Huawei's US ban may cost $30 billion, but it vows to rebound

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HECTOR RETAMAL via Getty Images

If you were wondering what the short-term cost of America’s war with Huawei was, then your estimates can begin at the $30 billion mark. That’s the figure Huawei chief Ren Zhengfei mentioned earlier today when discussing the hit his company will take in the next two years. Since Huawei is being hounded out of both the network and smartphone businesses, you can expect that figure to keep going up.

Zhengfei made the announcement at an event laid on by Huawei, titled “A Coffee with Ren,” featuring MIT Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negropronte. The creator of the One Laptop Per Child association said that the current attack on Huawei is going to be harmful to the open flow of information. Zhengfei also invited controversial right-wing investor George Gilder to the stage, who is also against the ban.

Huawei’s consumer smartphone business is likely to suffer a big shock as a result of the various sanctions, which has caused the withdrawal of key support from Western partners. Bloomberg reports company insiders who say that Huawei’s phone business will shrink between 40 million and 60 million devices. And the company’s Honor sub-brand, marketing lower-end devices, will not be immune to the chaos.

The report adds that two unnamed French carriers have already pulled out of carrying the Honor 20, due to launch this Friday. Huawei insiders are believed to think that if the Honor 20 bombs, the company will pull the phone, or severely limit shipments. Since there are questions looming about how much support these devices will receive from Google in the future, they’re an increasingly-tough sell. Although, shortly after publication of the story, Honor representatives confirmed that the phone would launch, as planned.

Part of the reason Huawei’s fall is so staggering is because of how successful it has been in the last four-to-five years. The company is comfortably the world’s second largest phone maker, after Samsung, and has seen growth in the double digits for several years.

At the event, (at 16:20 onwards) Zhengfei said that his company would rebound in the next few years, once it had completed a “switchover of products.” He didn’t elaborate on that point further, but the implication is that Huawei will look to develop its own technologies — like an OS — to replace those it can no longer rely upon.

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Instagram tests easier ways to recover hacked accounts

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Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Instagram might offer a little more reassurance if your account is ever hijacked. The social network is testing a new in-app account recovery process that should make it easier to recover an account — and make it harder for thieves to get away with the act in the first place. Where you presently have to either wait for email or fill out a support form, the updated approach uses the app to ask for different types of info (such as your original email address or phone number). You’ll then get a six-digit code sent to the contact info of your choice, and Instagram will then prevent hackers from using email or phone number codes to take over your account from a different device.

This new method would ensure that you could recover your account even if an intruder has changed the user name and contact data. To that end, Instagram is offering a safeguard that ensures a user name can’t be claimed for a “period of time” after account changes, whether it’s a hack or a voluntary change.

It’s not certain when the in-app recovery will be widely available, although the user name lockdown is available to all Android users now and deploying to iOS users. However, the goal of the new recovery process is clear — Instagram is hoping that you can eventually recover an account entirely within the app, rather than leaning on the security team.

The timing could be vital. Instagram account security has been a sore point as of late with word of exposed passwords and growing intrusion attempts. This won’t prevent account hijacks, but it could discourage perpetrators hoping to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the current recovery approach.

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India plans to launch space station by 2030

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ISRO

India’s broadening spaceflight ambitions now include a longer-term presence in Earth’s orbit. Indian Space Research Organization chief K Sivan (above) recently revealed plans to launch a space station around 2030. It will be a relatively small station where astronauts would only stay for 15 to 20 days, but that should be enough to allow microgravity experiments. India won’t lean on other countries for help, Sivan said.

More details are expected to come after India’s first human mission in 2022. It’s currently focused on an uncrewed lander mission to the Moon that should launch on July 15th.

If everything goes according to plan, this will make India part of a very exclusive club. Apart from the partner countries involved with the International Space Station, only China, Russia and the US have operated orbital homes away from home. It also shows that India intends to catch up on many aspects of space flight — it fully intends on competing with spaceflight veterans.

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American Airlines offers satellite WiFi to its entire mainline fleet

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AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

If you’re relying on American Airlines for a summer trip, there’s a good chance you’ll have internet access most of the way. The company has finished deploying satellite-based internet access to the fleet of 700-plus narrowbody aircraft that mainly handle its domestic routes. Depending on where you’re going, you’ll have either Gogo 2Ku or ViaSat Ka connections providing speedier, more consistent WiFi than the ground solutions of old. American deployed satellite broadband to its widebody aircraft roughly a year earlier.

The airline also plans to install power outlets in every seat for its mainline and two-class regional fleets, and expects to roll out tablet holders to most narrowbody aircraft.

You’ll usually have to pay to go online mid-flight. While American does offer free Apple Music streaming, others have been offering free messaging. Delta has even started testing free WiFi. Still, this beats having to either struggle with mid-air WiFi or wait until landing to reconnect with the outside world.

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Florida allows self-driving car tests without backup drivers

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Florida Governor’s Office

Companies that want to test their self-driving cars will have an easier time of it in the Sunshine State. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill allowing companies to test autonomous vehicles without backup drivers. It also lets occupants text, watch video or otherwise enjoy themselves without running afoul of distracted driving rules. They’ll need to meet insurance requirements, but that’s about as far as it goes.

The measure takes effect July 1st.

There are already plans to test driverless cars in Florida, such as Ford’s Miami campaign. This could encourage others who want to take advantage of the climate and looser rules, though. And right now, there are few states that allow completely driver-free tests on their roads — for some companies, this might be the best (or only) testing option.

The question is whether or not the technology is ready. Although self-driving car crashes are still relatively rare, there are concerns that Uber’s fatal crash and other incidents are signs that autonomous driving still has a ways to go before it’s truly safe for public testing.

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