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December 29, 2017

The telecoms industry never ceases to amuse. Few industries boast such volatility, partly because few industries have millions of amateur beta-testers: when Apple releases a new iPhone, internet forums stack comments to the rafters...and some of the commenters actually bought the phone too.

Overall, the telecoms picture is bright. Places like Bangladesh are seeing improved quality of life due to mobile phone adoption. At our Telecom Asia Awards in May, the audience reacted when Caroline Yin Yin Htay from Telenor Myanmar accepted the award for Best Emerging Market Operator.

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November 28, 2017

Life in Hong Kong is possible without an Octopus stored-value card, just less convenient. The Octopus was introduced in September 1997 and is based on Sony's FeLiCa card-reader technology. It was originally designed for use on Hong Kong's transportation networks, but quickly spread to retail outlets across the SAR.

Nowadays, you may see a Visa PayWave processor as well as the ubiquitous Octopus processor at retail outlets, but that's about it. Go to a supermarket in Macau and you'll see an array of payment-processors by the register. They include the Macau Pass card (introduced... MORE

September 19, 2017

We don't even think about it—just haul out our mobile phone and mash our collective thumb on an icon to create real-world action. We don't leave the house without our app-stuffed magic box. We carry external batteries to make sure it never ever runs out of juice, and we fiddle with the thing more often than we'd care to think.

Yet it was only a decade ago that the late Steve Jobs presented the iPhone to the USA, as it was tied to a carrier there. Even so, an estimated half-a-million iPhones made it into mainland China.

Today's smartphones, like the earliest iPhone, are... MORE

August 18, 2017

I've been writing about 5G for years now, and it seems we're making progress. More vendors are mentioning their interest in positioning themselves within the nascent 5G ecosystem.

But many of the building blocks for 5G are still being shaped and debated. Think of this way: 5G will be an enormous, complex, finished structure. You can think of as a massive office building with elaborate interconnected systems—a building with infrastructure that enables tasks we can perhaps imagine today, or perhaps not.

If we think of 5G as a building, right now the framework is being planned... MORE

July 10, 2017

So how did you celebrate "No Cash Day"? In case you've forgotten (or never realized), NCD was June 27.

The idea, according to the self-proclaimed holiday's website: 'No Cash Day is a public call to stop using cash over a 24-hour period to offer the opportunity to reflect on the issue of financial inclusion and cultural change offered by digital money as an opportunity to overcome the boundaries between people, countries and languages; as constant technological revolution; as redefinition of relationships between citizens and institutions."

Presumably, world peace is just... MORE

June 26, 2017

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When traveling to another country, I pay little attention to the phone number graven into the disposable SIM I buy at the airport. It'll get me to a network and the operator will start pinging me with offers. Savvy ones will offer a data plan, as I'll use WeChat or WhatsApp to comm with essential people.

WeChat has in-app translation and allows sending of "stickers"—there are stock collections but people can make their own, and creative friends gift me with nice salty ones. WhatsApp is encrypted end-to-end,... MORE

June 20, 2017

Privacy advocates buzz with scorn over televisions that listen in on conversations and sell the data they've scraped to third parties. Recently, a respected headphone manufacturer was busted for the same thing—a US-based consumer filed a lawsuit claiming that using their app tracks the audio customers listen to, and violates their privacy rights by selling that information without permission.

It doesn't take a technoboffin to understand that private information should remain private. Leakage of sensitive personal information can lead to everything from irked spouses to identity... MORE

April 20, 2016

Digital video resolutions are relentlessly algebraic, as shown in this diagram. The "high definition" video standards of the early 20th century – 720p and 1080p – remain valid, as does "standard definition" (what we used to simply call "video"). But 4K, aka ultra-high-definition television (UHDTV), is the new standard, and it is dragging everything in the video supply chain – content, hardware, delivery methods – upward and onward.

Simply put, at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, a 4K display is four times the size of a 1080p display. At 8.3 million pixels, the resolution is... MORE

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