‘World’s fastest’ all-electric plane and other tech news:

LJ Rich looks at the best of the week’s technology news stories including Apple sues spyware firm NSO Group and its parent company for allegedly targeting iPhone users with a hacking tool. NSO Group says its tools were made to target terrorists and criminals. Rolls-Royce waits for confirmation that its Spirit of Innovation craft is the world’s fastest all-electric plane. Nasa launches a spacecraft to smash into an asteroid with the aim of finding out how much it could alter its speed and direction

Spotify is Testing a Feature to Compete With TikTok:

TikTok became popular with its vertical video format with audio playing in the background. Many companies have since then incorporated the vertical video style into their mobile apps such as Facebook and YouTube Shorts. Spotify is now next in line to test out a similar feature that displays a feed of vertical videos, known as Discover.

Google Will Send Alerts if Someone is Snooping Over A Chromebook User’s Shoulder:

Google has been working on a new privacy feature for its Chromebooks for a securer and shoulder surfing-free experience. According to 9To5Google, the feature known as Human Presence Sensor (HPS) in the Chromium Gerrit is listed with multiple entries. Until this September, the feature was compatible with the face unlock feature and included presence detection.

PTA Reduces Mobile Termination Rates:

The Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) has reduced the Mobile Termination Rate (MTR) from Rs. 0.70 per minute to Rs. 0.50 per minute from 1st January 2022. Rates shall be further reduced to Rs. 0.40 per minute from 1st July 2022. The reduction in the MTR has been made after thorough consultation with the telecom industry. PTA noted that lowering the MTR would allow more competitive and innovative offerings such as free minute off-net bundles for the consumers. The move is expected to make the market healthier and beneficial in terms of lower tariffs for making off-net calls. It would also benefit smaller operators in terms of reduced net payments to be made to the bigger operators.

ZTE Launches Voyage 20 Pro 5G and Axon 30 Ultra Aerospace Edition:

ZTE hosted a space-themed launch party in China earlier today where it announced its brand new Voyage 20 Pro 5G and a limited Aerospace Edition of the Axon 30 Ultra. The device comes with a few extra accessories inside a limited edition box. There is a carbon fiber case and ZTE TWS earphones, a 65W charger and a USB-C cable.

Daraz Eyes Expansion to Compete Against Amazon:

Pakistan’s leading e-commerce retail platform Daraz expects to host 300,000 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the next two years as the company looks to strengthen its position in the domestic market in the face of prospective competition from the global powerhouse Amazon. The CEO and founder of Daraz Group, Bjarke Mikkelsen, told Reuters that it wants to “get to 300,000 active and educated SMEs selling on our platform within the next two years, and that will basically create a million jobs”.

Samsung Unveils the Galaxy A03 Budget Smartphone:

Samsung recently launched the Galaxy A03, only a week after unveiling the Galaxy A03 Core. The latest Galaxy A03 is a successor to the Galaxy A02 announced in early January. Samsung’s latest smartphone is equipped with a 6.5-inch HD+ Infinity-V display and measures 164.2×75.9×9.1mm. The smartphone features a textured back panel, rounded corners, and a flat-edged display with slight bezels.

Oppo Reno7 Series Launched With Bigger Cameras and Better Processors:

Oppo has introduced the Reno7 series in China with the launch of the Reno7 5G, Reno7 Pro 5G, and Reno7 SE 5G. Sales for the Reno7 and Reno7 Pro begin from December 3rd, 1000 GMT+8, and December 17th, 1000 GMT+8 for the Reno7 SE. The Reno7 Pro 5G is equipped with a 6.55-inch 1080p+ AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 90Hz and 180Hz touch-sampling rate with an embedded fingerprint scanner. The smartphone features a gradient back finish and is available in three different colors: Luminous Black, Ocean Blue, Sunset Pink.

Samsung Galaxy Note Series Will be Completely Eliminated by Next Month:

A rumor stemming from Korea claims that Samsung is planning to halt the production of its Galaxy Note series by the end of 2021. This doesn’t come as a surprise, since the Galaxy Note 20 sold only 3.2 million units in 2021 as compared to a thriving sale of 10 million in 2020. While the phone did sell, apparently it didn’t sell enough to warrant for new production.

Q-Commerce Company Krave Mart Guarantees 10-Minute Deliveries:

With so many millennials and Gen Zs switching to online shopping, prompt delivery services have become a need today. Around 82 percent of Pakistani urban consumers are now making online purchases and the competition is only getting fiercer. However, online consumers still face problems mostly related to delivery timelines, product quality, returns, and refunds which really hampers one’s overall shopping experience.

Voluntary Separation Program Announced for PTCL & Ufone Employees:

PTCL Group has brought a “Voluntary Separation Program -VSP” for all NTC employees of PTCL and Permanent & Insource employees of Ufone. All NTC employees of PTCL and Permanent & Insource employees of Ufone are eligible to avail of the VSP except the following.The following categories of employees of PTCL and Ufone are ineligible to avail of the VSP.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 4G Launched With Better Cameras and a Cheaper Price Tag:

Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 11 5G, Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, and the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G. The company has now added the latest Redmi Note 11 4G to the family. The Redmi Note 11 4G is an upgraded version of the Redmi 10 and Redmi 10 Prime, with some overlapping aspects.

FIA Takes a U-Turn on NADRA’s Database Hack:

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has denied news that the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) biometric data has been hacked. In a Twitter post, the FIA said that no such statement was given about hacking of data and added that the statement given during a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was misinterpreted. The FIA further said that news of the hack is “not based on facts”.

NADRA’s Hacked Biometric Data Led to Increased Cybercrime in Pakistan: FIA

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) revealed on Thursday that the biometric data of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) had been hacked, resulting in an increase in cybercrimes in the country. During a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, an official of FIA Cybercrime Wing said the NADRA biometric database had been hacked, however, the quantum hacked was yet to be identified.

MediaTek Smartphone Chips Had a Security Issue That’s Now Fixed:

Check Point Research has revealed a white paper detailing a security vulnerability found & promptly fixed by MediaTek in October. This allowed hackers to perform a privilege escalation attack. The problem at hand was related to AI and audio processing, and an app with just the right code could have gotten access to system-level audio information which an app normally doesn’t have. While more sophisticated apps could have launched a sniffing attack that would have allowed a hacker to intercept, delete, or modify data that was being transmitted between two devices.

Motorola Could be The First to Bring a 200MP Camera Phone

Samsung’s ISOCELL HP1 is the world’s first 200MP smartphone camera sensor. It was expected to debut with the Xiaomi 12 series, but newer reports suggest otherwise. Popular tipster Ice Universe claims that Xiaomi will not be the first to bring a 200MP camera phone and it won’t even be a Samsung phone. The first 200MP smartphone will be from Motorola instead.

Protesters hit Amazon buildings on Black Friday:

Protests are being staged at Amazon buildings in the UK, US, and Europe – on Black Friday. The shopping sales day is among Amazon’s busiest all year. An international coalition of unions, equality and environmental groups called “Make Amazon Pay” is staging a day of action. The movement is demanding Amazon make changes to its business, including improved pay, an end to employee surveillance, and union engagement.

Mobile phone museum celebrates ugly and iconic phones:

More than 2,000 old and iconic mobile phones are being showcased in a new online museum. The Mobile Phone Museum was set up by industry analyst Ben Wood who had collected thousands of phones as a hobby. Media Click’s Chris Fox went to the launch event in London and went hands-on with some of the oldest and “ugliest” devices in the collection.

Destroyed Tesla’s owner criticises HGV driver fine over shed load:

The owner of a Tesla written off when a lorry shed its load of slabs on a bend has criticised the sentence given to the driver. Neil and Alison Collins escaped from the wreckage of their £50,000 car with minor injuries after the incident, which happened in Weston Longville near Norwich on 26 April. Appearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court, the lorry driver pleaded guilty to using a motor vehicle where the weight, position or distribution of its load involved a danger of injury to any person. He was ordered to pay a fine of £267, a victim surcharge of £34 and £85 in costs as well as receiving three points on his driving licence.

Black Friday: Will you get the tech you want for Christmas?:

As people rush to snap up their Black Friday deals, there are mounting worries that some gadgets won’t be available for Christmas. Silicon, which is in most products, is in short supply because of high demand and manufacturing problems since the start of the pandemic. The world now faces one of the most extreme chip shortages it has seen. It means that this year, people may be disappointed when it comes to giving and receiving tech as presents.

Royal Marines: Body monitors to prevent training deaths:

Body monitors have been introduced for trainee Royal Marines Commandos to try to prevent death or serious injury during extreme training. The technology is “helping to eliminate the risk of potentially fatal heat illness,” the Royal Navy said. The kit records trainees’ physiological data, which trained instructors then study. So far, more than 200 recruits have used the technology. The Royal Navy said it had already saved one person’s life.

Drones: Call for all police forces to use devices after man’s rescue:

The granddaughter of a man whose life was saved by a police drone has called for every force to use them. Roy Giblin was located by drone pilots 18 hours after going missing. The 83-year-old, who has dementia, was spotted lying in long grass near Abergele last August. North Wales Police said their drone unit had become a vital tool, including to help find missing people, monitor crime scenes and even to help control large gorse fires.

Chinese tech giant Tencent told to suspend new app roll outs:

Technology giant Tencent has been told to halt the roll out of new apps in China. The country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has also ordered a temporary suspension of updates to the products. It comes as the technology industry regulator reviews compliance with privacy rules introduced this month. However, current versions of the apps are still available to be downloaded and used as normal.

Cosmetic surgery ads to be banned for under-18s:

Adverts for cosmetic surgeries designed to change a person’s physical appearance are to be banned from targeting under-18s. The UK advertising watchdog says the rules will come into force from May next year. It means companies can no longer advertise procedures such as breast enhancements and nose jobs across media that will appeal to under-18s.

Pompeii fresco puzzle to get help from robots:

The city of Pompeii was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. While much of the site was well preserved, many details about life in the city were lost, including some of the building’s colourful frescoes. Thousands of these fresco fragments are currently in storage at the site’s archaeological park and now a team at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice are creating robots to analyse the pieces with the aim of eventually piecing them together.

Bristol University alumni students’ friend-finding app fights loneliness:

A friend-finding app has been launched to tackle loneliness and isolation at university. Two University of Bristol alumni students came up with the idea for the Fethr app during lockdown. Students have said the app would help with their wellbeing at the times they are feeling too low to access services and just need to connect with others.

Arcane: Turning League of Legends into a TV show:

The new animated series, Arcane, has hit Netflix’s Top 10 list in 83 countries across the world since its release earlier this month. It follows the fates of sisters Vi and Jinx, who find themselves on opposing sides of a war. But these two aren’t new characters – they’re straight out of one of the most popular video games on the planet, League of Legends. The show’s creators say the game’s passionate fans have helped Arcane succeed where other game-to-screen projects have failed.

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