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Winners and losers: MediaTek takes the lead, WhatsApp not so private

Set your alarms, because the next few days promise a marathon of announcements in the world of technology! First things first, let’s highlight the winners and losers of the past week. While MediaTek seems to be riding at the crest of the perfect wave, WhatsApp’s descent into hell seems to have no end.

Before we explain our choices for this edition, let us recall some highlights that occurred over the last week:

#techtember: Xiaomi and Apple confirm events

It was no surprise to (almost?) everybody, but it’s always nice when companies finalize the dates and times of their events. Apple and Xiaomi announced their upcoming events in consecutive days.

apple iphone 13 keynote announcement 2
One more thing? / © Apple

First, the Cupertino company is expected to show off the 2021 iPhone this Tuesday (14 September), while Xiaomi has gone one step further by confirming two of the models that will be unveiled the following day: the 11T and 11T Pro flagships. Check out the times of both events across different time zones:

Mark your calendars!

  Date PST
(New York)
(Central Europe)
Apple 14 10h 13h 14h 18h 19h 22h30
Xiaomi 15 5h 8h 9h 13h 14h 17h30

In addition to the model names, Xiaomi did cook up a storm of a mystery with the hashtag #cinemagic, revealed in advance that the 11T Pro model will be feature 120 W fast charging, and even promised a software update policy of 3 years, equalling what its rival Samsung Galaxy S line offers.

Facebook and Ray-ban to launch smart glasses

Another announcement that was also expected, but had no accompanying release date, also happened this week: the first connected glasses from Facebook, in partnership with one of the best known brands when it comes to traditional glasses. Ray-ban Stories does not bring the augmented reality ambitions of previous models like Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens, opting for a more modest set of features.

For those who have thumbed up their noses at sunnies that look too flashy, Stories resembles traditional eyewear, differing primarily by the two cameras located at the ends of the frame. They can be used to take photos or record video, of which you can start by pressing a button or using a voice command, where all are fully synchronized with your smartphone.

In addition, the Ray-ban Stories can use the smartphone connection to play audio via Bluetooth, thanks to its touch controls on the sides for calls, volume, and music control.

This model is already on sale in the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Italy and the UK, with 20 different combinations for the 4 types of frames and 5 color options.

Winner of the Week: Mediatek more leader than ever

The winner of the week is once again, MediaTek, the Taiwanese processor designer continues its successful season with another quarter at the top of the mobile SoCs market.

The numbers were released by consulting firm Counterpoint, which recorded a record 43% share for the chipset manufacturer behind the Helio and Dimensity lines. Analysts highlighted the brand’s portfolio of affordable 5G processors, in addition to being impacted less by the current semiconductor crisis because of their capable production lines, being the key drivers of its growth and dominance.

MediaTek increased its market share in the mobile processor market considerably over the last quarter. Having registered a 26% growth in the second quarter of 2020, it achieved a 43% growth in the corresponding quarter this year. Apparently, much of this difference was at the expense of the Chinese company HiSilicon (a Huawei subsidiary) that saw its market share fall from 16% to 3% after sanctions that limited its production capacity with the Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC.

Global Smartphone APSoC Shipment Market Share Q2 2020 vs Q2 2021
MediaTek and Unisoc filled the void left by HiSilicon / Huawei / © Counterpoint Research

US-based Qualcomm, on the other hand, did not experience such a large variation in its market share, falling from 28% to 24% between the second quarters of 2020 and 2021, respectively. A positive point to take note of in the house of Snapdragon however, was the strong expansion of the brand in the 5G modems for smartphones segment, which grew from 29% to 55%.

This is largely due, of course, to the use of the Snapdragon X55 modem in the iPhone 12 line, in which it is responsible for the fifth-generation connection. For Qualcomm, Counterpoint predicts more reassurance in the coming months, with an adjustment in its production chain to circumvent bottlenecks in the production capacity of factories.

Loser of the week: WhatsApp does share your messages with Facebook

The loser of the week is once again, WhatsApp! A report from ProPublica revealed that Facebook employs a team to evaluate messages sent on the instant messaging app.

At first glance, this is simply the way things are expected to work in a social network, but it shouldn’t be. It reveals that despite WhatsApp’s much-publicized end-to-end encryption, Facebook does have a way to view content exchanged on the instant messenger.

According to the investigation by ProPublica, conversations reported for inappropriate content are forwarded to a moderation team on Facebook, who has access to these messages and has the authority to mete out the appropriate ‘punishment’ on the user.

This controversy demystifies the meaning of the term “end-to-end encryption,” even if the communication cannot be easily deciphered “in transit,” nothing prevents one of the ends from sharing the message with Facebook, the government, or anyone else.

And with that rather gloomy reminder, we close this week’s edition of winners and losers. What did you think of our choices? Are you curious about the upcoming smartphone launches? Share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments. See you next week!

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