Winners and Losers of the week: Google’s mind blowing new innovation, Huawei in trouble again

Winners and Losers of the week: Google’s mind blowing new innovation, Huawei in trouble again

Time flies, doesn’t it? I still recall writing my first Winners and Losers article for 2021, and it feels just like yesterday. Well, the first month of 2021 is already behind us, and as we head towards the second week of February, it’s time we pick our winners and losers for this week.

Unlike last week where I had to search a bit to arrive upon a winner and a loser, things were easier this time around. Our winner for this week is undoubtedly Google which without much fanfare introduced a new feature that could spell the death knell for fitness trackers. Our loser for this week, unfortunately, is Huawei which received bad news about their ban by the US government. The company is also facing criticism over its treatment towards its own employees in Europe.

But before we address our winners and losers, let’s take a quick glance at all the major tech happenings of the week.

I must admit that Xiaomi was a strong contender for the winner of the week for showcasing two interesting pieces of technology. The first one is called the Mi Air Charge – which is an in-development wireless charging technology that aims to forever free your gadgets from wires.

Mi Air Charge
Xiaomi's Air Charge technology is still in its early days / © Xiaomi

The technology uses mmWave to wirelessly charge your device without the need for a dock. All you need for this feature to work is to be within the range of the wireless charging station. The second and more recent addition was a new portless smartphone concept with a waterfall display. The only reason we decided against awarding the trophy to Xiaomi? None of these products is going to be a reality any time soon.

MediaTek also made waves this week after it launched its first mmWave compatible modem - the MediaTek M80. The company has continuously been nipping at Qualcomm’s heels and is increasingly becoming a potent threat to the American chipmaker. The new modem from the company is also special in that it is - on paper- the fastest 5G modem developed for an SoC yet. However, the new modem is yet to make an appearance on an actual Mediatek chip yet.

Another interesting news came in the form of a new feature update that could arrive on Android 12. The report talks about the likelihood of Android 12, likely featuring comprehensive theming options

We also talked about OPPO’s upcoming flagship smartphone - the Find X3 Pro after leaked images of the phone showed a very interesting camera array.  Oh and talking about flagships, how could we forget mentioning Huawei’s next generations foldable smartphone, the Mate X2

OPPO Find X3 Pro Headerimage
The OPPO Find X3 Pro / © Evan Blass

Winner of the week: Google for coming up with a technology that can turn your phone into a fitness tracker

Google, on Friday, showcased a feature that is set to make its debut on Pixel smartphones. The technology - which is based on Google’s powerful AI wizardry - transforms your existing smartphone into a fitness tracker of sorts. The technology makes use of the front and rear cameras and uses them to track your heart rate and respiratory rate.

Google Fit 01
Google wants to transform your phone into a fitness tracker/ © Google

This is yet another example of a software achieving hitherto impossible things without the needed any extra hardware. The feature will be first rolled out to users of Google Pixel smartphones before making it to other Android devices. If you happen to own  Pixel smartphone, do try this out next month.

Loser of the week: Huawei after an expose’ revealed how it treats its European employees

Huawei has been in and out of our Winners and Losers list for a while now. While the company had something to cheer about last week with the new Biden administration taking over, fast forward to a week and it seems the ban on the company will continue to be on effect for the foreseeable future. This is as per a statement by President Joe Biden’s nominee for Commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, who said she knows of “no reason” why Huawei shouldn’t remain on a restricted trade list.

But that was even the biggest Huawei related news this week. German-language publication Netzpolitik published a scathing expose on how Huawei (mis)treats its European employees. The article is a long read and reveals some of how it interferes in the private lives of their employees and the tactics it uses to keeps its staff in line. The report uses internal documents and audio recordings to make their case. 

Well, that pretty much sums up our Winners and Losers piece for this week. Do you agree with our choices for this week? 


 

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