Tuesday, 2 January 2018

meitu worlds collide with added HoneyCC, meipai and a few quiet hacks


We had our little get-together at the end of 2017 and even took some photos. We were rank amateurs compared with the full-on selfie generation, we even had someone extra holding the phone to take some of the pictures.

At least it was on an iPhone X, so we could claim to be up-to-date. Or were we? We Brits don't get the same exposure to technology as some parts of the world. Back before the iPhone 6 came out, I ordered a GooPhone from China, for about $50. It was a functional iPhone 6 body clone, running on Android re-skinned to look like iOS. And it was before Apple released the real thing.

Of course, I only did it for entertainment, although the now several years old phone does still work and even has a PAYG simm inside and a proper phone number. The headphones were rubbish, but the iPhone compatible charger and cables would have cost about as much as the phone if bought in an Apple store.

Anyway, back to our little 'do' with our Chinese contingent present. We briefly talked about the latest Chinese gadgetry, which nowadays decides into 'proper' and 'knock-off'. In the proper category are those Meitu phones, which seem to be a big deal in Shanghai. They are the ones designed to take selfies and have a whole raft of facilities to make the subject of the photo look good. The picture below shows one of the latest sought-after phone models, clearly aimed at a specific market.


The selfie stick is an integral part of the design and can be wielded like a kind of sword for maximum effect.

Protocol says that a combined selfie (ie a +1) should only be released to the world after extensive editing to make everything look wonderful. It's become a mini industry in its own right and the latest Chinese phones include both super duper lenses and also photo editing software to help the whole process. A leading proponent of the cause is HoneyCC, who is as well-known in China as, say, Lady Gaga. That's her at the top of this post, at the Mercedes Showroom in Shanghai for the 2017 Victoria's Secrets show. Note the glamour glow, catchlights, bokeh and skin-toning.

But here we are with the aspirational part of the Chinese economy. The fuerdai trust funders. Rural China might pull in $1.2K over year. A factory worker in a big city could earn around $3k-4k and an office worker around $5k. Then there's the enormous gap to the well-heeled who can buy the German cars, French perfumes and the fancy phones.

Some of it might be the 'wild east'. There's all kind of nefarious hacks in the coding of this photo software. Blend the GPS co-ordinates, take a riffle through the user browser history, some recent shopping locations, maybe? It could all be fair game, like those hidden browser hacks that probe stored password libraries to see which things you might use or own.

It reminds me. I'll need to stay off the candy for 2018.

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