Huawei overtakes Apple as world’s second-largest smartphone seller

Huawei sold about 54 million smartphones last quarter, achieving a record-high global market share of 15.8 percent.

The Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has for the first time surpassed Apple in quarterly sales, making it the world’s second-largest seller behind Samsung.

Huawei sold about 54 million smartphones last quarter, up more than 40 percent from the same period last year. The Chinese company is the top smartphone seller in its home country, and last quarter it achieved a record-high global market share of 15.8 percent.

That’s not to say Apple is underperforming. The California-based company just saw its highest-ever third-quarter revenue at $53.3 billion, and it reported a 32 percent jump in profit from 2017.

In the third quarter, Apple sold 41 million units. Meanwhile, Samsung, which has long been the world’s top smartphone seller, sold 71.5 million units—a decrease of about 10 percent from last year, according to the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

“The continued growth of Huawei is impressive, to say the least, as is its ability to move into markets where, until recently, the brand was largely unknown,” Ryan Reith, an IDC vice president, said in an accompanying statement. “For most markets, the ultra-high end ($700+) competition is largely some combination of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, depending on the geography, and this is unlikely to change much in the short term.”

Never heard of Huawei? That’s probably fine with the U.S. government, which has for years been warning that the Chinese company poses national security threats and could potentially use its infrastructure to “gain positions of power inside our telecommunications network.”

In 2012, a House Intelligence Committee report outlined concerns about Huawei’s ties to the Chinese military, its unclear business structure and its failure to answer other “key questions” U.S. officials had posed to company leadership.

These concerns have prompted the U.S. government to successfully pressure American companies like AT&T and Verizon not to carry Huawei smartphones, such as the P20 and Mate 10 Pro, both high-end smartphones that sell in the $600 to $800 range.

Huawei Mate10 Pro (left) and P20 (right) (Source: YouTube)

“The problems that Huawei is having with the U.S. government are unlikely to blow over anytime soon,” Avi Greengart, an analyst at Global Data, told CNET in March. “Without carrier or even big-box retail distribution, it is basically impossible to sell premium smartphones in the U.S., and the political pressure to keep Huawei phones [out] is clearly rising as the U.S. and China edge toward a trade war.”

The rest of the world is less wary, however, considering Huawei has built relationships with carriers and corporations in more than 170 countries.

“We have earned the trust of our partners across the global value chain,” said a spokesman.


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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)

In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.

Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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