Start Up No.1,094: Facebook’s moderators under stress, UK porn verification delayed, US cities in ransomware attacks, premium smartphone market slumps, and more


Madrid’s traffic reduction measures improved air quality dramatically; now they’re under threat. CC-licensed photo by EURIST e.V. on Flickr.

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A selection of 11 links for you. They’re tasty. I’m @charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.


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The latest episode is a discussion with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Rohan Candappa, plus an interview with Professor Charlton McIlwain, about race and the internet.

We’ve previously spoken about autopilots, the 737 Max and the implications for self-driving cars with Alex Hern of the Guardian and Dr Jack Stilgoe of University College London.

The next one (coming soon!) will talk to Professor Martyn Rees about humans on Mars, genetic modification, and much more. Find these episodes, and the whole series, by searching for “human and machine” on your podcast app. As long as that isn’t BBC Sounds. (If it is, please explain yourself.)


Facebook moderators break their NDAs to expose desperate working conditions • The Verge

Casey Newton:

»

[Keith] Utley worked the overnight shift at a Facebook content moderation site in Tampa, FL, operated by a professional services vendor named Cognizant. The 800 or so workers there face relentless pressure from their bosses to better enforce the social network’s community standards, which receive near-daily updates that leave its contractor workforce in a perpetual state of uncertainty. The Tampa site has routinely failed to meet the 98% “accuracy” target set by Facebook. In fact, with a score that has been hovering around 92, it is Facebook’s worst-performing site in North America.

The stress of the job weighed on Utley, according to his former co-workers, who, like all Facebook contractors at the Tampa site, must sign a 14-page nondisclosure agreement.

“The stress they put on him — it’s unworldly,” one of Utley’s managers told me. “I did a lot of coaching. I spent some time talking with him about things he was having issues seeing. And he was always worried about getting fired.”

On the night of March 9th, 2018, Utley slumped over at his desk. Co-workers noticed that he was in distress when he began sliding out of his chair. Two of them began to perform CPR, but no defibrillator was available in the building. A manager called for an ambulance.

The Cognizant site in Tampa is set back from the main road in an office park, and between the dim nighttime lighting and discreet exterior signage, the ambulance appears to have had trouble finding the building. Paramedics arrived 13 minutes after the first call, one worker told me, and when they did, Utley had already begun to turn blue.

«

Stunning reporting by Newton. Still feeling good about how your digital money will be handled if you need to dispute a transaction?
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15-inch MacBook Pro battery recall program • Apple Support

»

Apple has determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and product eligibility is determined by the product serial number.

Customer safety is always Apple’s top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge.

First check to see which 15-inch MacBook Pro you have. Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu () in the upper-left corner of your screen. Confirm your model is “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015).” If you have that model, enter your computer’s serial number below to see if it is eligible for this program.

«

Afraid they’re only going to replace the battery, not the whole device.
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UK age-verification system for porn delayed by six months • The Guardian

Jim Waterson and Alex Hern:

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The already delayed policy, which will require all adult internet users wanting to watch legal pornography to prove they are over 18 by providing some form of identification, was due to come into force on 15 July.

However, the culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, told the House of Commons, that would not happen, because of a failure to comply with European law in how statutory instruments are passed.

“In autumn last year, we laid three instruments before the house,” Wright told the Commons. “One of them sets out standards that companies need to comply with. This should have been notified to the European commission, and it was not. This will result in a delay in the region of six months.”

The delay, first reported by Sky News, is likely see the issue of age verification fall under the responsibility of the next prime minister.

Wright emphasised that the delay did not mean the government was backing down from its policy. “There are also those who do not want these measures to be brought in,” he said, “but let me be clear, although this is an apology for the delay, it is not a change in policy. Age verification needs to happen, and in the interest of the needs of children, it must.”

Labour’s Cat Smith, responding, said the announcement was “proof that an important policy issue has descended into utter shambles”.

«

Not sure about “descended”. It was already there.
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Display the macOS Dock in the Touch Bar • Pock

Pierluigi Galdi:

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Display your macOS Dock in the Touch Bar.
It’s free and open source!

«

My first reaction is that this is a great idea, though looking at my Dock, it has 56 apps, 31 of them open, and 5 folders, plus the Trash. They’re pretty small because I have the Dock on the left-hand side of the screen – leaving it on the bottom is a criminal waste of space.

I guess there’s more real estate in the Touch Bar? (I don’t yet have a Touch Bar Mac.) Then again, I’ve got a lot of apps I never use in there, and when I launch apps I tend to do it via Spotlight.

Plus the Dock has one advantage: if you click and hold on an icon, you get a menu of all the open windows and can navigate directly to any of them. Probably can’t do that with Pock. Even so, nice idea.
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Millions of business listings on Google Maps are fake—and Google profits • WSJ

Rob Copeland and Katherine Bindley:

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Once considered a sleepy, low-margin business by the company and known mostly for giving travel directions, Google Maps in recent months has packed more ads onto its search queries. It is central to Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s hope to recharge a cresting digital-advertising operation.

Often, Google Maps yields mirages, visible in local business searches of U.S. cities, including Mountain View, Calif., Google’s hometown. Of a dozen addresses for personal-injury attorneys on Google Maps during a recent search, only one office was real. A Viennese patisserie was among the businesses at addresses purported to house lawyers. The fakes vanished after inquiries to Google from The Wall Street Journal.

The false listings benefit businesses seeking more customer calls by sprinkling made-up branches in various corners of a city. In other cases, as Ms. Carter discovered, calls to listed phone numbers connect to unscrupulous competitors, a misdirection forbidden by Google rules but sporadically policed by the company.

Hundreds of thousands of false listings sprout on Google Maps each month, according to experts. Google says it catches many others before they appear.

The Justice Department is laying the groundwork for a broad antitrust probe of Google, which will include a look at the company’s dominant advertising platform, the Journal has reported.

«

How do you solve a problem like the internet?
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Florida city to pay $600k ransom to hacker who seized computer systems weeks ago • CNN

Faith Karimi:

»

A Florida city is paying $600,000 in Bitcoins to a hacker who took over local government computers after an employee clicked on a malicious email link three weeks ago.

Riviera Beach officials voted this week to pay 65 Bitcoins to the hacker who seized the city’s computer systems, forcing the local police and fire departments to write down the hundreds of daily 911 calls on paper, CNN affiliate WPEC reported.

The 65 Bitcoins, which equals $600,000, will come from the city’s insurance, officials said.
Once the payment is made, they hope to get access to data encrypted by the hacker. Even with the plans to pay the ransom, the city said, an investigation is under way.

Riviera Beach has a population of 35,000 and is about 80 miles from Miami.

Targeted ransomware attacks on local US government entities – cities, police stations and schools – are on the rise, costing millions as some pay off the perpetrators in an effort to untangle themselves and restore vital systems.

Cybersecurity firm Recorded Future found that at least 170 county, city or state government systems have been attacked since 2013, including at least 45 police and sheriff’s offices.

«

The fact that it’s local government that’s being targeted tells you something: they’re easier targets than many and able to pay up better than others. And it’s really noticed when the systems don’t work; and they’re accountable.
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Premium smartphone market collapses 8% in Q1 2019, after Apple shipments drop 20% • Counterpoint Research

Varun Mishra:

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Apple’s declining shipments has pulled down the global smartphone premium segment. Data from Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor Service for Q1 2019, shows that Apple’s shipments fell 20% year-on-year in Q1 2019, resulting in an 8%  YoY decline for the global premium* segment. However, as Apple is losing ground, Samsung is gaining share. During the quarter, Samsung ended up with one-fourth of the global premium segment, its highest ever share over the past year. This was also the first time when Samsung launched three devices instead of the usual two in its S series, thus covering wider price points.

According to our analysis, the trend of users holding onto their iPhones for longer has affected Apple’s shipments. The replacement cycle for iPhones has grown to over three years, on an average, from two years. On the other hand, substantial design changes in the Galaxy S10 series and the better value proposition it offers compared to high-end iPhones helped Samsung close the gap to Apple in the global premium segment.

Apart from Apple’s falling shipments, the sluggishness of the Chinese market was the other key reason for the decline in the global premium segment.

«

Old news, in a way; wait and see what happens to Huawei’s numbers in the next couple of quarters. (Might rise in the next one because networks are trying to get them out of their channel so they aren’t left with unsaleable stock.)
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Gun influencers on Instagram are a boon to gun companies • Vox

Kaitlyn Tiffany:

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three years ago, she moved to Michigan to be with her American husband, who’d recently retired from the military. Now they shoot guns together, and arrange assault-weapon-centric lingerie photo sessions for Matte and her clients. She makes good money for her part, doing sponsored posts for brands both firearm-related and not — assault rifles one day, teeth-whitening treatments the next. For $100 and some free products, Matte will post a “selfie and shoutout” on her Instagram grid; she gets paid thousands of dollars per month for recurring endorsements.

Matte’s feed is a mix of guns and rough-cut firewood and laser-cut underwear. She doesn’t let anyone shoot guns on her property because her yard is an unofficial foster home for wild deer, several of which she personally nurtured through infancy when their mother was hit by a car. She loves the president, hates the “free-for-all negativity” around him. She is extremely charming. Her platform, she tells me, is a place to preach love.

And because Facebook, and by extension the Facebook-owned Instagram, forbids retailers to run ads that promote the sale or use of firearms, her platform is also a place to market guns that can’t be easily marketed online.

Kyle Clouse, head of marketing at the gun safe company Liberty Safe, refers to influencers as “the goose laying the golden egg” for the firearms industry. Influencers skirt the rules and restrictions platforms impose on official businesses that want to advertise guns or gun-related services and accessories.

«

Another end-run around carefully devised regulation. Why are guns banned from advertising on these networks? Because they don’t want those ads.
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Google says it’s done making tablets and cancels two unreleased products • The Verge

Chris Welch:

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Google went so far as to reveal that it has axed two in-development tablet products, moving the employees who had been working on them to other areas of the company. (Most have apparently joined the Pixelbook team.) The tablets were both smaller in size than the Pixel Slate and were planned for release “sometime after 2019.” But disappointing quality assurance testing results led Google to completely abandon both devices. Google informed employees of its decision on Wednesday.

The Pixel Slate received largely mediocre reviews when it went on sale last year. Google earned praise for the device’s hardware design, but the software felt unfinished — Chrome OS has yet to really feel at home on a tablet — and lower-priced versions of the Slate suffered from extremely sluggish performance and lag. Google has resolved some of those issues with updates, but more than anything else, the company might have realized that taking on Apple’s iPad was going to be a losing battle. The iPad is offered at multiple price points, has an enormous selection of apps, and is set to gain productivity enhancements this fall with the rollout of iPadOS.

The Pixelbook, meanwhile, has been met with much better feedback from customers since its release in 2017 owing to its fantastic keyboard, nice screen, lightweight design, and unique style. And it’s now clear that a new model is on the way. A Google spokesperson told Computer World, which also reported on this news, that it’s “very likely” a Pixelbook 2 will see release before the end of 2019.

«

Google’s saying Android slates have reached the end of their evolution (and zero profitability – note that’s not the case for iPads). It’s going to focus “solely on laptops” for ChromeOS – which also implies that ChromeOS (or a fusion, or Fuchsia) isn’t going to come to Android tablets either.
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Is this the end of the road for Madrid’s car ban? • Citylab

Feargus O’Sullivan:

»

The game changer is that the right-wing Popular Party (PP) and the centrist Ciudadanos brokered a deal with recently emerged extreme-right party Vox, whose four seats gave them just enough to tip the coalition over the finishing line, with 29 seats collectively. Vox doesn’t even bother to dog-whistle its racist views, peddling a rhetoric that suggests Spain’s cathedrals are in danger of being torn down to build mosques; it’s also avowedly anti-feminist and anti-marriage equality. The full political consequences of this pact remain to be seen, but it’s worth pointing out that this extreme-right party has been granted political power and a seat at the table in Madrid’s affairs despite holding only a tiny amount of support in the city itself. It’s unfortunately possible that the city’s progressive road policy will not be the most serious casualty of this pact.

A casualty it would nonetheless be, along with the substantial pollution drops associated with its first five months of operation. Outside Madrid’s City Hall, carbon dioxide levels dropped 44% year-on-year while nitrogen dioxide fell by 42%, according to monitoring by local ecologists. Property values within the car-ban-zone rose at a rate notably higher than surrounding neighborhoods, while footfall in commercial streets remained reportedly stable. However, these figures have been disputed by some local retail associations, who insist that their turnover has fallen since their businesses became less accessible by car.

Accordingly, the car ban was already set to be a battleground for succeeding city leaders: Madrid’s likely next mayor, PP candidate José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has promised to address the issue as the new administration’s first action. Right now, however, the form that action will take is unclear.

«

Improving quality of life takes second place to kickbacks; there’s a plan to construct a tunnel, which would be pricey, less effective, but also a great way to line pockets of those in power.
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Don’t panic: Dixons Carphone’s share price crashes 30% after statutory losses hit £329m • The Register

Paul Kunert:

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Consumers have generally moved from two-year contracts to SIM-only packages and more “flexible credit-based contracts”, the firm reiterated. This changing mix led to Dixons’ £440m goodwill write-down in December.

Group revenues for the year dropped 1% to £10.443bn, and profit before tax was £298m compared to £382m a year earlier.

The big boss said today the pace of change in the mobile sector was happening more quickly than it had predicted, forcing the retailer to “move faster”.

“We’ve renegotiated all our legacy network contacts, we’re developing our new customer offer, and are accelerating the integration of Mobile and Electronics into one business,” said Baldock.

Dixons had faced large penalties from the networks for falling short of “volume commitments”. It is also broadening its choice of networks, and adding more SIM-only deals.

“This means taking more pain in the coming year, when Mobile will make a significant loss. But accelerating our transformation provides certainty that this year is the trough, as during next year the legacy contractual constraints on our Mobile business lift, and the integration costs benefits build,” the CEO added.

«

Shrinking mobile business (and the writeoff of goodwill means “it doesn’t have any synergy after all”); this is the long slow ebb of Dixons, which used to be where you got all your PC gew-gaws, and Carphone Warehouse, from the days when fitting a mobile phone! In! Your! Car! was a thing.
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified

11 thoughts on “Start Up No.1,094: Facebook’s moderators under stress, UK porn verification delayed, US cities in ransomware attacks, premium smartphone market slumps, and more

  1. The headline is kind of weird. It’s not “premium market collapses 8%”, but “Apple collapses 20%, others rising” if I understand correctly ?
    If Apple has 50% of the market and is -20%, the overall premium market losing 8% means other premiums have gained absolute sales:
    was: Apple 50 rest 50 = 100
    is: Apple 40 rest 52 = 92 -> Apple -20%, rest +0.5%

  2. re. Google’s tablet. Doom and gloom and FUD. Google hardware team is giving up on tablets (they never sold product in any volume after the Nexus 7), Google OS is still supporting them: https://9to5google.com/2019/06/20/google-partner-tablets-committed/

    Also, ChromeOS was never slated to come to Android tablets, there are separate lines of ChromeOS tablets/convertibles. And you can bet Fuchsia if/when it is released will have tablet incarnations.

    That kind of misinformation is bothering. Shows huge bias, even an agenda.

    • A bit of context (sorry: whataboutism), unimpeachable (I’m sure) figures from Patentlyapply.com: iPad 27%, Android 73%.
      https://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2019/05/in-calendar-q1-2019-apples-ipad-remained-the-king-of-tablets-by-more-than-doubling-samsung-shipments.html

      Granted, usage is lower-end for Android (home, not prosumer nor pro), and Apple is growing (+4% y/y). But nowhere near “Android slates have reached the end of their evolution (and zero profitability)”. Just not the level of margin Google wants for its own hardware, Samsung Huawei Lenovo Xiaomi are releasing tablets on their usual schedule (Xiaomi is much slower than the rest and than their own phones, it’s around 1 model in 2 sizes every 2 yrs, with no wwide release), and BBK (Oppo, Vivo, Oneplus, Realme) never sold any tablets.

      The Android market is dominated by rather crappy 3rd-tier OEMs (I’ve given up on Teclast and Chuwi after several issues, Cube is bearable), plus the occasional seasonal Amazon push with tablets that are solid but lower-specced and semi-locked down (installing Google’sPlayStore is easy, but getting rid of their horrendous iOS-like homescreen requires a full flash of LineageOS or somesuch).

      I’m unclear why the narrative around Android tablets is so negative. They don’t try to be a full computer the way the iPad does, but they’re OK for a lot of stuff, and, tellingly, most of iPadOS’ new features have been available in Android tablets since their inception. Android’s apps are lagging for many verticals, and high-end stuff is almost as expensive as iPads. But at the low and mid range, where apparently 73% of the market is, they’re still, by far, more than Good Enough, and a way better deal.

      • “I’m unclear why the narrative around Android tablets is so negative.”

        Because they tend not to run apps written for tablets (defined here as slates); they run apps written for phones, scaled up. Lousy user experience on the iPad, lousy UX on Android. As Steve Ballmer correctly said: it’s developers, developers, developers. The developers choose to develop iPad apps well before properly laid out Android tablet apps. It’s not just a question of a bigger screen, just as a bath isn’t just a big sink.

        As to “well they sold 73% of the market so nyaaah” – Apple is fine with that because Apple is taking all the profit in the market, save for whatever tiny slice Samsung and maybe (but only maybe) Huawei can eke out. I analysed Lenovo’s tablet figures back in 2016: overall they lost money on every one they sold. Do you seriously think the position for Android tablets has improved since then, with the market shrinking year-on-year?

        That’s why I said “end of their evolution” – because Google sure isn’t going to do any extra for the tablet OS side, and if Google won’t then developers won’t – “and zero profitability”, because you’re going to need to find some solid numbers to persuade me that companies trying to distribute a couple of million tablets worldwide per quarter are seeing any profit from it. Chinese white-box OEMs have been getting out of the game because the numbers aren’t there (see Digitimes over the years).

        If you want the real clue that Android slates are a zero-profit market, notice that the traffic is all one-way: companies from the top down are getting out of selling them, not entering the market. That’s a gigantic klaxon saying it’s over.

      • Well exits usually have the consequence of returning a bit of pricing power and making a market more profitable, or less unprofitable.

        And, again, judging a market by its profits is the business viewpoint. From the user view point, it’s unit sales that count. You can’t take the shortcut “no profit = bad market = bad devices” because the two are, broadly, orthogonal: you can have excellent money-losing devices, and garbage money-spinners (my go-to example is: Kardashians. They fall in the 2nd category ^^).

        And, again, there are plenty of perfectly-optimized apps that cover all the needs of 80+% of home users. I personally am not running into apps with no tablet UIs (though I’m told FB Messenger is one). On the contrary, widgets (which Apple just adopted half-heartedly… maybe they have a reason for that), USB peripherals (ditto), “desktop browser” (ditto, my Firefox even has full addons)… make for a superior experience in quite a few cases. Best proof of that is iPad ripping so much off Android tablets.

        Do you have examples of non-optimized apps that matter to average Joes ? Because You keep mentioning them, and can’t think of any.

      • “Well exits usually have the consequence of returning a bit of pricing power and making a market more profitable, or less unprofitable.”

        Not at all true. If the market is shrinking, there is less demand, and pricing power is static, at best. Profitability might be redistributed, but not if the most profitable player (which in this case is also the single dominant player) remains.

        The business viewpoint matters; I’m not making your syllogism, I’m pointing out that there won’t be investment in better products if there’s no return to be made from them. There won’t be better products because it’s not worth doing. Only Samsung and perhaps Huawei have any incentive among Android tablet makers to invest seriously in R+D and/or distribution.

        “there are plenty of perfectly-optimized apps that cover all the needs of 80+% of home users”

        I suspect that’s an extremely small group of apps. For example: Twitter’s Android app isn’t optimised for tablets in the way that the iPad version is (as above: a bath isn’t a large sink). What other non-Google apps get broadly used on Android tablets? You’d need to tell me about that. “8 apps that actually make the most of an Android tablet“? (No Garageband, no video editor, no native photo editor, and so on.)

        Do you have examples of non-optimized apps that matter to average Joes?

        Offhand, no, but that’s not quite the point. Point 1: Android slates lose money for most OEMs. Point 2: Google isn’t going to develop the Android tablet OS any further. Point 3: developers tend not to make any effort for Android tablets. Point 4: People don’t spend much or focus much on Android apps on tablets.
        Combined, that isn’t a good story for Android slates. That one can still buy them doesn’t mean any of those points is wrong. That people still use them doesn’t make those points wrong either. Dead technologies can persist for quite a while: the standalone Kindle isn’t advancing in any meaningful sense, but Amazon will still sell you one if you want. It probably makes a minimal profit on it. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t been supplanted by people using the Kindle app on phones.

      • Again, I’m not arguing that Android is better than iPad for content creation. iPad is way ahead for most of it except I/O and standards, and Android apps are scarce and probably not as good (I’m no expert).

        But.

        Your point 2 is probably false, M. Osterloh rushed to say the OS team is still on tablets, just the HW team gave up after being walking dead for years. And Fuchsia def. has a Tablet UI (well, has much of a tablet UI as of Phone and Desktop UIs right now ^^)

        Your point 3 needs to be proven. Some devs make excellent Tablet skins for their apps, and all the basics are there in excellent form: browser (again, Firefox is miles ahead of any other browser), mail, RSS, Office (MS and Google), Media consumption (video, books), messaging, FB seems OK, leading games def. have a tablet mode…. What matters is not how many devs disregard tablets, but how many devs do take care of them. In my personal experience: enough for Home and Office use, though not for content creation (I’m no expert on that though).

        Point 4 about the financials… Again, that’s still 73% of the market. Both on the HXWside and on the Apps side, there must be some money in it. and the cost to support the Tablet form factor isn’t very high if devs follow recommended guidelines. It seems we’re duplicting the Android-phone app debate only a few years later. Android phones were supposed to have only bad apps and be heading down… wasn’t that true to start with, and didn’t evolve that way either.

        You say “Android tablets have no apps”, but when asked for examples of apps that matter that aren’t there in nice enough form, “offhand, no” ? Frankly, that’s unsatisfying. It’s OK to make inflammatory statements, but you’ve got to have the goods to back them up, and by that I mean not free-floating Internet/iBubble background noise. When I look at nonprofessional tablet use around me, there are delightful apps to do all of it on Android. And superior OS features whch Apple is ripping off as fast as it can.

        This recurring argument is weird. I feel it’s your rumor mill and bias again my personal experience. You make it sound like we can’t do anything on Android tablets but watch Youtube. I understand they probably wouldn’t serve *you* well, but they serve 10+ people around me perfectly fine. Reciprocally, when I look at home iPaders aroudn me, I don’t see anything an Android couldn’t do just as well, sometimes better. My mom panics when her homepage widgets choke. I had to make her a “tablet desktop” (screen, kb, mouse, printer, webcam, loudspeakers on a high-spec Android TV-Box) because she liked and mastered it better than Windows. I’ve started working on a full exposé on Android tablets, but I’m not good at free-form write-ups (second-guessing myself constantly, esp. with no deadline), and July is shaping up rather busy.

    • their graph on the evolution of 2/3/4/5G subs between now and 2024 on page 7 is the weirdest graph I’ve ever seen. It can be made sense of, but is utterly counter-intuitive.

      Other surprises:
      1- subs still rising rather strongly
      2- equipment rate 104% wwide, only Africa & India at 80%. 140% in Russia. MultiSIM anyone ? Or IoT ?
      3- LTE is still only 50%, I’d argue that contrary to what they say, this means 5G is probably not that meaningful. We need new uses to justify it, good 4G is perfectly OK for video streaming and non-pro gaming. Coverage > price > speed.
      4- they’re doing a whole schtick about 5G rising. It’s their business. In France, at least one of the four major carriers has already said they’ll transition to 5G at no extra cost.
      5- 75% is video. Not sure if they took the -30% for the transition to.AV1 into account.
      6- they say 45-65% pop coverage for 5G in 2024. Ah ! OpenSignal says France is still only 68% 4G (US 90%, UK 77%), French regulator is reporting 99% pop, 80% geo. As Churchill said…

  3. On a separate note (ah !) today is a very sad day: Xiaomi announced they’re “indefinitely suspending” their Max line of ridiculously large phones, to which I’ve been faithful for 4 yrs. The only alternatives are a couple of more expensive behemoths from… Huawei.

    As a memorial to True Phablets, here’s a Google Sheet highlighting the actual width of a few phablets and regular phones, because for reading, maps, most games, Office, vids beyond 16:9… what counts is the smaller dimension.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/141lnKZhwye10LhxkuWKOsbbPJhSm6gKYEMr0q0WMre8/edit?usp=sharing

    • Sad summary: the 6.1″ iPhone X is smaller than the 5.1″ Galaxy Note 1, and the 6.5″ iPhone XS Plus is only as big. I’m NOT getting a Kindle, and I’m not lugging around an 8″ tablet either. And I can’t use an 8″ tablet as a phone, that’s too big. 7″-ish is were it’s at for me.

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