Apple sees uptick in supplier labor problems in annual audit

From CNET: Apple uncovered a higher number of serious labor and human rights rules violations at its supplier facilities in 2017, the company said Wednesday in its annual audit of its supply chain.

Apple identified 44 "core violations" of labor rules, according to its 12th annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report (PDF), double the number it reported last year. Included in the report were three debt-bonded labor violations, two underage labor violations and 38 violations of falsifying work hours data.

Facebook Messenger Lite adds video chat

From The Verge: Facebook’s Messenger Lite app for Android is getting video chat, adding the final feature the slimmed-down app needed to become a truly viable replacement for the full-featured Messenger.

Broadcom dangles 5G promise in bid to buy Qualcomm

From CNET: 5G appears to be the solution to everyone's problems. For Broadcom, it's the potential key to completing its hostile takeover of fellow chip maker Qualcomm.

Broadcom, which makes chips for everything from set-top boxes to data centers, on Wednesday vowed to make the US a global leader in 5G, a next-generation cellular technology that promises to boost wireless speeds, coverage and the ability to handle connected devices. Qualcomm, which makes chips for smartphones and other mobile devices, has been at the forefront of 5G investment.

BlackBerry Sues Facebook Over Messaging App Patents

From PC Mag: BlackBerry is suing Facebook for patent infringement on the claim that the social media company's messaging services use BlackBerry intellectual property without permission.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram have all benefited from patented technology that was originally used for BlackBerry Messenger, the company said in a lawsuit filed in a California court on Tuesday.

Gboard for Android is adding Chinese and Korean support

From The Verge: Gboard, which lets you do everything from searching Maps and YouTube directly from the keyboard, to making quick looping selfie GIFs, is finally adding Chinese (both traditional and simplified) and Korean, to its Android app today. China and Korea are two of the largest Android markets, and the languages were the top two most requested by users, Google says. Considering that Swype has offered Korean support since 2010, and Chinese since 2012, Google is pretty late to the game, though it has offered support for the two languages on iOS for some time.

A Bug Is Making Your Switch Forgetful

From PC Mag: The Nintendo Switch is one year old and nobody could have predicted just how successful it would be this early in its life cycle. But while remaining extremely popular, the Switch isn't without its bugs. In August last year a battery indicator problem took hours to fix, now the Switch has started forgetting how long you've played each game.

VideoCoin raises $35M for blockchain to rival Amazon video

From CNET: Longtime tech entrepreneur Halsey Minor has a plan for tapping all those idle servers -- think of them as "zombie" computers -- sitting in data centers and having them process, store and distribute video. And he says that plan will cost far less than rival services from Google and Amazon.

Oh, and he's come up with a way for content creators to pay owners of the computers they're effectively renting that uses a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency called VideoCoin.

Xiaomi says it plans to enter US smartphone market this year or early 2019

From The Verge: Xiaomi, one of the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturers, is planning to enter the US market by next year. The Chinese gadget maker recently expanded into western Europe, and the US smartphone market is next on its radar. The Wall Street Journal reports that Xiaomi could bring its smartphones to the US as early as the end of this year. “We’ve always been considering entering the US. market,” says Xiaomi Chairman Lei Jun. “We plan to start entering the market by end 2018, or by early 2019.”

Report: Apple Planning Cheaper MacBook Air

From PC Mag: Apple has been accused of being many things, but "cheap" isn't one of them. If you want to own a brand new Apple-branded laptop, then the cheapest option is the MacBook Air, which starts at $999. Beyond that there's the MacBook and MacBook Pro starting at $1,299 each. However, the good news is we may be getting an cheaper laptop from Apple in the next few months.

Amazon may stop selling Google's Nest products

From CNET: Amazon may stop stocking Google's Nest line of products, continuing the companies' already rocky history of support for each other's products.

According to a Business Insider report Friday, Amazon told Nest late last year that the online retailer wouldn't be listing any of Nest's newer products, which include a smart thermostat and other home appliances.

Amazon declined to comment on the BI report, and Google didn't respond to a request for comment.

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