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Apple Sues Qualcomm Citing Extortion Attempts

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Apple has filed a patent royalty lawsuit against Qualcomm, alleging the firm failed to pay owed rebates in retaliation for Apple’s part in a Korean antitrust investigation. The claims goes further, however, accusing the chipmaker of partaking in unsavoury business practices, from price-gouging to extortion.

In its lawsuit, Apple alleges Qualcomm withheld nearly $1 billion in payments in retaliation for cooperating with law enforcement agencies. Specifically, Apple cites the Korea Fair Trade Commission’s probe into Qualcomm’s business practices that resulted in an $854 million fine in December, the largest in the agency’s history.

According to Apple lawyers, Qualcomm used its “monopoly power” to flout FRAND (fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory) patent commitments by charging hefty royalty rates on standard-essential patents relating to cellular communications standards. In addition, Qualcomm refuses to sell chipsets to manufacturers until they first license the SEPs, often at “extortion-level” rates.

Since 2011, Qualcomm has conditioned billions of dollars in rebates on “exclusivity or de facto exclusivity from Apple,” the lawsuit reads. With the KFTC investigation, however, Qualcomm added yet another condition to payment. Along with Qualcomm’s most recent indiscretions, the lawsuit outlines questionable licensing strategy that goes beyond SEP licensing and component sales double-dipping.

At the heart of the issue are secret manufacturer licensing agreements. Apple has been forced to pay fees for patents obscured by a legal shroud since 2007, when the first iPhone was released. When Apple selected the Infeneon (now Intel) baseband chip, Qualcomm required a licensing fee. The situation worsened when in 2011 Apple introduced an iPhone capable of connecting to CDMA networks, a technology dominated by Qualcomm chipsets.

Instead of licensing directly to Apple, however, Qualcomm entered into a number of secret agreements with smaller contract manufacturers. Without bargaining power, these CMs pay “exorbitant” royalties on non-FRAND terms and pass the cost along to Apple. The process is hidden from Apple, meaning the company in many cases does not know what patents it is paying for its CMs to license.

Apple as recently as last year attempted to negotiate direct licensing arrangements as certain agreements were set to expire at the end of 2016. Amid accusations of patent infringement, and in the face of heavy resistance by way of Qualcomm’s increasingly litigious business strategy, those talks were largely unsuccessful.

Apple is seeking unspecified damages in its suit against Qualcomm including the $1 billion in unpaid payments, as well as a disgorgement of non-FRAND royalties paid by Apple CMs. The lawsuit also looks to leave Apple unencumbered of certain cellular patents-in-suit, or alternatively assign a reasonable FRAND royalty rate.

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Gadgets

Apple Detects Spyware Targeting iPhones in Multiple Countries

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Apple has issued a second spyware attack warning to iPhone users in 98 countries, raising concerns about the growing threat to mobile security. This follows a similar alert in April targeting users in 92 countries.

While specific details about the latest attacks remain under wraps, the alert serves as a stark reminder of the evolving threat landscape. India is one confirmed country where users received the notification.

Spyware, a particularly invasive type of malware, can grant attackers complete access to an iPhone, including encrypted messages, audio, and video. The notorious Pegasus spyware from NSO Group is a well-known example.

“Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-,” Apple wrote in its new spyware alert.

Adding to the concern, researchers recently revealed the return of LightSpy, a “particularly dangerous” campaign capable of pinpointing a target’s location with “near-perfect accuracy.”

The worrying aspect of these attacks is their ability to exploit “zero-click” vulnerabilities, meaning infection can occur without any user interaction, such as opening a malicious link or attachment.

This highlights the importance of remaining vigilant and following Apple’s security recommendations, which may include updating your device to the latest iOS version.

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Gadgets

CMF by Nothing Phone 1 Review: A Budget-Friendly Contender with a Twist

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In a market saturated with high-priced flagships, the CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a breath of fresh air. Priced at a staggeringly affordable AED 749 onwards, it aims to deliver a compelling user experience without breaking the bank.

Design
One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

However, “conventional” doesn’t equate to boring here. The phone comes in various vibrant, almost playful colours, reminiscent of the early days of mobile phones. This playful aesthetic extends to the unique selling point of the CMF Phone 1: swappable back covers.

The CMF Phone 1 allows users to easily unscrew the stock black back and replace it with other colours such as orange, blue, and light green. This injects a degree of personalisation often missing in today’s homogenised phone market. Build quality feels solid despite the plastic construction, and the phone boasts an IP52 rating for basic dust and water resistance. CMF by Nothing also offers a bunch of other accessories that sweeten the deal. There’s a card case that can take in three credit cards, a kickstand, and a lanyard.

Display and Performance
The CMF Phone 1 sports a large, 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. This translates to a vibrant viewing experience, with excellent contrast levels and sharp visuals for everyday use. Watching videos and scrolling through social media feels fluid and enjoyable.

Under the hood, the phone is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 chipset. While it won’t win any performance benchmarks, it offers sufficient processing power for most daily tasks such as browsing, social media, and light gaming. Multitasking feels smooth, and the phone rarely stumbles during regular use.

Software
The CMF Phone 1 runs Nothing OS 2.6, a near-stock Android experience with a minimalist aesthetic. This translates to a bloatware-free interface that prioritises user experience. The software feels clean and responsive, with subtle animations and a focus on functionality.

Notably, the playful design elements found in the Nothing Phone (2a)’s software, such as the Glyph interface, are absent here. This might disappoint some users who enjoyed the unique character of the Nothing brand. However, the focus on a clean and efficient experience remains a positive aspect.

Camera
The camera system of the CMF Phone 1 is a bit of a mixed bag. The main attraction is a 50MP Sony sensor backed by a depth sensor for portrait shots. In well-lit conditions, the camera captures decent photos with good detail and colour reproduction. Even in low light, the performance is pretty good with the night mode turned on.

The 16MP front-facing camera is adequate for video calls and casual selfies but won’t impress photography enthusiasts. Overall, the camera system is functional but falls short of what some users might expect, even at this price point.

Battery Life and Connectivity
The CMF Phone 1 packs a sizeable 5000mAh battery, which translates to excellent battery life. You can easily get through a full day of moderate use on a single charge and we were able to stretch it to two days on some occasions. The phone supports 33W wired charging, which helps top the battery up quickly when needed.

However, wireless charging is noticeably absent. In terms of connectivity, the phone offers standard options such as dual SIM support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Notably, it also boasts 5G capabilities, making it future-proof for next-generation networks.

The Verdict
The CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a compelling option for budget-conscious users who prioritise a clean software experience, vibrant display, and long battery life. The swappable back covers and the accessories add a unique touch of personalisation, while the overall design is refreshingly colourful and playful.

Ultimately, the CMF Phone 1 succeeds in its core mission: delivering a good user experience at an unbeatable price point. If you’re looking for a powerful flagship killer, look elsewhere. But if you prioritise everyday usability, clean software, and a touch of design flair without breaking the bank, the CMF Phone 1 is a strong contender.

Price: AED 749 onwards

CMF by Nothing Phone 1 AED 749 onwards
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

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Earbuds

Nothing’s CMF Unveils Budget-Friendly Phone 1, Buds Pro 2, and Watch Pro 2

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CMF, the budget-friendly brand from Nothing, unveiled three exciting new products: CMF Phone 1, CMF Watch Pro 2, and CMF Buds Pro 2.

CMF Phone 1
For smooth performance, this phone boasts a powerful MediaTek Dimensity 7300 5G processor (co-engineered with Nothing). The massive 5000 mAh battery promises up to two days of use, while 8GB or 16GB RAM options ensure effortless multitasking.

 

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Capture stunning photos with the 50MP Sony rear camera and a dedicated portrait sensor. The 16MP selfie camera complements the package. All this comes to life on a vibrant 6.67-inch Super AMOLED display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

CMF Phone 1 runs Nothing OS 2.6, offering a clean and customizable Android experience. But the real charm lies in the phone’s adaptability. Swappable backcases and custom accessories let you create a phone that reflects your style.

CMF Watch Pro 2
This versatile smartwatch features an interchangeable bezel design, a stunning 1.32-inch AMOLED display, and over 100 customizable watch faces. Track your fitness with over 120 sports modes and automatic workout detection. It also monitors heart rate, blood oxygen, and stress levels.

Stay connected with Bluetooth calling, music control, notifications, and remote camera control. Built for an active lifestyle, the watch boasts IP68 water resistance and an impressive 11-day battery life.

CMF Buds Pro 2
Elevate your listening experience with these feature-packed earbuds. The innovative Smart Dial on the case lets you control everything with a touch. Dual drivers and LDAC technology deliver rich, Hi-Res Audio Wireless sound, further enhanced by Dirac Opteo. Advanced Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (up to 50dB) and clear voice calls with 6 mics ensure an uninterrupted listening experience.

For movie lovers, Spatial Audio creates a three-dimensional soundscape. With a total battery life of 43 hours and a quick 10-minute charge for 7 hours of playback, the CMF Buds Pro 2 are perfect for any adventure.

The CMF Phone 1 hits shelves on July 20th in two configurations:

  1. 8GB + 128GB: Starting at SAR 799 (Jarir Bookstores) / AED 749 (Lulu Hypermarket & Noon)
  2. 8GB + 256GB: SAR 1,099 / AED 999

CMF offers stylish Black, Orange, Light Green, and Blue cases for just SAR 59 / AED 49 each. Other accessories include a stand, lanyard, and card case, all priced at SAR 59 / AED 49.

The CMF Watch Pro 2, a versatile smartwatch with a starting price of SAR 279 / AED 249, complements the Phone 1 perfectly. The CMF Buds Pro 2 is available for SAR 219 / AED 199 for immersive audio.

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