phones from accessing a cellular network. The Android ID is another identifier that’s unique to each device. It can be reset, but only if you run a factory reset of your device.

If apps send ad networks any of those identifiers, it won’t matter how many times you reset your advertising ID. They can still tell it’s you.

Sandy Bilus, a privacy and cybersecurity lawyer at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, said the apps might be in violation of the General Data Protection Regulation, a European Union law that requires organizations to tell users what data they collect on them, if they haven’t spelled out what they’re collecting to EU users.

“It certainly could raise GDPR issues,” Bilus said. “The app developers who are collecting and using this data should be careful about that.”

Lorrie Faith Cranor, director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, said that Google is in the best position to crack down on apps that use hardware identifiers and the Android ID in ways that violate its own policies.

The fact that developers are creating workarounds to the Advertising ID suggests that many people are resetting the identifier, Cranor said, even if most users are unaware of the privacy feature.

“Otherwise,” she said, “why would they bother?”

Huawei P30 To Be Unveiled On 26 March 2019; Launch To Take Place In Paris

It’s that time of the year where premium smartphone brands begin teasing the crowds with hints of their next-generation smartphone, and Huawei is no exception to the rule. In fact, the Chinese smartphone maker recently released a teaser for its upcoming P30 series smartphone, along with its launch venue.

The teaser comes in the form of a 10-second short video, to which Huawei had posted up on its official Twitter account. In it, the video shows still shots of several iconic landmarks in Paris, France, which includes the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe. A clear hint at where Huawei intends to launch the P30.

The text accompanying the tweet reads “Rules were made to be rewritten”, followed by the date of 26 March 2019. If that wasn’t a big enough giveaway, the tweet also contains the hashtag “#HUAWEIP30” at the end.

Embedded video

Huawei Mobile

@HuaweiMobile

Rules were made to be rewritten. Paris, 26.03.2019.

143 people are talking about this

The Huawei P30 is the successor of last year’s P20 series. To date, there is very little detail regarding the phone, including its hardware specification, design, or the camera setup that will be used.However, given the nature of its predecessor, it wouldn’t surprise us if the higher-tier version of the phone will retain the same triple-camera main array or if Huawei decides to one-up itself by adding on a fourth camera sensor.

This announcement also makes Huawei the second company to have the announcement of a major flagship outside of Barcelona, and away from the platform of MWC 2019. For context, Samsung will be launching its Galaxy S10 smartphone series during its Galaxy Unpacked event. However, instead of holding its within the MWC grounds in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung has opted to host the event at San Francisco, California. Miles away from MWC.

Huawei Allegedly Rewarding Employees That Bring Back Confidential Information

A report by The Information claims to shed light on how Huawei allegedly steals trade secrets from companies such as Apple.

According to the report, the staff member in charge of Huawei’s smartwatch project once arranged a meeting with the supplier of Apple’s heart rate monitor under the guise of offering them a significant contract.

The report alleges that the main goal of the meeting was to glean information about the Apple Watch.

According to a source: “The Huawei team spent the next hour and a half pressing the supplier for details about the Apple Watch.”

Another example of Huawei’s alleged attempts to steal information is that the company presses job applicants who previously worked for Apple to provide information about the company’s upcoming projects.

The US government has now filed criminal charges against Huawei, claiming that it has stolen trade secrets and committed bank fraud.

It also alleges that Huawei has a formal programme that rewards its employees for stealing information, rewarding staff more if the information is confidential.

Huawei said that “in conducting research and development, Huawei employees must search and use publicly available information and respect third-party intellectual property per our business-conduct guidelines”.

TCL is working on a foldable phone that bends into a smartwatch

Foldable devices are all the rage. Even television maker TCL is getting in on the game.

The Chinese company, best known for budget televisions, but also phones through its BlackBerry Mobile and Alcatel brands, is working on at least five devices employing flexible displays, including two tablets, two smartphones and a flexible phone that could curve into a smartwatch, according to company renderings and patent image filings .Play that folds inward, like a clamshell, while the other has a display on the outside, like the Royole Flexpai. The smartphones, meanwhile, also have two variants that fold on the inside and outside, but they bend at the horizontal line, like a traditional flip phone. The last phone appears to be tall and skinny and able to curve into a cuff around a wrist. None share the same design as Samsung’s foldable phone.

The images underscore the industry’s growing interest in foldable devices, which is seen as the next major leap in phone design and a way to get us interested in phones again. People are holding onto their smartphones longer than before, and it’s getting harder to justify a pricey upgrade given the relatively minor tweaks made every year. The hope is that foldables can change that and introduce a new way of interacting with electronics.

The images are preliminary, and TCL could change or scrap its plans. It’s also unclear when the devices could hit the market.

But a TCL executive told CNET last month that the company will release its first foldable device in 2020. At the time, it was unclear just what kind of device it would be, since the company makes so many different ones.

“It’s not just smartphones,” said Stefan Streit, TCL’s general manager of global marketing, said in an interview at CES, adding that other consumer products like wearables, home appliances and TVs could also benefit from the new foldable technology.

One of the renderings seen show devices that fold with a Surface Book-like gap in the middle. There’s little else known about these devices.

The company is among the top players in televisions, but has a lower profile when it comes to phones. It struck a licensing deal with BlackBerry to make productivity-focused phones, and has itself licensed out the Palm name to a startup that’s made a bizarre tiny phone that’s a companion for your main phone.  The company is hoping to build up its name recognition by jumping on one of the flashiest trends in the industry.

One TCL patent filing shows a foldable phone that curves into a smartwatch.
One TCL patent filing shows a foldable phone that curves into a smartwatch.

Most major Android phone makers and even unknown startups are working on foldable devicesGoogle has said it’s committed to providing Android support for foldable designs. Startup Royole already sells its foldable device, the FlexPai, for $1,318 (£1,209) for the 6GB of RAM and 128GB variant. The FlexPai closes like a book, with its screen on the outside. And even Apple has filed patents for foldable phone designs.

Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, will show off its efforts at next week’s Galaxy S10 launch. Its device — rumored to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Flex or Galaxy Fold — is a tablet when it’s fully opened and then a phone when it’s closed. It uses a new display technology called Infinity Flex Display that lets you open and close the device over and over without any degradation.

UK concludes using Huawei in 5G is a manageable risk, report says

The British government has reportedly concluded that any risks from the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G networks can be mitigated.

That determination was made by the UK’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), according to a Financial Times report Sunday citing two unnamed sources familiar the conclusion, which hasn’t been made public.

The NCSC didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation and comment.

The conclusion runs contrary to US State Department efforts to discourage European countries preparing for the rollout of 5G — the high-speed, next-generation networking technology — from using equipment made by the Chinese tech company. US officials have reportedly met with representatives of the European Commission to warn them that the Chinese government could use Huawei equipment for spying.

That warning followed escalating tensions between the US and Huawei that have seen the arrest of the company’s CFO in and 23 indictments thrust on the company by the United States. Preceding this was a year of warnings from the US against Huawei, for fear of the company’s coziness with the Chinese government, which raised concerns over espionage.

Icasa board chairperson Mohlaloga sentenced to 20 years imprisonment

ICASA chair Rubben Mohlaloga has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for fraud and money-laundering, after a R6-million transaction involving Land Bank was found to be illegal.

The state alleged that he worked with then Land Bank CEO and ANC MP Philemon Mohlahlane and attorney Dinga Rammy Nkhwashu to transfer R6 million to Nkhwashu’s law firm in 2008.

The court’s findings were that the money was transferred from Agri-BEE, an institution designed to help black South Africans participate in the agriculture sector, to Dingwako Farming Projects.

However, the money was never actually used to help black farm workers, and while a farm was bought with some of the funds, the court said that this was done to disguise the fraudulent nature of the transaction.

The transaction also did not follow the necessary procedures, with the court finding that Mohlahlane had forced fund manager Khutso Mosoma to perform the transaction without the necessary documents.

Mohlaloga’s lawyer Rudi Krause said that his client would challenge the conviction, which Krause said is “unsupported by the facts”.

Mohlaloga has also reportedly been successful in asking for his removal from the ICASA board to be delayed, pending the outcome of his appeal.

This is despite’s ICASA disallowing anyone convicted of fraud from remaining on the board.