Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, August 14, 2019!
1. There’s a new HTC phone not made by HTC
The savage decline of HTC is now all-but complete: the HTC Wildfire is back! Buuuut HTC has nothing to do with it, even though that’s the HTC logo right on the phone.
- The new HTC Wildfire X is a low-power device, made for the Indian market and being sold on FlipKart, starting at ~$140 (9,999 rupees).
- It’s not manufactured by HTC. HTC isn’t involved. Instead, InOne Smart Technology, a Chinese manufacturer, has licensed the full HTC Wildfire branding.
- The Wildfire was once flagship, but the new X is a pretty unremarkable 6.2-inch device.
- A 720p display and triple camera setup is powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 chipset, with 3/4GB of RAM and 32/64/128GB of storage, depending on your choices.
- What is remarkable is the decision to farm off HTC’s complete branding: not just the Wildfire brand but the complete HTC Wildfire.
So what’s going on at the once-great and beloved HTC?
- It remains a listed company in Taiwan, implying the company is striving to look after its shareholders.
- Co-founder and CEO Cher Wang still heads the company, despite imploding sales.
- Wang is even appearing at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in SF in October, with the (curious) talk title: “Surviving the Smartphone with Cher Wang”.
- Except, well, HTC is hardly surviving, unless you call farming off former flagship brand names to random Chinese manufacturers surviving.
- A better picture of survival is in the numbers: HTC posted a fifth consecutive quarter loss [PDF], burning $71 million (TWD2.23 billion) in the past three months.
- Operating margins are down by 88.5% year over year.
- The HTC 5G Hub is a rare highlight for HTC’s 2019, at least.
2. The OnePlus TV is coming! And, er, it’s going to be called the OnePlus TV! (Android Authority).
3. U.S. airline regulator bans 2015 Macbook Pro models with recalled batteries (Android Authority).
4. Everything you need to know about Google One (Android Authority).
5. Snapchat has new Spectacles: The third edition has an updated design and a second HD camera, for $380 (Twitter). Coming in September.
6. Grounded teen evades device confiscation by tweeting from the smart-fridge (Boing Boing).
7. Facebook admits contractors listened to users’ recordings without their knowledge (The Guardian). “Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” said Facebook. A week ago is, like, forever, right?
8. For some reason, Apple has removed the ability to swear using the Swipe keyboard in iOS (r/apple).
9. Airbnbedbug: Hosts say Airbnb doesn’t have a systematic procedure to handle outbreaks (CNET). Also, here’s how to sniff out hidden cameras in your rental (CNET).
10. Geeky license plate earns hacker $12,049 in parking tickets (Ars Technica).
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