The phone features a Snapdragon 662 chipset and a triple-camera setup on the back with a 48MP main sensor.
It has been priced at ₹11,499 ($154) in India.
Motorola today quietly unveiled the Moto G9 in India, its first phone under the Moto G9 series. The phone succeeds the Moto G8, which was launched in March this year.
The Moto G9 sports a 6.5-inch HD+ resolution display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a waterdrop notch at the top, housing an 8MP selfie camera. Powering the budget-friendly smartphone is an 11nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chipset, which has been paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage.
It has a triple-camera setup on the back with a 48MP main sensor, a 2MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. Keeping the lights on is a large 5,000mAh battery with 20W fast charging. The phone also comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, a USB Type-C port, NFC, and a water repellent coating. Like Motorola’s other recent phones, the Moto G9 offers a dedicated Google Assistant button as well. On the software front, the Moto G9 runs Android 10 out of the box.
Motorola has priced the Moto G9 at ₹11,499 ($154) in India, putting it head-to-head with the Redmi Note 9. The phone will be going on sale in the country starting August 31 from Flipkart. As for color options, the Moto G9 will be offered in Sapphire Blue and Forest Green.
A billion or more Android devices are vulnerable to hacks that can turn them into spying tools by exploiting more than 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, researchers reported this week.
The vulnerabilities can be exploited when a target downloads a video or other content that’s rendered by the chip. Targets can also be attacked by installing malicious apps that require no permissions at all.
From there, attackers can monitor locations and listen to nearby audio in real time and exfiltrate photos and videos. Exploits also make it possible to render the phone completely unresponsive. Infections can be hidden from the operating system in a way that makes disinfecting difficult.
Snapdragon is what’s known as a system on a chip that provides a host of components, such as a CPU and a graphics processor. One of the functions, known as digital signal processing, or DSP, tackles a variety of tasks, including charging abilities and video, audio, augmented reality, and other multimedia functions. Phone makers can also use DSPs to run dedicated apps that enable custom features.
New attack surface
“While DSP chips provide a relatively economical solution that allows mobile phones to provide end users with more functionality and enable innovative features—they do come with a cost,” researchers from security firm Check Point wrote in a brief report of the vulnerabilities they discovered. “These chips introduce new attack surface and weak points to these mobile devices. DSP chips are much more vulnerable to risks as they are being managed as ‘Black Boxes’ since it can be very complex for anyone other than their manufacturer to review their design, functionality or code.”
Qualcomm has released a fix for the flaws, but so far it hasn’t been incorporated into the Android OS or any Android device that uses Snapdragon, Check Point said. When I asked when Google might add the Qualcomm patches, a company spokesman said to check with Qualcomm. The chipmaker didn’t respond to an email asking.
Check Point is withholding technical details about the vulnerabilities and how they can be exploited until fixes make their way into end-user devices. Check Point has dubbed the vulnerabilities Achilles. The more than 400 distinct bugs are tracked as CVE-2020-11201, CVE-2020-11202, CVE-2020-11206, CVE-2020-11207, CVE-2020-11208 and CVE-2020-11209.
In a statement, Qualcomm officials said: “Regarding the Qualcomm Compute DSP vulnerability disclosed by Check Point, we worked diligently to validate the issue and make appropriate mitigations available to OEMs. We have no evidence it is currently being exploited. We encourage end users to update their devices as patches become available and to only install applications from trusted locations such as the Google Play Store.”
Check Point said that Snapdragon is included in about 40 percent of phones worldwide. With an estimated 3 billion Android devices, that amounts to more than a billion phones. In the US market, Snapdragons are embedded in around 90 percent of devices.
There’s not much helpful guidance to provide users for protecting themselves against these exploits. Downloading apps only from Play can help, but Google’s track record of vetting apps shows that advice has limited efficacy. There’s also no way to effectively identify boobytrapped multimedia content.
Qualcomm is announcing its midcycle chip upgrade today: the Snapdragon 865 Plus. Like always, these “Plus” chips are higher-clocked versions of the major designs that were released earlier in the year, but new for the 865 Plus specifically is Wi-Fi 6E compatibility.
First, the speed increases: Qualcomm is promising a 10-percent faster CPU and GPU, thanks to faster clock rates. The CPU is officially up to 3.1Ghz now, and since the GPU on the Snapdragon 865 runs at 600MHz, the Plus version should be up around 660MHz.
The big news, though, is the addition of Qualcomm’s “FastConnect 6900” connectivity chip, which, along with peak speeds of up to 3.6 Gbps, will bring Wi-Fi 6E to smartphones. Currently, Wi-Fi works in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, but 6E will extend Wi-Fi into the 6GHz spectrum. Theoretical top speeds won’t increase, but the extra spectrum will help Wi-Fi work better in crowded areas. You can only fit so many bits into the current 2.4GHz and 5GHz airways, and if you and all your neighbors are filling the airwaves and causing a traffic jam, everyone will have to slow down. Six gigahertz Wi-Fi will add more lanes for traffic.
In the United States, Wi-Fi 6E will actually support a lot more lanes of traffic. The FCC allocated 70MHz of total spectrum for 2.4GHz and 500MHz of spectrum for 5GHz Wi-Fi. The new 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E is approved for an additional 1.2GHz of spectrum, so in total, Wi-Fi 6E users will have access to three times the available spectrum that exists today. Users who upgrade to 6E will have much more spectrum, and users who don’t upgrade will face less competition for the older 2.4 and 5GHz spectrum.
You need a new Wi-Fi 6E access point and a Wi-Fi 6E device in order to use Wi-Fi 6E. In the US, the new standard was only ratified by the FCC in April, so there are no consumer 6E access points yet. We’ve got to start somewhere, though, and it looks like smartphones will make the jump first. Qualcomm’s press release mentions that one of the first phones to launch with the Snapdragon 865 Plus (and presumably Wi-Fi 6E) will be the Asus ROG Phone 3, which will be unveiled July 22.