Andrew Orlowski

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Android on Windows is disruptive because neither Microsoft nor Google can stop it

Welcome to the DMZ where the world’s two most ubiquitous operating systems meet and eye each other warily. It’s a place where the future platform battles are being shaped. Microsoft may have sidelined its effort to allow Android apps to run unmodified on Windows 10. But Windows users have been able to do this on PCs for over a …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Nov 2015

Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

“Anonymity is like virginity. You don't get it back once you've lost it,” writes one Register reader on Microsoft’s latest raid on your privacy. Microsoft pulled a major update for Windows after it blew away the user's privacy settings, allowing app developers and advertisers to glean the user’s identity. But that’s only part …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Nov 2015

Microsoft Windows: The Next 30 Years

Analysis Windows anniversaries are a bit like Halloween. You can bring out a Vista or Windows Me to scare the children into bed on time. Microsoft Windows turned 30 this month, and blogs are full of nostalgia. (Here's our Fright Night – we dare you to click.) But what will the next 30 years look like? Is the last 30 years of Windows a …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Nov 2015

Grow up, judge tells EFF: You’re worse than a complaining child

A district judge last week denied two activist groups the chance to file a supporting motion in a copyright case. In a stinging and derisive rejoinder, he compared their complaints to those of a spoilt boy. His boy. It’s part of a court case that stateside ISPs and rights-holders are watching with keen interest. Cox …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Nov 2015

'Hypocritical' Europe is just as bad as the USA for data protection

Europe is being hypocritical by derailing the Safe Harbour data protection agreement - because its own protections for citizens against indiscriminate surveillance are worse than the USA’s. That’s the view of one expert on international data protection law at a meeting held by European competition group iComp today. Dr Ian …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Nov 2015

We chew over CCS Insight's look into the fu-ture-ture-ture-ture

Analyst outfit CCS Insight's annual crystal ball gazing exercise is always informative and occasionally uncanny, such as when it predicted Three would buy O2, and BT would respond by snapping up EE. This year's predictions are out and full of interesting bits and bobs. For example, you probably knew people are abandoning …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Nov 2015
A daisy

Half the staff go gardening at the now not-so-jolly Jolla

Finnish phone company Jolla has confirmed it has put half of its 100-odd staff on gardening leave, after hitting financial problems. Jolla was founded in 2012 by former Nokians who took on the abandoned (and slightly fire damaged) platform MeeGo, along with a lot of Finnish state aid and Nokia cash. The idea was to take the …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2015

Ofcom asks: Do kids believe anything they read on the internet?

Ofcom’s annual survey of digital literacy amongst children reveals strong support from parents for tools to limit or block net access - and some gullibility amongst children. While Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to make network filters compulsory – irritating compulsive onanists across the UK. But the evidence suggests …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2015
Broken record

Rdio's collapse another nail in the coffin of the 'digital economy'

Analysis The “digital music economy” now resembles three bald men fighting over the same hairbrush. It’s hard to think of a better emblem for where the current “plantation era” of internet exploitation has led us than digital music. And it’s hard to imagine a more perfectly shitty outcome for creators, and ultimately for consumers who …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2015
Wileyfox's Storm Android handset

Storm in a teacup: Wileyfox does Android cheapie, British style

Review Wileyfox is the first new British phone brand in over a decade, and it’s hoping to cash in on the Shenzhen economic miracle. Not so long ago, cheap Android phones were synonymous with “Landfill”. There was usually something lacking. But rapid advances in component manufacturing and packaging have seen companies enter the …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Nov 2015

Apple's design 'drives up support costs, makes gadgets harder to use'

Apple's design has fallen from the high standards set by Donald Norman and Bruce Tognazzini, reckon... er, Donald Norman and Bruce Tognazzini. The two UX gurus and former Apple alumni now think "Apple is giving design a bad name". Nothing new, you might think. But because Apple is now so influential, poor design from Cupertino …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Nov 2015
Bell switchboard

Today's Quiz Question: Are there more SIMs than people in the world?

There are now more SIMs than people in the world, with the former surpassing the latter a little earlier this year, or so says mobile network supplier Ericsson, with that particular factoid – and many others – found in its annual Christmas Pudding of traffic stats and forecasts, the 2015 Mobility Report. Ericsson takes a …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2015

Microsoft shelves 'suicidal' Android-on-Windows plan

Analysis Microsoft has sidelined its plan to allow Windows 10 devices to run Android apps before it could do any serious damage, according to a report. Daniel Rubino at the Windows Central blog gathered some convincing evidence that Microsoft's Project Astoria has been wound down, while the runtime allowing the Android-on-Win10 magic …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Nov 2015
Woman slaps man. Pic: Shutterstock

Patent and trademark troll stung for £500k after fake renewal blitz

A scammer who pretended to be Britain’s Intellectual Property Office to demand money from IP holders has been fined half a million pounds. Trading as the “Intellectual Property Agency Ltd (IPA) – uncannily similar to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – Harri Mattias Jonasson blitzed fake patents and trademarks to …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Nov 2015

Microsoft Windows Mobile 10: Uphill battle with 'work in progress'

Review As the first major milestone release of Windows 10 Mobile nears, Microsoft still has much work to do to bring on the system fluency and capabilities of its predecessor, let alone its established mobile rivals. Microsoft customers who have taken advantage of Windows Phone to equip field works with modern mobile applications, …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Nov 2015
Tom Cruise plays with impressive looking giant touchscreen in still from the movie Minority report (based on book by Phillip K DIck))

Facebook brings creepy ’Minority Report’-style ads one step closer

Facebook will nudge the retail industry one step closer to Minority Report-style ads that know who you are, where you are, and blast you with personalized ads that only you can see. We’re still some way from the noir movie vision, but you don’t need to boil a lobster quickly. From Thursday, Facebook will make its users’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Nov 2015

Google-chaired think tank says Google's No.1 for digital rights

Just fancy that! A Washington think tank chaired by Eric Schmidt, Alphabet Inc’s executive chairman, has given Alphabet Inc. an award for "protecting your digital rights”. Schmidt became executive chairman of the New America Foundation, which had built a strong reputation as a non-partisan and imaginative policy think tank, in …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2015
BlackBerry Priv. Press pic

BlackBerry Priv: Enterprise Android in a snazzy but functional package

Review If somebody told you six months ago that the best Android phone of 2015 would have been made by BlackBerry, you’d have thought they were a bit mad. BlackBerry didn’t really make phones any more, and what phones it made were marketed as a secure alternative to the Mad Max badlands of Android. And if anyone had dared suggest …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2015
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch on flickr"

We’ve got a leak of the European Commission's copyright plan

The European Commission has pedalled back from making radical changes to Europe’s copyright regulations, according to a leaked version of its draft Copyright Framework seen by The Register. It’s a draft that isn’t due until 9 December. The Commission rules out creating a new copyright title - “one title to rule them all” - …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Nov 2015

BlackBerry makes Android security patch promises

BlackBerry is touting security and privacy as the new Priv's key differentiators. But wait, isn't it an Android? And isn't that like putting an arsonist in charge of the Fire Brigade? The firm's first Android phone, which begins shipping tomorrow, is a genuine rarity: a phone targeted at enterprises and more technically …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Nov 2015

Opera Jon's sparkling Vivaldi proves the browser isn't dead

The new browser by Opera founder and ex-CEO Jon von Tetzchner is available as a beta today, after ten months in preview. You can grab it for Windows, Mac and Linux – and he’s promised that a mobile version will follow. The pioneering Norwegian company he founded laid off hundreds of browser developers, as it began to focus on …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Nov 2015

Why Europe threw net neutrality slacktivists under a bus

Special Report The EU threw the Net Neutrality slacktivists under the bus this week, not only because it wanted to "draw a line and move on" from the thorny issue, and because it didn't find their arguments convincing. Policy makers had heard empirical evidence – based on neutrality legislation – that "soft rules" work better than "hard" …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Oct 2015

Smartphone boutique OnePlus reveals another model you can’t get

So long as Shenzhen smartphone upstart OnePlus insists on rationing the distribution of its products, it’s going to remain a boutique player. Quite literally. As OnePlus announced its third phone in London today, it added that it would create a pop-up in the Colette boutique concept store in Paris. Where better to show off …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Oct 2015

How to build a totally open computer from the CPU to the desktop

How does one build a completely open-source computer from scratch? Answer: slowly. This week, the pair developing the Novena open laptop have provided an update on their work. The idea is to develop a usable system that is completely open to customization and scrutiny – from the electronics to the firmware to the operating …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2015

Is Alphabet-Google 'too big to jail'? The Lords find out

Europe's examination of Big Tech's dominant platforms – like Alphabet-Google and Amazon – is only just beginning, but Parliament got a teaser of the battles ahead this week, as two antitrust professors sharply disagreed on the merits of the enquiry. Professors David Evans, of UCL, and Ariel Ezrachi, of Oxford University, at …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2015
Unseasonal behaviour: Christmas in July

Xiaomi preps Linux laptops for the post Christmas sales rush

Pumped up by a (claimed) $1bn in profit in 2015, Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi will start selling Linux laptops early next year, according to a report. DigiTimes suggests that two models will be built by contract manufacturers, Inventec and Compal, and feature 12.5 inch and 13.3 inch displays. According to the trade paper, …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2015

Zuk it and see: China’s stealth seduction of Western phone buyers

It sounds like a Facebook tribute, but “Zuk” is one of the more significant smartphone ventures to launch this year. It's another sign that Chinese manufacturers are threatening to leave high-priced big-brand flagships stranded. Given that the mighty Lenovo is behind Zuk, it’s one should probably be on your radar. What the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2015
Microsoft Lumia 640 Windows Phone

SatNad failure as Lumia income drops over 50% at Microsoft

Analysis Despite focusing exclusively on budget phones in 2015, Microsoft's Lumia revenues fell ... a lot. Year-on-year revenue declined 54 per cent in full year Q1 2015. We have to extrapolate the volumes from revenue, but assuming the Average Selling Prices (ASP) and the profit margin remained the same, that translates as shipments …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2015

Android Security: How's BlackBerry going to fix it?

Analysis “Android Security” sounds like an oxymoron, perhaps the biggest since “friendly fire”. So what’s BlackBerry, which has forged a reputation on enterprise security, thinking with the new Priv device? BlackBerry's handset division is promising to create a business-friendly secure 'droid, and it’s recently been explaining just how …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2015
Pebble Time

Pebble smartwatch finds its voice

Pebble has strayed further away from its hobbyist DIY roots, with the release of a new firmware that supports Nuance's voice SDK. The two Pebble watches released so far this year have both incorporated a microphone, but lacked an API to allow Pebble's thriving developer community to take advantage of it. This has just been …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Oct 2015

Google's YouTube Red deal: Sign, or we'll make you disappear

Google says most of its video creators have signed up to new subscription contracts for its pay-to-view YouTube Red service, rather than have their videos pulled from public display at YouTube. YouTube Red is Google's ad-free subscription service, and rolls up both music and video for $9.99 a month. Google Play subscribers …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Oct 2015

Is China dumping smartphones on world+dog?

Analysis We’ve heard much this week about China dumping steel, but less so about China dumping smartphones onto the rest of the world. But the latter accusation is actually far closer to truth. For years, the leading phone brands like Samsung, Sony and HTC have spent huge amounts in the hope of gaining the windfall profits that follow …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Oct 2015

Israel joins EU in spiking Safe Harbour

Menlo Park Road’s VCs at first sniffed at the consequences of the Schrems v Facebook case on Silicon Valley’s global ambitions, but they should seriously be looking at how their investments conduct business. The global Silicon Valley freeze-out continues to spread, with Israel’s data protection authority ILITA declaring …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Oct 2015

Oh, OK then: Ireland will probe Max Schrems' Facebook complaints

Facebook crusader Max Schrems returned to the Irish courts today to hear the nation’s Data Protection Commissioner (the DPC) solemnly promise that yes, it would investigate data flows out of Europe. The court ordered the DPC, which had refused to investigate, to pay Schrems' costs. Four years ago Schrems filed 22 complaints …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Oct 2015

HTC's new One A9 will gulp Android updates days after Nexus mobes

HTC is pinning its comeback on better service, and cuddling up closer to Google. The troubled Taiwanese manufacturer's latest model, the midrange One A9, will come in an "Unlocked Edition," allowing tinkerers to customize the Android operating system without voiding their warranty. And HTC promises the One A9 will get Android …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2015

Deutsche Telekom to file anti-Google EU antitrust charge – report

German telco Deutsche Telekom is to file an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Google, according to the New York Times. The giant owns the T-Mobile networks in Germany and the USA, and has stakes in several others. The complaint will allege, reports the NYT, that restrictive contracts imposed on handset …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2015

BlackBerry opens its Priv kimono just a little wider

BlackBerry's has offered more glimpses of its first Android phone, Priv, and the device's specs have also leaked into public gaze. The Priv is unique in that nobody else is pitching a security-hardened Android at businesses that boasts top-end consumer specs. The device, glimpsed for a few seconds in March, features a slide …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2015

How Chairman Mao's secret military project led to a Nobel Prize

This year’s Nobel Prize award has its roots in Chairman Mao’s secret plan to systematise Chinese medicine. Half of the 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to 83 year old Youyou Tu of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing for her work in counteracting malaria, proving the properties of Chinese herbal …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2015

Windows Mobile 10 nears point of no return

A fresh version of Windows Mobile 10 has wobbled off Redmond's servers, and landed on devices enrolled in the Windows Insider programme. There are no major surprises in Build 10549, which is an incremental update. It remains a mishmash of UI styles and experiments, and rebuilt apps that fall far short of the functionality of …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Oct 2015
Snail photo Jurgen Schoner CC wikimedia

Cheer up: UK mobile networks are perkier than Germany's

The UK's mobile infrastructure is notorious for its hotspots and poor coverage, and we got LTE later than almost everyone else in Europe. But when it works, it actually works better than the Germans'. STL Partners has measured the real world performance of apps and webpages over mobile networks in five European countries. They …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Oct 2015
Max Schrems

No change in US law, no data transfer deals – German state DPA

The data protection authority at the German federal state of Schleswig Holstein has declared that any and all data protection workarounds for the transfer of data to the US after the European Court of Justice's Schrems v Facebook judgment are going to be illegal. In its first declaration on the post-Schrems legal landscape, …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Oct 2015

An Internet of Things music thingy? What, you’ve already got one?

Omnifone and founder Rob Lewis is back with another music venture – this time bundling funky sounds with hardware. The Electric Jukebox service combines a streaming service with two bits of hardware: a Chromecast-style HDMI dongle for your telly, and a motion controller. The initial setup cost is £179 for a year’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Oct 2015

On its way: A Google-free, NSA-free IT infrastructure for Europe

Analysis This really wasn’t in the script. All conquering, “disruptive” Silicon Valley companies were more powerful than any nation state, we were told, and governments and nations would submit to their norms. But now the dam that Max Schrems cracked last week has burst open as European companies seek to nail down local alternatives to …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Oct 2015

Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more

Interview The life of physicist Freeman Dyson spans advising bomber command in World War II; working at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, New Jersey, as a contemporary of Einstein; and providing advice to the US government on a wide range of scientific and technical issues. He is a rare public intellectual who writes …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2015
Rafe Laguna, CEO of open source enterprise software company Open Xchange, addresses the audience. Pic by Andrew Orlowski

Google uses humans as Matrix-style ‘data batteries’ – Open Xchange CEO

OX Summit 2015 If any Americans are in doubt about what European technology business thinks of Silicon Valley’s data-slurping giants, it wouldn’t take them long to find out from a gathering in Berlin of European companies who look after personal data. The audience applauded wildly (and it was the only applause of a sober keynote) when Rafael …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Oct 2015
The puppets from Team America: World Police gather at a bar for drinks.

Team Microsoft: Device Police... 'Are you pumped? I'm pumped'

Analysis “Someone out there must have a family,” Panos Panay remarked yesterday, surveying his audience of potato-shaped gadget bloggers. An optimistic view, I thought. Panay was presenting Microsoft’s Devices event in New York, an event designed to get bloggers’ juices running. And boy, it did. Years ago, I was in a MacWorld audience …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Oct 2015

Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie

Analysis Today's victory by Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems in the European Court has massive repercussions for how the superpowers make law, and how Silicon Valley conducts business. And it may only get worse for America's data processing giants, very soon. Microsoft is challenging the notion that the world's data is by default …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Oct 2015

Russia vows to shame big biz that advertises on pirate sites, and save the internet

Russia has vowed to do what Obama and the EU dare not – and we don't mean bomb ISIS. The President Putin-led nation has promised to go after big business and the pirate websites they support. The Russian government has vowed to crack down on the top 100 copyright-infringing sites, in order to shame the Top 100 brands into …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Oct 2015

Five things that doomed the big and brilliant BlackBerry 10

Listicle Clickbait Special BlackBerry wants you to know that the BlackBerry 10 (BB10) isn't dead. But beyond receiving essential maintenance, it simply isn't a priority for BlackBerry, which boasts that it now has over 50 per cent of its staff in software and sales jobs. "We have two confirmed new releases, 10.3.3 and 10.3.4, on the roadmap. These …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Oct 2015

Microsoft sabotages own Lumia smartmobe flagship launch

Microsoft has ensured that its unwanted Lumia phone division won’t upstage its Surface team next week, by posting details of the phones to its own UK Store website. It’s the latest in a series of “accidental” leaks, meaning the new Lumia flagship will be rather familiar by the time it is officially unveiled in New York at the …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Oct 2015