This Week In Tech And Telco: Google Gaming & Samsung Quitters
We're finally at the end of a look week in the world of tech and telcos. Check out the headlines that have been keeping us in lunch-time conversation.
Marc Mathieu jumps ship from Samsung
After conducting an internal investigation of its US marketing operation, Samsung laid off a number of emloyees as a result. It was even more interesting that this happened as Samsung's CMO of nearly four years Marc Methieu, abruptly left the company last week.
His name may not be well known, buy he was key to pushing Samsung to invest in the YouTube creator community and steered the company through several difficult periods. This include his handling of the Galaxy Note 7's disastrous recall in 2016. Mathieu also helped launch the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus the following year - phones that did much to restore the company's battered reputation.
Sony streaming new game announcements
Sony has announced that it’ll be running a new “State of Play” stream on March 25th, where it’ll announce new games, show off new trailers, and give updates on upcoming PS4 and PS VR titles.
If that sounds familiar, that’s probably because its the same thing Nintendo has been doing for the last few years with its Nintendo Direct presentations, distributing news throughout the year instead of lumping all of its announcements together at a single big event like E3.
BIG PRESS CONFERENCES ARE GETTING REPLACED WITH SMALLER STREAMS
It’s a strategy that makes a lot of sense for Sony, which skipped its annual December showcase last year and has already said that it’ll be sitting out E3 come June, allowing it to give updates on upcoming titles with less of the pressure and fanfare that those larger events demand. State of Play won’t be a one thing, either — Sony has already said that it’ll be running more State of Play streams later in 2019, too, so expect similar announcements like this in the future.
Google Stadia: Let's Play
Google announced Stadia, a new cloud-based gaming platform, at its GDC 2019 keynote Tuesday morning. It’s a major move for Google into the video game business, which is increasingly building toward streaming as a solution.
Stadia is not a dedicated console or set-top box. The platform will be accessible over the internet on a variety of platforms: browsers, computers, TVs, and mobile devices. In an onstage demonstration of Stadia, Google showed someone playing a game on a Chromebook, then playing it on a phone, then immediately playing it on PC, picking up where the game left off in real time.
Stadia can stream games in 60 fps, with HDR and 4K resolution, said Google’s Majd Bakar. In the future, Bakar said, Stadia will achieve resolutions up to 8K and frame rates up to 120 fps. Google showed AAA games like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and id Software Doom Eternal running on Stadia.
Google will have a hardware component, however: the Stadia Controller. It’s a traditional looking gamepad, with dual analog joysticks, four face buttons, and shoulder buttons. The controller will connect to the cloud via wi-fi, and includes a “share” button to connect to YouTube and a Google Assistant button.
Nokia are sending personal data from Norway To China
Finland's data protection watchdog is investigating Nokia owner HMD over claims its mobiles sent data to Chinese servers. The probe follows a report by Norway's public broadcaster NRKin which it claimed to have proof that Nokia phones are transmitting sensitive information to China based on a tip from a Nokia owner. The man in question, Henrik Austad, said he'd been monitoring the traffic from his Nokia 7 Plus only to find it was sending unencrypted information to a Chinese server while switched on. The sensitive data reportedly included his location, as well as the SIM card number and the phone's serial number.
NRK said its own findings indicated the server was under the domain "vnet.cn," which is reportedly managed by state-owned telecommunications company China Telecom. Finland's data protection ombudsman Reijo Aarnio told Reuters he would assess whether there were any breaches that involved "personal information and if there has been a legal justification for this."
Finnish startup HMD Global, which signed a ten-year license with Microsoft for the Nokia brand in 2016, reportedly admitted to NRK that a batch of Nokia 7 Plus phones had sent data to China. It said it had fixed the "error" in a January software update that most customers had installed. HMD claimed the phones didn't send any personal data that could identify their owners. Though the Nokia 7 Plus was never originally released in the US, a second-gen version, the Nokia 7.1, arrived here in October 2018.
Pointing to the stricter privacy laws imposed by the EU last year, Aarnio told NRK that his first reaction was "that this can at least be a violation of the GDPR legislation." Google already fell foul of the guidelines in France earlier this year, where it was hit with a €50 million (about $57 million) fine for its alleged opaque data consent policies.