Archive for the ‘china’ Category
We’ve heard rumblings of BYD coming to America before, but it seems it won’t be making a big deal of its Stateside entrée — at least not yet. According to the Los Angeles Times, China’s sixth-largest car maker is quietly making its presence known in the US, occupying the offices of Cars 911 — a dealership in Glendale, CA — and solidifying plans to open 10 American dealerships by the end of 2011. BYD is also in the process of building its US headquarters in downtown LA, and has been servicing a fleet of its F3DM hybrids, leased to the city’s housing authority, from the Cars 911 lot. BYD’s e6, which is slated as a Leaf competitor, is suspected to appear on the American market, alongside the F3DM, by year’s end. Considering the Leaf’s recent woes, this might be just the right time for BYD to strike.
If you’ve been struggling to get your dose of Facebook or Twitter in China recently, then you’re probably one of the many Internet users who’ve had their VPN access — either free or paid for — blocked over the last two weeks or so. That’s right, the notorious Great Firewall of China is still alive and well, and leaving proxy servers aside, VPN is pretty much the only way for keen netizens to access websites that are deemed too sensitive for their eyes; or to “leap over the wall,” as they say. Alas, the recent pro-democracy protests didn’t exactly do these guys any favor — for one, their organizers used Twitter along with an overseas human rights website to gather protesters, and with the National People’s Congress meetings that were about to take place (and wrapped up last night), it was no surprise that the government went tough on this little bypassing trick. To make matters worse, PC World is reporting that Gmail users are also affected by slow or limited access, despite the service previously being free from China’s blacklist.
We reached out to a handful of major VPN service providers, and they all confirmed a significant increase in the amount of blockage — possibly by having their servers’ PPTP IP addresses blocked — over the last two weeks. One company even spotted the Chinese government subscribing to its paid service, only to work its way into the network to locate the company’s PPTP server list, and then put them behind the firewall. Fortunately for some, the better-off companies had backup servers to rapidly resolve the problem, whereas the cheaper and free services were unable to dodge the bullet. This just goes to show that sometimes you get what you pay for. That said, with practically unlimited human hacking power at its disposal, it doesn’t take much for the firewall to shut down everything heading its way. For the sake of our friends and expats there, let’s just hope that the government will take things down a notch as soon as the storm calms.
Are you a developer seeking the widest and most profitable distribution for your mobile software? The traditional platform for achieving such goals over the past couple of years has been Apple’s iOS, but Android’s rabid ascendancy has recently turned that into a legitimate question. A question that OpenFeint is looking to sway even further in Google’s favor by announcing it will fund the porting of games from “other app stores” to Android with the help of Chinese online game operator The9. The specially selected games will of course get saddled with OpenFeint integration and the whole effort does have the waft of a publicity grab to us, but hey, it’s another few pennies thrown into the bottomless well known as “Android gaming.” Surely something worthy will eventually come out of it, no?
We’d forgive you for thinking you’re looking at a smartphone in the picture above — seeing how HTC and Nokia owners have enjoyed this form factor for years — but that’s actually a netbook up there, sporting a full five-row keyboard and a desktop operating system. Yes, what took Samsung and ASUS until CES 2011 to realize has been copied by Shenzhen in two months flat, and even if you’d thumb your nose at its vanilla configuration (10-inch 1024 x 600 screen, 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 CPU, 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard drive, 3700mAh lithium-ion battery) and optical touchpad next to the display, it’s hard for a lover of all things gadgety not to appreciate that. Besides, the 1,600 yuan (about $244) price tag doesn’t hurt any.
Lenovo’s ready to get specific with dates now that Google’s got itself an honest to goodness tablet OS. A company spokesman said that its LePad tablet — first announced by that name back in June 2010 but previewed at CES all the way back in January 2010 — will ship in its home country of China in March before making its way to the global stage in June. Unfortunately, Lenovo isn’t saying anything about final specs or which countries are first on its list — we already knew it was coming to the US in 2011. The company’s also not talking price. Last time we saw LePad in January it was sporting Android 2.2 with a custom “LeOS” skin riding a 1.3GHz Snapdragon processor and 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel display with a price just north of $500. Question is: will Lenny set it free with vanilla Honeycomb or will it feel compelled to apply the LeOS skin in order to avoid becoming just another Android tablet?