Andrew Orlowski

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Dyson celebrates 'shock' EU Court win over flawed energy tests

Europe's top court has ruled that the General Court issued a flawed and unfair verdict against Dyson, Britain's best-known manufacturer. Dyson sued the European Commission over energy labelling regulations, which it argued favoured continental rivals, principally Bosch and Siemens. The labels were derived from tests in dust- …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 May 2017

Uber is a taxi company, not internet, European Court of Justice advised

Uber is really a transport company, not an internet company, in official advice given to the European Court of Justice. If it's followed by the court, the opinion will have significant impact on horizontally integrated platforms operating in Europe that present themselves as intermediaries and thus bypass many regulations. …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 May 2017

FCC: Take your spam and shove it, slacktivists!

Comment Some theoretical physicists have advanced the hypothesis that we may be living in a simulation, a kind of computer game. I wonder where they got that idea? Here on Earth, online politics has been a game for some years. Long before gamification was a buzzword, the first "Googlewash" demonstrated how politics could be turned …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 May 2017

Amazon announces new Echo just as Microsoft's first Cortana-powered clone breaks cover

Amazon has announced the first Echo to feature a built-in display – one of 2017's stranger gadgets – just as Microsoft's Echo clone broke cover. The Harmon Kardon Invoke is a voice-enabled 360 speaker powered by Microsoft's Cortana. The news spoiled the announcement of Amazon's new Echo Show, which loosely resembles an iPad …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2017

Take a sneak peek at Google's Android replacement, Fuchsia

An enthusiast has compiled Google's infant Fuchsia OS and put the toddler through its paces. The open-source OS is an open secret – anyone can download the platform from Github, and one enthusiast at Hotfix, a repair shop in Texas, has done just that. When Fuchsia broke cover last August, we noted the project's ambition. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2017

London app dev wants to 'reinvent the bus'

Move over, Blakey! Silicon Roundabout wants to "disrupt the bus". A shuttle operated by London-based app flinger Citymapper will trundle around the centre of the capital, demonstrating how incumbent bus operators are stuck in the Stone Age. From tomorrow, it's going to be smart. "We're reinventing the entire software stack for …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2017

Facebook fake news: Sort it out yourself, readers

Comment Talk about chutzpah. Facebook has launched its PR campaign to combat "fake news" with the slogan "Together we can limit the spread of false news". Together? Yes, together. Them and you. But mostly you, it seems. It kicks off with a list of 10 tips for internet users to identify falsehoods, much as Elizabethan witch-hunters …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 May 2017

There be dragons? Why net neutrality groups won't go to Congress

Special report When Obama pushed the FCC into extending Title II rules over US internet services in 2014, I described the President as "writing out a cheque he knew he couldn't cash". To no one's surprise, that cheque bounced last week, when the FCC chairman formally began the process to replace those rules. Title II has been a dead duck …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 May 2017

Is Britain really worse at 4G than Peru?

Special Report Which? magazine's claim that the UK has "worse 4G than Peru", widely reported by the national media this week, has reopened an highly charged industry debate about the reliability of network data collection. The debate can be crudely summed as “crowd vs non crowd”, but actually goes deeper: does enough "Big Data" from a large …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 May 2017
Bookshelf in the British Library basement

Amazon tweaks so-called 'assisted suicide' publishing contracts to ink EU deal

Amazon has successfully wrapped up an antitrust deal in Europe today. The European Commission has closed its investigation into the retail giant’s ebook business after accepting voluntary commitments from the company. The settlement allows publishers to scrap some ebook contracts and reopen negotiations. Amazon is technically …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 May 2017

Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

New figures on British drinking habits from the Office of National Statistics show teetotalism continues to rise, with our prudent youth leading the way in moderate alcohol consumption. Don't expect to find that in the papers, though. With such a politicised subject, it's no surprise the ONS emphasises harm, and chooses to …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 May 2017

S is for Sandbox: The logic behind Microsoft's new lockdown Windows gambit

Analysis Microsoft had two strategic problems to address yesterday. Over several years, the PC has been taking its long, sad journey into becoming a niche. But more recently, Google has leapt into the US education market, going from zero to over 50 per cent in three years. Redmond's response is unexpected, but also confusing. Rather …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 May 2017

UK patent troll protections tweaked – lawyers exempted

Lawyers are exempt from tweaks to UK law aimed at combatting "patent trolls". The Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill received Royal Assent last week to little fanfare. UK law already protects people against vexatious litigants, and the 1977 Patents Act specifically incorporated a section providing "remedy for …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 May 2017
BlackBerry KeyONE Android smartphone

Well, hot-diggity-damn, BlackBerry's KEYone is one hell of a comeback

24-Hour Test The hottest phone in town this week isn't the new Samsung but, improbably, BlackBerry's comeback device. Partly this is a quirk of a staggered rollout by TCL, which has awarded the UK virtual exclusivity for a month before the US gets it. But it's not entirely down to production issues. After 24 hours with the KEYone as a main …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2017

Facebook and Google gobble '99 per cent of new digital ad cash'

Internet advertising revenue continues to grow, thanks to mobile, but the Silicon Valley duopoly of Facebook and Google swallowed up almost the new money. The internet ad industry's annual report this week shows that desktop ad revenue fell for the first time since the financial crash of 2008/2009 and mobile spending raced …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2017

What is dead may never die – how to get a post-BlackBerry BlackBerry

BlackBerry Mobile has begun shipping its first post-BlackBerry phone in the UK today, although fans will need to cross their fingers and pop into Selfridges' Oxford Street store in London to find one. The KEYone was first shown at CES in January before a formal launch at MWC in Barcelona in March. Selfridges have exclusivity …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Apr 2017
Judge gavel, photo via Shutterstock

European Court of Justice lays down the law on Kodipocalypse

Europe's highest court has made it easier for member states to halt the sale of media sticks with preloaded pirate streaming links and add-ons. The past few months have seen significant growth in pre-configured streaming boxes or USB sticks. These use the Kodi platform, an open-source player, configured by a vendor with add- …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Apr 2017

Come celebrate World Hypocrisy Day

Comment Thanks to the World Intellectual Property Organization, today is World Intellectual Property Day 2017. Perhaps this celebration needs a dark companion – World Hypocrisy Day. Here's why. In the 17 years World IP Day has been running, there's been a radical shift in corporate power. This has taken place most dramatically in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Apr 2017

Spotify seeks hardware boffins

Spotify is seeking experienced hardware engineers to create “a category-defining product”, according to a (now removed) job ad. Spotify already has relationships with hardware companies, and has been embedding its music service into cars, speakers and TVs for years. But this calls for something more ambitious: “a category …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Apr 2017
The puppets from Team America: World Police gather at a bar for drinks.

Jimbo announces Team Wikipedia: 'Global News Police'

Comment When Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize against the backdrop of the US Air Force's secret bombings in Cambodia, the satirist Tom Lehrer declared that satire had become obsolete. If satire died that day, then Jimmy Wales has dug it up, exhumed the corpse, and is giving it a state funeral. The Wikipedia co-founder …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Apr 2017

Huawei P10 Plus: The bigger brother is the real contender

Review The P10 Plus is the big brother of Huawei’s 2017 flagship the P10. And as you’d expect, it's beefier, heavier and packing a bigger battery, a better camera and display, better antennas for faster LTE, and infrared. The review unit sported 128GB of flash storage, expandable, and 6GB of RAM. Missing from the Chinese rival to …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Apr 2017

Uber cloaked its spying and all it got from Apple was a slap on the wrist

Uber hid its fingerprinting of iPhone users from Apple – techniques that would have had any other app thrown out of Apple's store. Uber retained the information even after the Uber app had been deleted and the phone had been wiped. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick got a personal reprimand from Apple CEO Tim Cook, but the app stayed put …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Apr 2017

While Facebook reinvents Sadville, we still dream of flying cars

Comment The researchers at the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan (UMTRI) sent me what may be the saddest opinion poll in the world. It asks the public: "Would you like a flying car?" If you think it's a question to which the only answer is yes, you'll be heartened by the findings [PDF]. Broadly, US men …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Apr 2017
Sparks, image via Shutterstock

Exploding femtocells: No need for a full recall, says Vodafone

Vodafone says that anxious customers of its home femtocell box are safe, despite experiencing continuing brownouts. Although Vodafone is replacing the Alcatel-made units on request, it has declined to carry out a full recall. Vodafone sells the Sure Signal V3 femtocell for £69 to help users with notspots in their home. But for …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Apr 2017
Obi wan droids

Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

iPhones maintain their resale value much better than Androids. That much you probably already know – but which are the worst droids to resell? A survey of over 100,000 eBay transactions provides some answers. The data isn't just a handy guide to flogging your unwanted upgrade, but also an indication of the "real" market value …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Apr 2017

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