Give Huawei a break?

5G devices have been banned in Australia but should we give Huawei a break?


If Huawei really cares about selling phones in the U.S - it needs to stop being so shady

Huawei has been caught lying again.

In a recent ad for its Nova 3i phone, the world's second largest phone maker was exposed for misleading consumers with DSLR photos that it tried to pass off as selfies taken with the phone.

And now AnandTech has revealed the Chinese tech giant has been artificially juicing up the chipset inside of its flagship P20 Pro in order to give it higher scores than competing phones when using the popular benchmarking app 3DMark.

It's one thing to fake selfies in an ad, but it's another to program your phone to automatically boost the performance whenever certain whitelisted benchmarking apps are detected in order to make them appear to be more powerful than the competition.

When confronted by AnandTech, Huawei essentially replied with a shrug and essentially "everybody does it," and that the P20 Pro's AI was doing its job to adjust performance accordingly based on the specific app open.

Dr. Wang Chenglu, President of Software at Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, told the tech site at IFA 2018 that all "others do the same testing, get high scores, and Huawei cannot stay silent."

He states that it is much better than it used to be, and that Huawei ‘wants to come together with others in China to find the best verification benchmark for user experience’. He also states that ‘in the Android ecosystem, other manufacturers also mislead with their numbers’, citing one specific popular smartphone manufacturer in China as the biggest culprit, and that it is becoming ‘common practice in China’.

The juiced up benchmarks are so egregious that UL, the company that the 3DMark benchmarking app, has delisted Huawei's P20 Pro, Nova 3, and Honor Play from its leaderboard for "best smartphones."

Here's the response we received from a Huawei spokesperson:

Huawei smartphones use advanced technologies such as AI to optimize the performance of hardware, including the CPU, GPU and NPU.

When someone launches a photography app or plays a graphically-intensive game, Huawei’s intelligent software creates a smooth and stable user experience by applying the full capabilities of the hardware, while simultaneously managing the device’s temperature and power efficiency. For applications that aren’t as power intensive like browsing the web, it will only allocate the resources necessary to deliver the performance that’s needed.

In normal benchmarking scenarios, once Huawei’s software recognizes a benchmarking application, it intelligently adapts to “Performance Mode” and delivers optimum performance. Huawei is planning to provide users with access to “Performance Mode” so they can use the maximum power of their device when they need to.

In another statement, Huawei says it's been having discussions with UL and the two have "reached a positive agreement on the next steps in working together."

In the discussion, Huawei explained that its smartphones use an artificial intelligent resource scheduling mechanism. Because different scenarios have different resource needs, the latest Huawei handsets leverage innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to optimize resource allocation in a way so that the hardware can demonstrate its capabilities to the fullest extent, while fulfilling user demands across all scenarios.

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Give Huawei a break?

By Jim Scott

Chinese tech firm Huawei has just launched its P20 series, a range of phones which it hopes will take on market leaders Samsung and Apple. But as thousands of people flock to network stores and online to buy the new phones. Huawei's planned 5G infrastructure and telecommunication devices remain banned in Australia and the US.

Just last month, Australia banned Huawei and ZTE devices from providing next-generation 5G to its country over national security fears. Speculation over the ability for the Chinese government to "listen in" and monitor device usage has been enough to have the manufacturer struck off the list of approved devices on sale in Australia.

Similarly, mobile networks and Internet Service Providers in the UK were warned by British spies to avoid use of ZTE equipment, which has close links with Huawei, the Telegraph reports.

But despite being the largest manufacturer of smartphone equipment, which also makes and supplies broadband routers for businesses and homes. It has been "unofficially" banned from the United States meaning some devices were still available to buy in the States.

In 2012, a US report "House Intelligence Committee" which looked into concerns raised about Chinese-owned Huawei, concluded that its links to Beijing posed a threat to national security, CNET reports. But over summer a new defence bill which banned the use of the US government using Huawei and ZTE tech was passed. The bill meant government agencies were now "forbidden" from using smartphones and other devices manufactured by Huawei and several other Chinese firms.

According to the Financial Times, the US is trying to "counter offer" an alternative solution for internet infrastructure, originally Huawei's contract, in the Pacific. It reports that the US government is trying to "push back" against the Chinese brand's work in Papua New Guinea.

Huawei has since tried to overturn its US ban on providing telecommunications equipment to the country over its argument that its kit will not compromise national security, the Register explains.

Critics of the bans have said the sanctions imposed by the US and now Australia "limits" the option of tech offered elsewhere around the world as a result of mass "paranoia". Whilst Huawei themselves have called both moves "politically motivated" and took to social media to publicly tweet their frustration saying the manufacturer had provided safe connections to Australia for the last 15 years, Reuters reports.

Currently the South China Morning Post reports that there is no evidence to support that Huawei equipment is insecure and whilst it is headquartered in China, it has already been scrutinised to a higher extent than any other communication supplier.

But in a new blow to the Chinese's tech reputation on Thursday, Bloomberg claimed Apple and Amazon were amongst the US companies and agencies who had sensitive data stolen by Chinese spies. The data was allegedly stolen through the use of "tiny" chips inserted onto circuit boards on the very hardware, including Microsoft devices, used by the companies. It is alleged in Bloomberg's report that this data was then relayed back to the country.

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South China Morning Post

Australia should reverse its Huawei 5G ban

This week, 600 delegates from the organisation that sets standards for the world’s telecommunications industry will meet on Australia’s Gold Coast. Their goal: to ensure that the next generation of mobile technology – 5G – will adequately serve the country’s businesses and households.

Unfortunately, the Australian government has just made that outcome less likely. Amid a leadership shake-up last month, it blocked Huawei Technologies, a Chinese company whose technology underpins mobile broadband for about half of all Australians, from building the country’s future 5G networks.

The ban was made under the pretext of protecting national security, yet there is no evidence that Huawei gear is insecure. Because it is headquartered in China, Huawei has undergone more scrutiny than any other information and communications technology supplier in the world. In several markets, including the UK, its source code is reviewed by independent security experts. In the 31 years since its founding, no public evidence of wrongdoing has ever come to light. Canberra’s decision to ban the company was purely political.

Australian citizens will be paying for that decision for decades to come. 5G will form the basis of future broadband networks. By keeping a leading 5G provider out of its market, Australia has reduced the country’s supply of telecommunications infrastructure just as demand for 5G is starting to grow.

Australia blocks Huawei, ZTE from 5G development

Basic economics dictates that when supply drops, costs rise. Perhaps that is why Americans live with the second-highest prices in the world for mobile phone services. In the US, 90 per cent of wireless infrastructure sales are made by just two companies, Ericsson and Nokia. Meanwhile, the quality of US mobile services, measured by download speeds, is ranked 61st in the world, after Chile, Egypt and Peru.

National security obviously takes precedence over download speeds. But if security is the goal, banning telecommunications equipment suppliers on the basis of geographic origin makes no sense. Today’s telecommunications industry is transnational and borderless. Threats can originate anywhere. Programmable code can be implanted virtually in hardware and software, allowing malicious actors to spy or launch a cyberattack. Unauthorised functionality can compromise the product of any company, anywhere in the world.

While no evidence exists that Huawei has been compromised, by the Chinese government or any other actors, the US, by contrast, has a long track record of modifying products to achieve its goals. From the 1940s until the early 1990s, the US National Security Agency (NSA) rigged encryption systems sold by Crypto AG, a Swiss company, enabling the agency to read the coded diplomatic and military traffic of more than 120 countries.

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