Andrew Orlowski

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Volterman 'super wallet': The worst crowdsource video pitch of all time?

Do you need a "smart" wallet with a built in front-facing camera and GPS? Of course you don't. Not even with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot? Well, enough people do to make a success of an Indiegogo project promising just that. The Volterman "smart wallet" has smashed its target of a relatively meagre $45,000 by 1,145 per cent, …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2017
A tortoise catches an orange frisbee. Photo by Shutterstock

This is why old Windows Phones won't run PC apps

Thanks to Qualcomm, x86 support is coming to Windows 10 ARM phones and tablets - but not to older Lumia devices. In a webcast, Joe Belfiore, these days the corporate VP in the OS Group at Microsoft, has explained why. Belfiore positioned the x86-on-ARM initiative as extending Windows 10 to hardware with a better battery life …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2017

Feature snatcher Microsoft tweaks OneDrive

Neither Apple nor Microsoft has a great history with their cloud graveyards consumer cloud file systems, tripping up users with frequent strategy lurches and abandoning features over the years. Microsoft made small amends this week: by adding, rather than taking away, a feature from OneDrive. OneDrive is the cloud file system …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2017
Robot on road photo via Shutterstock

House of Lords to probe AI data slurping

How technology giants own and use your data will be a focus for our noble and learned friends on the new House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence. The Parliamentary committee yesterday announced the UK's first public inquiry "to consider the economic, ethical and social implications of advances in artificial …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2017

Reborn Nokia phones biz loses its head

The boss of HMD Global, the company reviving Nokia-branded phones, quit unexpectedly today. In a terse statement, the company said the departure of CEO Arto Nummela was “by mutual arrangement”. But it’s clear the Board didn’t have a replacement lined up: HMD President Florian Seiche takes over as acting CEO. Seiche is the …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jul 2017

Tapping the Bank of Mum and Dad: Why your Netflix subscription is poised to rise (again)

Analysis If Silicon Valley still does one thing better than anybody else, it's propping up profitless corporations, just like the Bank of Mum and Dad. Gulf states pour money into Premier League teams, but not on anything like the scale of Uber and Netflix, two examples of capital-swallowing money pits. On Monday, Netflix warned …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jul 2017
Man with bun sucks on vape. Photo by shutterstock

UK government's war on e-cigs is over

Comment The government has said that the persecution of the users of e-cigarette technology should stop. The Department of Health today outlined a Five Year Tobacco Control plan for England with the goal that the proportion of the population who smoke tobacco products should fall to 12 per cent by 2022, down from 15.5 per cent today. …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jul 2017

Android-ocalypse postponed: Jide withdraws Remix OS from consumer frontline

So Remix OS won’t be “eating the world” after all. Parent company Jide, founded by ex-Googlers, is repositioning itself as an enterprise vendor, and says its Android-for-PCs (which also runs on cheap ARM hardware) will no longer be sold to consumers any more. Jide is also scuppering its hardware fleet. Kickstarter investors …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jul 2017
Robot talks unto robot photo via Shutterstock

Brit neural net pioneer just revolutionised speech recognition all over again

Profile One of the pioneers of making what's called "machine learning" work in the real world is on the comeback trail. At Cambridge University's Computer Science department in the 1990s, Dr Tony Robinson taught a generation of students who subsequently turned the Fens into the world speech recognition centre. (Microsoft, Amazon and …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2017

Sleuths unearth 'Panic Mode' in Android, set off by mashing back button

The phone sleuths at XDA-Developers have unearthed a handy undocumented feature in the latest version of Android. Phones running Nougat 7.1.1 are able to invoke a "panic button" by pressing the back key four times. It's in the AOSP source code for the Android Window Manager. Panic mode returns the user to the home screen, …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jul 2017

Academics 'funded by Google' tend not to mention it in their work

A network of academics on Google's payroll just so happens to churn out "independent research" friendly to their sugar daddy's corporate goals. But two-thirds of the time you wouldn't know it, according to the Campaign for Accountability. An ongoing campaign by the non-profit, called the Google Transparency Project (GTP), …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jul 2017

When 'Saving The Internet' means 'Saving Crony Capitalism'

Comment Entering the BBC today to talk about the net neutrality protests “supported by Amazon and Netflix and others”, I had a dilemma. How in three minutes can you give viewers worldwide a perspective which conveys that the motivations are valid – American fixed-line broadband is pretty rubbish – but what we were witnessing was the …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2017
BlackBerry KeyONE Android smartphone

BlackBerry taking action to fix 'pop-out' screen – namely more glue

BlackBerry Mobile reps have confirmed the manufacturing process for its KEYone flagship will be tweaked so the display doesn't pop out so easily. In June, the torture-testing YouTube channel JerryRigEverything found that the display popped out when the phone was being bent, with relatively little pressure. "Most other screens …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2017
Puppy and bone, image via Shutterstock

European Parliament keen to throw news publishers a bone

Newspapers in Europe are closer to winning the right to ask Google and Facebook to remove or pay for the news story snippets they scrape for their free services – although there's nothing compelling Google (or anyone else) to actually do anything. The furore over "fake news" last year has helped sway MEPs. Put simply, the new …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2017

The great phone squeeze wheeze: Getting squidgy with HTC's U11

Review Thank goodness HTC is still with us, for I haven’t enjoyed using an Android more all year than its flagship U11. This was a surprise. But I used one for three weeks as a primary phone, and this is what I found. From the front the U11 boasts a fairly generic, staid design that doesn’t hint at its two gimmicks. If “this year’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jul 2017
shutterstock_dad_computer

OMG, dad, you're so embarrassing! Are you P2P file sharing again?

Fathers can now add "file sharing" to the list of things they do to embarrass their teenage children - alongside dancing badly in public. P2P file sharing, which peaked over a decade ago, is now the preserve of middle-aged and older internet users. Research from two separate studies (by Kantar and INCOPRO) for UK Music and the …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jul 2017

'President Zuck' fundraiser opens for business

A fundraising vehicle to help get the world's fifth richest man Mark Zuckerberg elected as President of the United States will now take your money. The Super Political Action Committee (PAC) is called (inevitably) 'Disrupt for America' and describes itself as "a progressive advocacy group focused on pragmatic, grassroots …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Ouch! Latest Qualcomm sueball comes from ... its own shareholders

Qualcomm's own shareholders have added to the barrage of lawsuits being fired at the mobile chip giant. The latest salvo puts the company's management in the crosshairs - blaming it for hardball tactics which subsequently attracted antitrust suits. In January, the FTC filed a complaint (pdf) alleging that Qualcomm had abused …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017

El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2

Real World Test Back when Captain Scarlet was still fresh, in the 1970s, I wanted a watch that made phone calls. I think I might have drawn one on my arm with a Biro. This has been a sci-fi staple since Dick Tracy in the 1950s. Now I’ve got one, I wonder why I ever wanted it. After using Huawei’s Watch 2 every day for over three weeks, I …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017

EU pegs quota for 'homegrown' content on Netflix at 30 per cent

The European Parliament has set content quotas for OTT video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime even higher than the Commission originally wanted. 30 per cent of the services' catalog must be European works, Parliament has decreed. The Commission asked for a 20 per cent quota. Some member states already operate a quota, …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2017

Nokia's retro revival 3310 goes on sale and disappears immediately

If you blinked, you missed it. Nokia's "new" 3310 went on sale on 24 May, 17 years after the original, and was promptly cleared out. The retro-styled 2G handset has created extraordinary demand, something Nokia is struggling to fulfil. "We have been working with our partners and can confirm the 3310 will be available again …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2017
Oracle acrobatics in the cloud

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

Analysis The final lap nears in Oracle's epic seven year battle with Google over Java. It's reached the Federal Appeals Circuit, where Oracle is confident that three appeals judges with a strong track record of upholding IP will decide in its favour. In many ways, it's a surprise that Big Red didn't win ages ago, with the two warring …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2017

Google now mingles everything you've bought with everywhere you've been

In a move with echoes of the fictional internet giant described in Dave Eggers' The Circle, Google's has begun trawling through billions of personal credit card records, matching them to your browser, location and advertising histories. In The Circle, the eponymous company achieves birth-to-death information dominance, or " …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 May 2017
Fuel pump

AI-powered dynamic pricing turns its gaze to the fuel pumps

Analysis "AI" could soon be making petrol more expensive at times of peak demand like the start of a bank holiday weekend or the school run. Danish data analytics company a2i touts fuel pricing as an ideal implementation of its learning algorithms. The company claims that PriceCast Fuel, its dynamic pricing product, can improve fuel …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 May 2017

It's just 'Pro' now, guys: Microsoft gives Surface a subtle resurfacing

Microsoft has revamped its Surface tablet, which at last includes a SIM card slot. The 2017 iteration of the boutique but highly profitable fondleslab loses the numbering – it's now just a "Surface Pro". Cosmetically there's little difference: the tablet retains the 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI) display and 786g weight (for the i5 and …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 May 2017

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