Winners and Losers of the week: Xiaomi blacklisted, WhatsApp’s loss is Signal’s gain

Winners and Losers of the week: Xiaomi blacklisted, WhatsApp’s loss is Signal’s gain

With another whirlwind of a week gone by, it's time, once again, we take stock of all the major happenings in the world of tech that happened in the last seven days. There were two major tech events this week; CES 2021 and the all-important, first-ever Galaxy Unpacked event of the year. However, none of these events make it to our winners and losers list because we believe bigger things happened in the world of tech in the week gone by.

Our winner for this week was an easy choice. Messaging app signal has been making waves for a while now, and the waves only got bigger with the latest WhatsApp privacy saga. At the other end of the spectrum, we have Xiaomi, who is clearly our loser of the week. Before you read about why we chose them as our respective winners and losers, here's a brief low down on the rest of the tech news for this week.

While the general consensus is that CES 2021 wasn’t as exciting as the previous editions, we did come across some interesting products there. Among the ones that caught our attention include the MaskFone; a wacky face mask with integrated true wireless headphones! Then there was the much-talked-about ‘rollable’ concept smartphone from LG known as the LG Rollable. There were a couple of phone launches as well at CES with TCL and Alcatel  (which are related BTW) releasing a couple of new phones.

This week also saw the official announcement of perhaps the most important smartphone launch of this quarter – the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. For the first time in several years, Samsung also dropped the prices of their flagships with the Galaxy S21 series. While it is too early to pass a judgment on the Galaxy S21, we will, of course, be reviewing all the phones from the Galaxy S lineup and give you a clearer picture in the next few days. Samsung also announced, among other products, its new Galaxy Buds Pro TWS at the same ‘Unpacked’ event.

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra / © Samsung

Before we move on to the main winners and losers of this week, I wanted to also highlight two other interesting launches that happened this week. In India, OnePlus announced the launch of its first-ever smart band - the OnePlus Band, while in Taiwan, HTC sprang back to life by launching a new phone called the HTC Desire 21 Pro. 

Winner of the week: Signal, the messaging app that seems to be everyone's favourite WhatsApp replacement

Following last week’s announcement from WhatsApp where they confirmed that the also will henceforth share user data with its parent company, Facebook there has been a mass exodus of sorts from the platform. Now, had this happened two years ago, all these people had only one viable option to go to Telegram. 

Not any more. 

Following the WhatsApp announcement, it was Signal that managed to gather more eyeballs and gained millions of new users. True, the company did get a boost from none other than Elon Musk - but even their social media team upped the ante with edgy posts and continuous banter. That being said, Telegram still is the larger messaging platform of the two and added more than 25 million new users in a 72-hour time frame. To put it succinctly, overall, it was a good week to be not WhatsApp. 

What remains to be seen is whether all these people who said they switched actually manage to switch and stay put on either of the alternative platforms.  What do you think will happen once all this controversy dies down?

Loser of the week: Xiaomi which has been blacklisted by the outgoing Trump administration

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Xiaomi is the latest Chinese brand to find itself at the wrong end of the US Government stick / © Google

Frankly, Xiaomi is a last-minute entry as a contender for becoming our loser of the week. Things were going pretty well for the company actually when all of a sudden, the outgoing Trump administration ‘blacklisted’ them for being too close to the Chinese military. 

While the effects of being in this blacklist aren’t as detrimental to Xiaomi as a similar ban was to Huawei, there will be some effect on the financials of the company because US investors are effectively banned from owning Xiaomi stocks effective immediately. Even more concerning is that US companies who have invested in Xiaomi will need to divest their stocks by November 11, 2021. This could drive down the share prices of Xiaomi and could possibly hurt them financially. That being said, the addition of Xiaomi to this list does not forbid them from doing business in the US or have partnerships with US-based companies – quite unlike the case with Huawei.

Well, that pretty much sums up our Winners and Losers of this week. Do you agree with our choices for this week? Do let us know in the comments section below. 

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