Light Start: Fitbit makes ventilators, no chips for Huawei, Ubisoft sues Apple and Google and Zoom downtime

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Fitbit’s apparently going to make ventilators now?

The current pandemic is bringing out the good samaritan in everyone, even tech and hardware companies. Fitbit, which was bought by Google late last year, announced that it will start producing ventilators. You know, to fight the good fight and all that. The company chief James Park told CNBC in an interview that Fitbit will shift its production to make ventilators. It’s not a surprise, considering many of these hardware production lines have the facilities to help medical facilities cope with an influx of people that need help breathing. Fitbit plans to submit its tech to the FDA for approval, after which it’ll start production. Although the company is fairly late to the game, we doubt that any medical facility would turn away its help, as people are still becoming infected in the hundreds of thousands. “Park said Fitbit would adjust its production to meet demand, whether the virus is (hopefully) fading away or begins a second wave as the world reopens,” Engadget reports. Its game plan is to make the technology more affordable, while they offer some impressive designs. We’ll have to see if it works out. But good on Fitbit for helping fight the good fight. 

Sauce: Engadget

Huawei can’t buy any chips, if the US has its way

It looks like the US is still out to get Huawei. If the US Commerce Department has its way, the Chinese telecom won’t have access to any semiconductors. Yeah even those produced in companies other than the US.  “An amended export rule would block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei to strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors that are the direct product of certain US software and technology,” The Verge details the plans. This means that any producer of semiconductors who make use of any US software or technology won’t be able to trade with Huawei in the future. That is, unless they have explicit licencing in place to do so. Huawei has had a hard year since the Trump administration barred it from using American-made software or hardware, already losing access to Google apps on any new devices. This is especially problematic, as Huawei’s chips, the HiSilicon processors, are made by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), and they may lose the ability to trade with the company. It looks like Huawei will only have 120 days from today to have any current orders fulfilled before the ban comes into place. Harsh. 

Sauce: The Verge

Ubisoft is suing Apple and Google for a ‘clone’ of a game

We know that games are being copied across a variety of platforms. Even if the name suggests otherwise, the similarities can’t be argued — this is especially true when it comes to mobile games. Now, Ubisoft is taking aim at Apple and Google for hosting a mobile game in its app stores that is worryingly similar to its Rainbow Six: Siege title. The mobile game, called Area F2 is made by Alibaba’s Ejoy and Qookka Games, and according to Ubisoft, it is piggybacking on their title’s success. It “allegedly borrows ‘virtually every aspect’ of Ubisoft’s character-driven team shooter, right down to the interface layout. Drones, destructible walls and rappelling down walls are also staples of both games,” Engadget explains. We would have thought going after the developer and publisher of the game would’ve made more sense, but Ubisoft has decided to pressure Apple and Google into a lawsuit to have the mobile title removed. Strange that, even if the mobile game is removed from first-party app stores, that doesn’t mean people won’t have access to it anymore. Just look at Fortnite, who decided to make the game downloadable through a direct APK download, because the app stores have expensive surcharges. We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out. 

Sauce: Engadget

Luckily meetings are not on Sundays as Zoom was down yesterday

We sincerely hope you didn’t have an important Zoom meeting this weekend, as the popular conferencing app, Zoom was purportedly down for a few hours on Sunday. Users reported problems with hosting and joining meetings. Zoom responded by saying “Our team is investigating the root cause of issues joining Zoom Meetings. These issues appear to be limited to a subset of users.” It rolled out a fix within two hours, saying that users “should now be able to host, join, and participate in Zoom Meetings and Zoom Video Webinars if they restart their sessions. We will continue to assess this matter that impacted a subset of our users and monitor to ensure no further operational impact.” There is no clear indication of what prompted the downtime, but it looks like only certain users were affected, and not everyone. Luckily there are alternatives for the video conferencing software, so hopefully no one missed out on an important meeting this weekend. 

Sauce: The Verge

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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  1. Pingback: Huawei hits back at US trade restrictions, which now includes overseas chip-makers

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