Your smartphone may soon pack 1TB in storage thanks to Samsung’s new memory chip

Sick of filling the limited space on your phone with apps, photos and videos? Sometime in the near future, your smartphone could ship with more than one-terabyte (1TB) of internal storage and run 10 times faster than a standard memory card.

Samsung is best known for making smartphones but the company’s memory division — one of its most profitable units — just announced that it has begun mass-producing a 1TB flash storage chip for phones. There’s no word on when they’ll be inside smartphones but Samsung said it plans to increase production during the first half of this year.

“Smartphone enthusiasts will soon be able to enjoy storage capacity comparable to a premium notebook PC, without having to pair their phones with additional memory cards,” Samsung said.

That 1TB capacity is double the previous highest that the Korean firm has produced. Its newest chip gave the Galaxy Note 9 a 512GB model which passes the terabyte milestone when a 512GB SD card is added. This new breakthrough promises to offer that without the help of a card, but the company also boasted of improved performance.

Samsung said its new tech reaches speeds of up to 1,000 megabytes per second (MB/s) — that would transfer a 5GB-sized full HD video in just five seconds to transfer, as opposed to nearly one minute with conventional microSD cards. Increased memory will also enable better quality high-resolution video shooting thanks to faster random read speed, it said.

Sounds good, but might this ship before the end of the year? The Samsung rumor mill is already speculating that the upcoming Galaxy Note 10 could include a 1TB model, but at this stage there is no concrete evidence. Keep an eye out for future leaks for more hints.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Schneider’s EVLink car charging stations were easily hackable, thanks to a hardcoded password

Schneider has fixed three vulnerabilities in one of its popular electric car charging stations, which security researchers said could have easily allowed an attacker to remotely take over the unit.

At its worst, an attacker can force a plugged-in vehicle to stop charging, rendering it useless in a “denial-of-service state,” an attack favored by some threat actors as it’s an effective way of forcing something to stop working.

The bugs were fixed with a software update that rolled out on September 2 shortly after the bugs were first disclosed, and limited details of the bugs were revealed in a supporting document on December 20. Now, a fuller picture of the vulnerabilities, found by New York-based security firm Positive Technologies, were released today — almost a month later.

Schneider’s EVLink charging stations come in all shapes and sizes — some for the garage wall and some at gas stations. It’s the charging stations at offices, hotels, shopping malls and parking garages that are vulnerable, said Positive.

At the center of Positive’s disclosure is Schneider’s EVLink Parking electric charging stations, one of several charging products that Schneider sells, and primarily marketed to apartment complexes, private parking area, offices and municipalities. These charging stations are, like others, designed for all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles — including Teslas, which have their own proprietary connector.

Because the EVLink Parking station can be connected to Schneider’s cloud with internet connectivity, either over a cell or a broadband connection, Positive said that the web-based user interface on the charging unit can be remotely accessed by anyone and easily send commands to the charging station — even while it’s in use.

“A hacker can stop the charging process, switch the device to the reservation mode, which would render it inaccessible to any customer until reservation mode is turned off, and even unlock the cable during the charging by manipulating the socket locking hatch, meaning attackers could walk away with the cable,” said Positive.

“For electric car drivers, this means not being able to use their vehicles since they cannot be charged,” it said.

Positive didn’t say what the since-removed password was, but, given the curiosity, we asked and will update when we hear back.

The researchers Vladimir Kononovich and Vyacheslav Moskvin also found two other bugs that gives an attacker full access over a device — a code injection flaw and an SQL injection vulnerability. Both were fixed in the same software update.

Schneider did not respond to a request for comment. If that changes, we’ll update.

Additional reporting: Kirsten Korosec.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Ford cars are getting a new ‘voice-controlled co-driver’ thanks to Sygic

Ford vehicles equipped with the automaker’s SYNC 3 infotainment system will soon have access to a new voice-powered driving assistant behind the wheel – Sygic’s new aptly named “Driving Assistant.” The feature, which works with Sygic’s GPS navigation app, is described as a “voice-controlled co-driver that helps the driver identify nearby rest-stops, restaurants, hotels” and more. It’s accessible via a tap of an actual physical button on the steering wheel, and works in 24 languages, speaking out results to help keep driver eyes on the road.

Sygic’s mobile navigation app already works with Ford’s SYNC 3 AppLink feature, which essentially projects an app’s contents from your mobile screen to the in-car infotainment display. But the Driving Assistant is a new add-on for Ford vehicles specifically for now that lets you do things like ask for traffic info, parking advice, gas prices, specific destination locations or even route changes while driving with verbal commands.

If it sounds like an Alexa specifically built for the car, that seems to be what it’s intending. Other companies have actually brought Alexa to vehicles (including, in fact, Ford) but the Amazon voice companion is very specifically bound to the home, and it’s feature set is not at all directly connected to the experience of driving a car on the road. Garmin’s Alexa-powered in-car gadget uses the voice assistant and its own skill to provide navigation, but Sygic’s offering is only about getting you from point A to point B, so its purpose-built nature could be an advantage here.

A lot of drivers would likely still rather rely on their own native Maps apps and navigation services, which is why we continue to see Android Auto and CarPlay roll out to more vehicles, but if done well, a dedicated voice companion seems like a logical thing to employ while driving in order to minimize distraction and still get where you need to go, when you need to get there.

Android – TechCrunch

Essential Phone is the best deal in smartphones thanks to camera updates

 The Essential Phone has come a long way since launch in one key area: Photography. When it first hit the market a few months ago, the camera had a nasty tendency to crash and was a bit slow to load and process photos. But Essential has stayed true to its promise of delivering frequent and effective Camera app updates, and the result is a smartphone total package that is easily the best value… Read More
Android – TechCrunch