Broadcom WiFi Chipset Vulnerability

Broadcom WiFi Chipset

[ Ars Technica ] Dan Goodin:

The vulnerability resides in a widely used Wi-Fi chipset manufactured by Broadcom and used in both iOS and Android devices. Apple patched the vulnerability with Monday’s release of iOS 10.3.1. “An attacker within range may be able to execute arbitrary code on the Wi-Fi chip,” Apple’s accompanying advisory warned. In a highly detailed blog post published Tuesday, the Google Project Zero researcher who discovered the flaw said it allowed the execution of malicious code on a fully updated 6P “by Wi-Fi proximity alone, requiring no user interaction.”

Gal Beniamini developed the exploit. Google is working on a patch, but the patch will take some time, and some smartphones — even fairly new ones — will at times never get patched. Allowing smartphone brands such as HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, etc. to push their own versions of Android becomes an Achilles’s Heel when a security patch needs to be distributed quickly and to all affected Android smartphones. As a precaution turn off WiFi connectivity in public locations; it may not be safe enough not to connect to unverified WiFi signals.

If you’re an iPhone (iPhone 5 and newer) user, patch your iPhone. iPhone 4s and older iPhone users: I’d recommend upgrading to an iPhone SE, the most affordable new iPhone Apple is currently selling.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony claims the Xperia XZ Premium is the world’s first smartphone with a 4K HDR display. 4K on a 5.5-inch display is technically impressive, but there might be a large negative impact on battery life. HDR? True HDR requires a display with an LED-backlit BLU (the more LEDs the better), or that it be an OLED display. Does the Xperia XZ Premium have an LED-backlit display? Most likely not; the BLU like almost all other non-OLED smartphones is edge-lit. Is it OLED? No. I might be wrong, but the HDR in this case is probably software based.

The overall industrial design of the Xperia XZ Premium is to my liking: a simple but consistent rectangular shape with diamond cut chamfered edges. The only area that needs a bit of improvement is the forehead and the lip; they are too thick. On the other hand I don’t like it too thin because in order to hold it firmly our fingers need some space. I would have forgiven the thick lip if physical or capacitive back, home, and apps buttons were located there, but no they are on the display taking up valuable pixel space. Oh, there is one more niggle: although the camera bump is not as large as the ones found on recent iPhones it’s still there. A camera-bump-less design is a more beautiful design.

Source: Sony

Japan Display Inc. Full Active Flex Bendable LCD

Japan Display Inc. Full Active Flex Bendable LCD

Japan Display Inc. or JDI is one of the few display manufacturers who supply smartphone displays to Apple. JDI also has the world’s largest production capacity of LTPS (Low Temperature Poly-Silicon) LCDs, an important fact considering LTPS is required if multitouch performance is important.

JDI announced a 5.5-inch LCD that’s bendable. JDI is calling the technology FULL ACTIVE FLEX. Bendable displays have up until now been limited to OLED technology. OLED is still more bendable than JDI’s bendable LCD, but JDI’s LCD bends enough that it could work as the curved display in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Bendable LCDs have the potential to be considerably more affordable than OLED because of the vast manufacturing infrastructure; the LCD industry will need to transition from glass substrates to plastic substrates for that to happen though.

Technical Specifications:

  • Display: 5.5-inch IPS-NEO LCD with Plastic Substrates
  • Pixel Format: 1920×1080 RGB
  • Resolution: 401 ppi
  • Driving Frequency: 60Hz, 30Hz, 15Hz
  • Brightness: 500 cd/m2 (typical)
  • Contrast Ratio: 1500:1 (typical)

LCD is liquid crystals sandwiched by two glass substrates. Although Corning has come out with bendable glass (Willow Glass), JDI replaced glass with plastic. Plastic bends, of course, but it is also more resistant to cracking and shattering than glass.

Apple, Samsung, and others who make smartphones use an extra layer of cover glass to protect the display underneath. The use of a cover glass like Corning’s Gorilla Glass protects the display and at times can add to a more seamless design, but it makes the smartphone thicker and more expensive. I like the idea of durable, bendable plastic LCDs not needing an extra layer of protection.

JDI plans to enter mass manufacturing in 2018.

Source: Japan Display Inc.