Just weeks after Xiaomi overtook Huawei and LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, The Guardian reports that the Chinese handset maker’s chief executive and founder Lei Jun is out with a bold prediction that his company could move past Apple and Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within the next five to ten years.
Xiaomi has been making impressive strides within the smartphone market, taking advantage of the massive populations in its homeland China and nearby India as key regions for it success. Over the past few years, the four-year-old smartphone maker has recruited former Google executive Hugo Barra, more than doubled its sales following international expansion and even outsold Apple in China during the first quarter.
“I believe that no one thought the Xiaomi from three years ago, which just made its first phone, would later rank as the third largest player,” Lei said at China’s World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, after arriving two hours late. “India is becoming our largest overseas market. Within five or 10 years, we have the opportunity to become the number one smartphone company in the world.”
Xiaomi has quickly become known as the “Apple of China,” although that title might not have to do entirely with how popular the smartphone maker is in the world’s most populous country. Rather, the Chinese handset manufacturer has been called out on multiple occasions for nonchalantly copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad with its affordable Mi-branded devices.
“I’ll stand a little bit harsh, I don’t see it as flattery,” said Apple design boss Jony Ive when asked about Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, described as “the Apple of China” in an interview with Vanity Fair. “When you’re doing something for the first time, you don’t know it’s gonna work. You spend seven or eight years working on something, and then it’s copied. I think it is really straightforward. It is theft and it is lazy. I don’t think it is OK at all.”
Despite the success, Xiaomi still has quite a lot of ground to make up on its competitors if it truly wants to be crowned the world’s largest smartphone maker. Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the market, combining to account for 37% global share in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Xiaomi sits in a distant third place with 5.6% market share for the three-month period.
Apple appears convinced that Xiaomi’s bold prediction is easier said than done.
“It is easy to say, it is more difficult to do,” Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel and senior vice president of legal and government affairs, told the conference when asked about Lei’s bold claims which would require Xiaomi to displace Apple in second place, adding that there were “many good competitive phones in China.”
Nevertheless, Xiaomi is not alone in its fight for smartphone domination. Financial Times recently reported that Xiaomi has lined up $1.5 billion in venture funding as part of a valuation exceeding $40 billion. Russian internet company DST, which also backed companies like Alibaba, Facebook and Airbnb, is one of the investors currently in negotiations with the Chinese handset maker.
Xiaomi was founded in 2010 and launched its first smartphone in China in 2011. The handset maker shipped 18 million smartphones during the third quarter, compared to 5.2 million units in the year-ago quarter, and Lei projects that its user base will triple from 70 million to 200 million users in the next year. Expansion into new markets, including Asia and Europe, will prove pivotal to that growth.
“In this magic land, we produced not only a company like Alibaba, but a small miracle like Xiaomi,” Lei said.
Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Android, Apple, CEO, Largest, Maker, Samsung, Smartphone, Top, Xiaomi
Google, according to a report out of Reuters, has agreed to settle all of its patent litigation with the Rockstar consortium, which consists of a variety of tech companies including Apple, Sony, BlackBerry and Microsoft. The Rockstar consortium paid $4.5 billion for Nortel Network Corporation’s huge patent portfolio in 2011, outbidding Google at the time. The Rockstar consortium originally sued Google and a handful of Android manufacturers in October of 2013, claiming that the companies infringed on seven Nortel patents.
The seven patents in question dealt with matching search terms to relevant advertisements, and with Google being a search and advertising company, a loss in this case could have been a huge blow. Google fired back in December of 2013 with its own lawsuit against Rockstar, looking to protect the Android manufacturers named in the original suit.
According to today’s report from Reuters, citing a filing in a Texas federal court, Rockstar and Google have agreed to settle “all matters in controversy between the parties.” The two companies have agreed upon a term sheet, which will be “reduced to a definitive agreement” over the coming weeks.
Specific terms of the settlement are unclear at this point, but more details should become available as the deal is finalized. It’s unclear if today’s announcement includes litigation between Rockstar and Android handset manufacturers, or just between Rockstar and Google.
Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Android, Apple, Apple Inc, Google, Lawsuit, Microsoft, Nortel, Patent, Rockstar
HP’s annual two-day Mobile Pwn2Own competition came to a close this afternoon, with a group of veteran security researchers and other competitors able to compromise several flagship smartphones across the top-three mobile operating systems: Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The devices that were exploited include the iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 5, Amazon Fire Phone and Nokia Lumia 1520.
The first day of the competition was highly successful, with five teams, five targeted devices and five successful attempts. A total of nine bugs were discovered and immediately disclosed to and confirmed by the Zero Day Initiative, in order for smartphone vendors to patch their mobile operating systems to close vulnerabilities that allow for things like the iOS 8 untethered jailbreak Pangu and malware attacks.
A team of South Korean competition veterans were able to come across a two-bug combination in iOS that compromised the iPhone 5s through the Safari browser. One of the bugs was able to execute a full Safari sandbox escape, making it possible for the security researchers to gain full control of the system. The security flaw was immediately disclosed to Apple by the Zero Day Initiative.
The second contest involved two successful attempts against compromising the Samsung Galaxy S5. The first vulnerability, which “used NFC as a vector trigger a deserialization issue in certain code specific to Samsung,” was discovered by Japan’s team MSBD on day one of the competition. Jon Butler of South Africa’s MWR InfoSecurity also hacked the Samsung Galaxy S5 with an NFC focus.
Later during the first day of competition, Adam Laurie from UK’s Aperture Labs stepped up his game with a two-bug exploit for the Nexus 5 that involves NFC capabilities. The security bug demonstrated a way for the Nexus 5 to force Bluetooth pairings between two smartphones, presenting a myriad of privacy and security issues if one of the users is a malicious attacker.
The first day was rounded off with a three-bug exploit targeting the Amazon Fire Phone’s web browser by the three-man MWR InfoSecurity team of Kyle Riley, Bernard Wagner, and Tyrone Erasmus. Amazon’s Fire Phone is based on the proprietary Fire OS operating system that is distributed as a fork of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
The second day of competition was not as successful, given that competitors were only able to obtain partial attacks on the Android and Windows Phone platforms. Competitor Nico Joly tackled the Lumia 1520 with an exploit aimed at the smartphone’s web browser, but was only able to exfiltrate the cookie database and could not break the sandbox to gain full access to the system.
Meanwhile, the final competitor of the second day and event altogether, Pwn2Own veteran Jüri Aedla, was able to present an exploit that involved utilizing Wi-Fi on his Nexus 5 running Android. As with Joly before him, however, Aedla was unable to elevate his system privileges higher than their original level. Afterwards, the event officially came to a close.
Mobile Pwn2Own is a recurring event that resumes at CanSecWest next spring.
Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: Amazon Fire Phone, Android, competition, hacked, HP, iOS, iPhone 5s, mobile, Nexus 5, Pwn2Own, Samsung GALAXY S5, Windows Phone