Andrew Orlowski

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Video service Binge On 'broke the internet' but 99pc of users love it

Analysis Do you remember the butthurt and angst heaped on T-Mobile US when it launched its Binge On service earlier this year? T-Mobile US offered a toll-free all-you-can-watch mobile video service, trading quality for quantity. The Binge On user would get video downsampled to 480 pixels, but none of it would count towards their data …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Sep 2016

Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

A survey of people using ad-blocking has mixed news for publishers. Thirty per cent of users deploying adblocking software were less inclined to visit websites that forced them to “whitelist” the site. On the other hand, in reality many do whitelist one or two favourites. 77 per cent of adblock software users have whitelisted …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Sep 2016

Not enough personality: Google Now becomes Google Not Anymore

Google is rebranding its screen-scraping data guzzler Now On Tap, as it buries the entire Now initiative under the onslaught of its multiplatform chatty “Assistant” project. Only two years ago, Now On Tap was heralded as “Android’s next killer feature” (CNet) and even “the future of Android” (ComputerWorld). But Now On Tap …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Sep 2016
graveyard_648

‘Penultimate’ BlackBerry seen on 'do not publish' page as fire sale begins

Could BlackBerry be any less involved in the phone business that it is today? A year ago it designed its own phones that ran its own, home-grown platform. Today it rebadges other people’s designs and the phones run Android. Actually, yes, it could – see below for details*. This week BlackBerry accidentally revealed details of …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Sep 2016
Costa WiFi 2

EU ends anonymity and rules open Wi-Fi hotspots need passwords

Result, guys. Result. A campaign by Digital Rights activists to preserve open Wi-Fi hotspots has resulted in Europe’s highest court deciding the exact opposite. The ECJ has advised that open Wi-Fi hotspots should probably be operated password-protected – and hotspot owners should require users to reveal their identities. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Sep 2016
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by SHUTTERSTOCK

EU law: Brussels burps up aspirational copyright tweaks

Analysis Brussels’ widely leaked copyright reforms [PDF] have been formally published. The proposals are intended to “reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works by users across the EU.” They will be tossed about and amended in European Parliament for many months. But with an …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Sep 2016
Music kid image via Shutterstock

Songsmiths sue US antitrust over Google-friendly rules ruling

Two independent women songwriters are suing the US antitrust department of the Department of Justice over its proposal to rip up songwriters' contracts to make them more Google-friendly. Crucially, in the remarks, the DoJ proposes that both ASCAP and BMI must accept 100 per cent licensing – so Spotify and other giant music …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Sep 2016

Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

Comment Google isn’t just interested in tracking you, or even very interested. Google tracks you with the defiant zeal of an obsessive stalker. What’s curious is that the American state seems almost as keen on the unfettered collection and use of location data as Google itself. Phones incorporated GPS silicon long before the iPhone …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Sep 2016

Daddy, what's 'P2P file sharing'?

So long peer-to-peers, and farewell dodgy file lockers: young music fans now steal their music straight from YouTube instead. Research from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the global body for the recording industry, finds that 49 per cent of 16-to-24s use streaming rippers, overtaking …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Sep 2016

VMware eases Windows Mobile 10's turn-your-phone-into-a-PC pain

Bleeding-edge early adopters of Windows Mobile 10 have some more balm for their Continuum pains. Microsoft's Continuum lets you connect monitors, keyboards and mice to Windows Mobile phones to convert them into PCs. It fits in with Microsoft's universal app concept: software should just work wherever you're using Windows 10, …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Sep 2016

Amazon pops up more shops

Amazon will be opening more brick-and-mortar stores in shopping malls in the US, apparently. The $100bn-a-year retail nemesis of High Street quietly opened its first pop-up stores in late 2014, currently operates around a dozen in stealth mode, and will have up to 100 by next year, according to Business Insider. But why would …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Sep 2016

Meet DDoSaaS: Distributed Denial of Service-as-a-Service

Analysis It’s not often an entirely new and thriving sector of the “digital economy” – one hitherto unmentioned by the popular press – floats to the surface of the lake in broad daylight, waving a tentacle at us. This is the DDoS-for-hire industry, and it’s fascinating for a few reasons. This shady marketplace has done everything a …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Sep 2016

Google-funded group mad that US Copyright Office hasn't abolished copyright yet

Comment Following extensive coverage of Google’s capture of government policy making and its agencies, a Google-funded group has responded with a surreal report into “regulatory capture” – allegedly by people Google wishes weren’t there. Unfortunately, the report from the activist groupuscule Public Knowledge (PK) – one of a number of …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2016
troll

Double-negative tweet could be Microsoft Surface Phone hint

Microsoft may have just confirmed a Surface Phone via a cryptic tweet. Laura Janet Baker appeared to confirm the long-rumoured flagship via a double negative. It could be the end of the silly season; judge for yourself. Rumours abound that Microsoft will kill off production of its current Lumia range by the end of the year. …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2016

The Rise, Fall and Return of TomTom

Interview Yesterday TomTom announced seven new consumer products (eight if you count the two SatNav units) with four fitness and three navigation products, its highest High Street profile for some years. Corinne Vigreux Corinne Vigreux Tech pundits were preparing the last rites for the SatNav pioneer a few years ago, but it has …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2016
A confused man

EU court: Linking to pirated stuff doesn't breach copyright... except when it does

Analysis The EU’s bizarre, home-brewed doctrine of copyright evolved further today, with a ruling that URLs linking to infringing material are not themselves an infringement, except when they are. Confused? You should be – and perhaps that’s the idea. Today’s Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) verdict in the Svensson case, …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Sep 2016

Apple: Crisis? What innovation crisis? BTW, you like our toothbrush?

Analysis Analyst outfit CCS Insight issued a report about the innovation crisis in smartphones this week – and Apple has done little to address this with an iPhone update quickly labelled as incremental. At its main annual product event, Apple implicitly acknowledged the failure of the smartwatch to take off by repositioning the second …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Sep 2016

Regulators, take note: Tencent is now Asia's biggest company

WeChat maker Tencent became Asia's highest-valued company today; not bad going for an app that launched long after well-established instant-messenger brands moved to mobile. Tencent reached a valuation of $256bn on the Hong Kong stock exchange, surpassing the market valuation of China Mobile. Samsung Electronics is valued at $ …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Sep 2016
Lady eating a sandwich checking her mobile phone

iPhone outsells Galaxy

Apple snatched the bestseller crown back from Samsung in Q2, despite Apple’s woes in China. The iPhone 6s outsold the Galaxy S7, moving 14.2 million units between April and June, according to Strategy Analytics. The smaller iPhone 6 took second spot, with an estimated 8.5m units moving. That put it slightly ahead of the S7 …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Sep 2016

UK's EE scores network reliability clean sweep, rival dwarves fume

EE has edged ahead of CK Hutchison’s Three as the most reliable UK mobile network, according to RootMetrics' biannual survey. With its scale and tasty spectrum, EE still tops the board in overall performance, and all six individual measures including network speed, data, call and text performance. The previous survey, …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Sep 2016

Meet Deliveroo's ‘bold and impactful’ new logo. No, really

Logowatch Fresh ripples of excitement reach us from the world of rebranding, after Deliveroo parked its bike against the walls of the Strategy Boutique. The three year old startup didn’t come back empty handed. It’s got a new logo, Design Week reports in a must-read account, and riders have a new uniform. The trade mag tells us that …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Sep 2016
Drones hover above a smart city. Photo by shutterstock

Beautiful, efficient, data-sucking Smart Cities: Why do you give us the creeps?

Huawei Connect “Smart Cities” have been heavily promoted by tech giants like IBM, and the idea excites the pulse of fad-chasing technocrats and wonks. Huawei has also heavily promoted the vision, and the commercial logic to do so is sound. It is clearly hoping to shift its high end network management gear into a market where the customers …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Sep 2016
aircraft takes off from carrier, enters clouds. Photo by shutterstock

This is why Huawei's cloud is not like Amazuregoo

The jargon changes, and the rhetoric can get ecstatic, but Huawei’s Cloud adventure is really just a highly elaborate way of saying “please upgrade your network”. Which is sensible advice anyway. The logic for the Chinese giant is remorseless: if Huawei doesn’t move upscale, it’s eaten by the relentless commodification of …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2016
China will see you on the dark side of the moon

Behold: Huawei evokes always-wise God Cloud – with Terminator users

Huawei Connect Tech metaphors are getting ever more explicitly spiritual. Take Huawei, for example. Today Huawei waxed ontological as one of its time-sharing CEOs described a “digital brain… always wise, never aging ... evolving in real-time.” That sounds like a God-cloud. But will it, we mused, be a harsh God-cloud or a forgiving God-cloud …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Aug 2016

Google breaks heart, White Knight falls off horse

Analysis Google Fiber was supposed to be the White Knight of US broadband, riding to its rescue. But this horse has bolted. In the opposite direction. Rumours of the scale back had already been reported - we just didn’t know by how much. Now it emerges that Alphabet CEO Larry Page has not only slashed Google’s FTTH operation in half, …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Aug 2016