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Samsung: Samsung Electronics to halt production at its last computer factory in China – Latest News

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Samsung Electronics Co will halt operations of its last computer factory in China, the South Korean tech giant said on Saturday, the latest manufacturer to shift production from the world’s second-biggest economy.

Companies are rethinking their production and supply chains amid rising Chinese labour costs, a U.S.-China trade war and the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around half the 1,700 employees on contract at Samsung Electronics Suzhou Computer will be affected, excluding those involved in research and development, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday, citing a notice to Samsung staff.

The factory shipped $4.3 billion worth of goods out of China in 2012, a figure that had sunk to $1 billion by 2018, the Hong Kong newspaper said.

A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment on the factory’s revenue and shipments, or details regarding employees.

“China remains an important market for Samsung and we will continue to provide superior products and services for Chinese consumers,” the company said in a statement.

Samsung shut its last smartphone factory in China last year. Its remaining facilities include two semiconductor manufacturing sites in Suzhou and Xi’an.



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Chinese ‘robotaxis’ take riders for a spin

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Chinese players such as Baidu, Alibaba-backed AutoX and ride-sharing king DiDi Chuxing recently launched autonomous taxi pilot p
Chinese players such as Baidu, Alibaba-backed AutoX and ride-sharing king DiDi Chuxing recently launched autonomous taxi pilot projects in cities around the country

Chinese entrants in the race to put autonomous vehicles on the road are bringing “robotaxis” online in hopes that a hired-car format can be the key to unlocking wide acceptance of the futuristic technology.

It is expected to be years before cars that operate completely without are unleashed owing to lingering technological, regulatory, and safety hurdles.

But as China challenges US tech dominance, Chinese players such as Baidu, Alibaba-backed AutoX and ride-sharing king DiDi Chuxing recently launched autonomous taxi pilot projects in cities around the country.

Similar efforts are under way in the US, and AutoX’s chief executive Xiao Jianxiong told AFP the first fully- could be on the roads by the end of the year.

Robotaxis or delivery services are considered ideal for accumulating the driving time and huge data cache needed for cars to “learn” and become safe enough.

Chinese consumers—known for eagerly embracing , online payments and other digital solutions—are lining up for a spin in DiDi Chuxing’s self-developed autonomous taxis at a Shanghai pilot project launched in June.

Underlining the work-in-progress nature of the concept, a DiDi staffer occupies the driver’s seat, ready to take the wheel if needed.

But Da Xuan, a 24-year-old social-media worker, leapt at a taste of the future.

Robotaxis or delivery services are considered ideal for accumulating the driving time and huge data cache needed for cars to 'le
Robotaxis or delivery services are considered ideal for accumulating the driving time and huge data cache needed for cars to ‘learn’ and become safe enough

‘Smooth’ running

“I heard companies like Uber or Tesla were doing autonomous driving, so I was curious what Chinese companies were doing, whether they can go into production, and if so, what will the (riding) experience be like,” she said.

“It was very smooth,” Da said, adding that she would feel safe in such a car.

Test subjects use DiDi’s mobile app to plot a ride through suburban roads in a Volvo fitted with a crown of tech hardware topped by a spinning radar device.

The vehicle confidently sets out, accelerating, braking, signalling and turning on its own in real traffic as a female voice calmly narrates: “Yielding for crosswalk”; “Your car has been disinfected”.

When a large truck abruptly swerved in front, DiDi’s AI driver smoothly applied the brake.

Like any student driver, however, it still needs practice.

Chinese consumers—known for eagerly embracing e-commerce, online payments and other digital solutions—are lining up for a spin i
Chinese consumers—known for eagerly embracing e-commerce, online payments and other digital solutions—are lining up for a spin in DiDi Chuxing’s self-developed autonomous taxis at a Shanghai pilot project launched in June

At one stop sign, it braked so abruptly that passengers lurched forward.

And any impromptu deviation from the plotted route requires human intervention.

But Meng Xing, chief operating officer of DiDi’s autonomous driving company, told AFP its AI system “is already smart enough to handle most of the situations”, and safety drivers almost never need to touch the steering wheel or brakes.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, known for his overly rosy predictions, raised eyebrows in July by saying the US electric carmaker could have a completely autonomous car ready this year, which analysts have dismissed.

‘Long way’ to go

Paul Lewis, who heads policy research at the Washington-based non-profit Eno Center for Transportation, told AFP that hopes are being “reset” as the pace of the technology’s development disappoints.

“Technology developers are starting to realise the limits of artificial intelligence and the benefits of the human brain in handling some of these tasks,” he said, adding we remain “a long way” from driverless cars.

A Didi executive said in June that the ride-hailing giant aims to operate more than a million self-driving cars by 2030
A Didi executive said in June that the ride-hailing giant aims to operate more than a million self-driving cars by 2030

But Xiao of AutoX expects a “sizeable” deployment of the vehicles—without safety drivers—could take place in two to three years, with regulations and technology being the main obstacles.

“It’s just a matter of time and effort to make it happen,” he said. “There are no open scientific questions left to be solved.”

Tech giant Baidu has plans for autonomous car testing bases in more than 10 Chinese cities including Beijing, with a 45-strong robotaxi fleet already on trial in central China’s Changsha city, plying an area of around 130 square kilometres (50 square miles).

Its Apollo Park in the capital, which opened this year, has more than 200 vehicles while Apollo general manager Li Zhenyu told employees in a letter that “the era of unmanned driving in traffic will definitely arrive”.

A Didi executive said in June that the ride-hailing giant aims to operate more than a million self-driving cars by 2030.

“What we are trying to solve is the last 0.5 percent of problems… we believe in the future, we’ll be able to get to that point where we can provide a safer experience than a human driver.”


China’s Didi launches Silicon Valley research hub


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China uses tech as tool of repression to monitor citizens: US commission

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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is committed to the production and use of technology that controls and surveils its population, according to a congressional commission of the US.

In a joint statement to Fox News, Chairman Robin Cleveland and Vice Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that China’s move to use technology as a tool of repression is “politically motivated to sustain the Party”.

“The Chinese Communist Party is committed to the production and use of technology that controls and surveils its population. The decision to use these tools of repression is politically motivated to sustain the Party,” the statement read.

The Chinese government monitored every corner of Beijing by state-of-the-art surveillance cameras. Facial recognition algorithms matched with images filed away in a secret database could see you in legal trouble for something you did near your front door. A semi-political post made in a private chat could lead to the loss of your job.

Also read: Apple iPhone 12 may support China’s BeiDou navigation

According to the report in Fox News, surveillance has become a booming business in the world’s most populated country with scores of tech start-ups moving in to meet the market demand with the government’s encouragement.

Several human rights activists said that the enterprise has quickly become a critical apparatus for suppression and abuses, especially on minority groups.

Beijing uses a system called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), which has the ability to audit entire populations.

The system is developed by a state-owned military contractor China Electronics Technology Corporation, IJOP. It is said to have been copied by Chinese military theorists researching how the US military used information technology during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and enhanced from there.

“From there, it can rapidly produce names of people classified as “suspicious” — and thus marked for possible detention — purely as a result of their travel patterns abroad, mobile applications installed and key phrases used in bulletins or private messages, sometimes as basic as asking someone else where they can pray,” the report said.

Joseph Humire, Executive Director for the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), told Fox News that Xinjiang serves as the “central nervous system of surveillance” in China, which is an IJOP that prompts you to enter identifying information, such as when you grow a beard, leave your house, or your blood type, etc.

“These apps try to determine your pattern of life, and if Chinese authorities determine any change in your pattern of life, they come to visit you,” he told Fox News.

“It is targeting the whole population with the focus on anyone who has independent thinking,” said Xiaoxu “Sean” Lin, a microbiologist and activist/spokesperson for the Washington-based Falun Dafa Association.

“Many technologies are involved in facial recognition including Facial Action Unit analysis, facial expression recognition, deep neuro network analysis, facial muscle movement recognition, topographic modelling, deep machine learning and supercomputer technologies,” Xiaoxu added.



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MacBook Air (2020) review: Nobody does it better

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Written by Nandagopal Rajan
| New Delhi |

Updated: August 9, 2020 3:59:38 pm


macbook air, apple macbook air 2020, macbook air 2020 review, macbook air price in india, macbook air 2020 specs, macbook air In the realm of the thinnest, lightest and most portable computers, the MacBook Air still blows the competition away. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Never before have we been so bothered about the devices we use. Is it heating up? Is it slowing down? Isn’t it a bit too heavy to keep on the lap all day long? And a lot of us are realising that what we thought was a good device for work, is not exactly that when it comes to working from home. In our cramped urban homes, most of us are also struggling to find the right place to sit and work, with the computer jostling for space on the dining table with leftover plates as the sink is already overflowing. This is where a lot of people are considering new devices for the new normal. And the new MacBook Air has arrived at just such a time.

MacBook Air 2020 specification: 13.3-inch 400-nit LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology (2560x1600p, ~227ppi) | 1.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz) | Intel Iris Plus Graphics | 8GB RAM + 512GB SSD | Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports x 2 + 3.5mm jack | 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible | Bluetooth 5.0 | 720p FaceTime HD camera | speakers with Dolby Atmos | 49.9-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery | macOS Catalina

MacBook Air 2020 price in India: Rs 92,990 onward

What’s new and what’s good?

Having got through the past few months using my old 2015 vintage MacBook Air and a review unit of MacBook Pro, the new MacBook Air came as a breath of fresh air. For one, this was a much lighter, much portable device compared to these two, though the same size as the last MacBook Air. The all-metal feel is not just style, as the bumps and folded edges of my old MacBook Air will tell you. This is made to last, and last they do.

In fact, after playing around with the device for a while, I started wondering if this was actually lighter than the new iPad Pro with the keyboard. While it really isn’t at 1.2 kg, that is how light this MacBook Air is. This is the device that does not tie you to a table and lets you move around — a Zoom call in the roof, early morning e-papers in the balcony, writing reviews on the sofa and back to the dining table for the dreaded spreadsheets.

macbook air, apple macbook air 2020, macbook air 2020 review, macbook air price in india, macbook air 2020 specs, macbook air With whatever I did, editing stories, accessing a WordPress back end and playing around with designs on Canva, this one really up to it all the time. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The one aspect of the new MacBook Air that will stand out for those like me who have also used the earlier version is the Magic Keyboard, the same one Apple debuted with the MacBook Pro last year. The keys are now softer to your touch and offer the right amount the pushback and travel. The scissor mechanism is back and that spring in the keys makes the MacBook Air a great device for writing and editing for users like me. There is the inverted T for arrow keys so that you don’t have to look where your fingers are. Also, despite the small build, the trackpad is sufficiently larger and more than responsive for whatever you want to do.

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The 13.3-inch Retina display has a native resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. The colours pop out and the text is sharp to read. In the display, things have really improved over last time and you feel it everywhere from the wallpaper to when wiring this using the dark mode in the Bear app I am so fond of. But what really stood out for me was how bright this display is. In fact, I can challenge people to work for more than 15 minutes indoors with the screen at full brightness. That is going to be really tough and you don’t have to push the screen beyond 60 per cent to work at home. The extra brightness can come in handy when you are trying to impress colleagues by taking that boring video call to under the interesting August skies.

macbook air, apple macbook air 2020, macbook air 2020 review, macbook air price in india, macbook air 2020 specs, macbook air The all-metal feel is not just style, as the bumps and folded edges of my old MacBook Air will tell you. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The MacBook Air is often underestimated in terms of processing power. My old faithful can still pull through a video edit if needed and not even break a sweat. The new generation is no different. While you don’t really want to use purely for a high-intensity video editing call of duty, it will be more than able to help with one when the time comes. With whatever I did, editing stories, accessing a WordPress back end and playing around with designs on Canva, this one really up to it all the time. And given that even the most demanding apps like Photoshop are now cloud-based, this is all most of us will need. Apple offers configurations up to a quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz, and that should be more than enough for the target audience of this device.

And thanks to the SSD storage, this one is up and running whenever you want it. Just open it, tough the fingerprint scanner to unlock and you are back where you left it. All within a few seconds. The fingerprint scanner is habit-forming too and you hate the times when you have to key in the password. Since the MacBook Pro too has this feature, this is something I am already used to.

macbook air, apple macbook air 2020, macbook air 2020 review, macbook air price in india, macbook air 2020 specs, macbook air The keys are now softer to your touch and offer the right amount the pushback and travel. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

The battery is good enough to last you a full day at work, and you can keep the power adapter at home. Anyway, these days you can find USB-C chargers in most places and in case you run out of power that’s all you need to recharge this.

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What to keep in mind?

Those moving from a larger laptop will take a few days to get adjusted to the smaller keyboard. I did coming from the larger MacBook Pro where I was doing most of my writing in recent days. But the transition is easy and before you realise the fingers will be finding the right keys.
I would have loved to see an edge-to-edge display on this one, just a little bit extra screen. Now, there is a bezel though a thin one.
As I realised recently with an accessory I wanted to test, the USB-A port is something some users moving from older devices will miss. Even though Apple has been pushing for a transition to USB-C, the ecosystem is still not there yet. Trying getting a good USB-C mouse and you will realise what I am talking about.

macbook air, apple macbook air 2020, macbook air 2020 review, macbook air price in india, macbook air 2020 specs, macbook air The 13.3-inch Retina display has a native resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

Should you buy it?

If your need is regular computing with portability and reliability, then the MacBook Air is really the device you should look at. Yes, I know a lot of you will feel the price is beyond you, but I’ve now convinced the longer product life of this device will more than make up for that in the long run. Those who need more power for high-end tasks and a larger screen should look at the MacBook Pro instead. In the realm of the thinnest, lightest and most portable computers, the MacBook Air still blows the competition away.

 

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