Andrew Orlowski

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Plan b, image via Shutterstock

Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Analysis The reality of red tape might mean the UK’s exit from the EU will take longer, and be softer, than the Prime Minister outlined today. Theresa May ruled out “partial” membership of the EU in a bullish speech today. The UK would conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) within the two years permitted by the Article 50 process, she …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jan 2017

Phoney McPhoneface: The thrilling tale of ZTE's crowdsourced mobe

Engineers and designers hate committee-led engineering and design, hence the proverbial joke about the camel. And ZTE's effort to allow passing strangers to design and brand a new mobile device perhaps illustrates why. In August, ZTE announced Project CSX, allowing "the community" to build a new product. The Chinese giant …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jan 2017
The Samsung head office building in Suwon city, South Korea. Editorial credit: Chokchai Suksatavonraphan / Shutterstock, Inc.

S Korea prosecutors seek arrest warrant for Samsung heir apparent

Samsung's been pulled deeper into "Choi-gate" – the scandal surrounding the South Korean president. Prosecutors in the country today applied for an arrest warrant for Samsung's de facto boss, Lee Jae-yong. The scandal revolves around impeached President Park Geun-hye's informal advisor Choi Soon-sil, whose father, Choi Tae-min …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2017

Father of Android II: A Hardware Comeback

The "Father of Android" Andy Rubin is plotting a return to hardware – and he could beat Google's own Android successor Andromeda to market. According to Bloomberg, Rubin, who left Google in 2013, has hired former Android engineers for his new venture Essential, with the idea that a "high-end" smartphone will act as a kind of …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2017

EU wants power to fine behavioural data bad boys and the ad men aren't happy

The EU has proposed only incremental changes to data protection law in Europe, but their significance lies in a new ability to fine digital services – including the giant platforms – for privacy breaches. The law covers the consent users give to the acquisition and processing of behavioural data. This is considered valuable by …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jan 2017

BBC surrenders 'linear' exclusivity to compete with binge-watch Netflix

The BBC is abandoning linear exclusivity as it goes for broke to make the iPlayer a global Netflix rival. The corporation says it will throw entire series on to the on-demand streaming service before the first episode in a series is even broadcast on terrestrial TV. Director-General Tony Hall will call for the BBC to "reinvent …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jan 2017
Cookie Monster

EU tosses Europe's cookies... popups

The EU’s most famous contribution to the internet era could be snuffed out soon, and few will mourn it. As expected, Brussels will no longer mandate that websites receive the user’s consent for placing cookies on their device. Scrapping the consent form is one of the options floated in the European Commission new public …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2017

How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism

iPhone at 10 Apple's iPhone wasn't just a shiny new thing that was irritatingly and madly overhyped. Before long, it shattered a benevolent kind of crony capitalism in which Europeans took great pride, but that was short-serving the public. And it needed an outsider to do this. Ten years ago, Europe could be excused for feeling a little …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2017
Doctor Who, Season 9, Episode 1 – The Magician's Apprentice. Pic credit: BBC

Snapchat chooses London for international headquarters

The company behind teen sexting phenomenon Snapchat has chosen London for its international HQ. The Snap Group already has 75 staff here. The company cited proximity to the UK’s world-class creative sector, which in this context means digital adland. The ephemeral nature of Snapchat, which deletes photos after a short time …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2017

The wait is over ... Nokia's BACK!

Anyone looking for the much-anticipated “New Nokia” to make a splashy comeback might have to wait a little longer. HMD gave a very low key launch to the new phone, the first Nokia-branded smartphones for two years*, at the weekend. The new device was announced in the Chinese language only, on a Sunday morning. It’s more a …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jan 2017
Woman uses headphones with her iPhone. Photo by Shutterstock

Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

iPhone at 10 You've heard of "Fake News" – but how does Fake History gradually supersede the reality-based version? It's through repetition, and Christmas found the BBC busy doing some scrubbing. The proposition it set about is simple: Apple didn't really invent the iPhone. From Oxford, inventor and engineer Andrew Fentem writes to take …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jan 2017

Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

Mockups of Microsoft's "Project Neon" redesign have been leaked – we're sure by accident. Neon, as we reported last year, is an attempt to steer Windows away from the "flat" look that has dominated UX design in recent years, and make the system friendly for augmented or mixed-reality users. In the mockups, Aero-style …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jan 2017

TCL vows to keep BlackBerry alive

At least one manufacturer thinks a business-focused Android has prospects in 2017. Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL allowed journalists to fondle the next BlackBerry at CES this week, under strict conditions. The device wasn't given a name or release date, and no specifications were released. That must wait for a formal …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jan 2017
Robot AI Woman

‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016's fake news

“Fake news” vexed the media classes greatly in 2016, but the tech world perfected the art long ago. With “the internet” no longer a credible vehicle for Silicon Valley’s wild fantasies and intellectual bullying of other industries – the internet clearly isn’t working for people – “AI” has taken its place. Almost everything you …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jan 2017

Folders return to Windows 10's Start Thing

Because it’s not complicated enough already, Windows 10’s Start menu will support folders in a forthcoming release. The Windows 10 Redstone 2 release, also dubbed the “Creators Update”, will allow apps to be nested, much as with Windows Phone 8, and the mobile edition of Windows 10. The update is expected around April, and …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2016

The Register's Top 20 Most-Commented Stories in 2016

Brexit and Windows 10 stories dominated reader discussions in 2016. It’s no surprise that the departure from the European Union of its second biggest economy should be a major talking point. It was the biggest political shock in the UK since 1945, few UK readers are unaffected, and it most likely terminates a political project …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2016

El Reg just saved your Wikipedia Xmas

If you’ve noticed that Wikipedia has been much less annoying this Christmas – you can thank El Reg. Jimmy Wales had promised that the alarmist banner ads that adorned each page during the Wikimedia Foundation’s ‘December Sprint’ fundraiser would no longer be needed once the target of $25m had been met. The Sprint achieved that …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2016

How Google.org stole the Christmas Spirit

Special Report The dictionary defines charity as unselfish acts that benefit other people. Google boasts that it does a great deal for charity. So how come the biggest beneficiary of Google’s charity seems to be Google itself? Google.org is the charitable arm of the giant multinational, founded 11 years ago. It dispenses $100m in the form of …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Dec 2016

Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

Silicon Valley’s desire to open up the software that controls heavy vehicles has come under criticism from industry experts. This week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) renewed its call for the legal protection that manufacturers use to safeguard automotive software to be relaxed. For three years, farm machinery maker …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Dec 2016

Smartphones crashed, Samsung burned: Mobile in 2016

End-of-Year Round Up The mobile landscape this year was dominated by an air war of far greater importance taking place over the players’ heads. Giant telcos went shopping for giant media companies, while Silicon Valley continued to work to destroy the value of both pipes and content, mostly by trying to queer the regulatory pitch. Down below, back …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Dec 2016

BlackBerry sees a rainbow just around a corner

BlackBerry, finally able to describe itself as a “a software company and the market leader in mobile security”, posted a $117m GAAP net loss on revenue of $289m today. But sunnier times are ahead, CEO John Chen told investors. The company expects to achieve non GAAP profitability for the full financial year (which ends …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2016

Zuckerberg turns his home into Creepy Robot Buddy

Guess what task the goal-driven nerd billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, the world’s fifth richest man, set himself this year. Solving the Kashmir crisis? Eradicating polio? Choosing and solving one of the problems in the Millennium Prize? Don’t be daft. He’s turned his house into a robot buddy. “My personal challenge for 2016 was …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2016

Itchy-fingered OnePlus presses refresh, out pops value champ 3T

Hands-on It may seem reckless for a manufacturer to replace its flagship after only five months with one that’s more expensive, but few buyers of the new OnePlus 3T will care very much. At £399, this phone scoops the prize for the best value top-end Android. And it’s even more ludicrously good value at £429 for a 128GB model. Consider …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2016
Cookie Monster

Brussels cunning plan to save the EU: No more Cookie Popups

Beleaguered Brussels bureaucrats have come up with a cunning plan to make us love the European Union again. They might relax the world’s most hated internet regulation. Directive 2009/136/EC, also known as the "Cookie Directive" has obliged websites hosted in member states to pester users with a popup if the site uses cookies …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Dec 2016

Jimbo Welshes on pledge to stop fundraising

The Wikimedia Foundation won’t honour a promise made by Jimmy Wales to halt its aggressive fundraising drive, even though it reached its fundraising target last week. The ‘December Sprint’ is the WMF’s big annual fundraiser, and this year the foundation set a target of $25m. (The site costs $2m to run). On December 2nd, Wales …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Dec 2016