Andrew Orlowski

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Google's 'adblocker' is all about taking back control

The world's biggest digital advertising company Google is reportedly building an ad-blocker into Chrome – and it's already attracted the attention of Europe's most important competition regulator. The WSJ claimed the functionality could arrive in both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, although a final decision on …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017

What a To-Do! Microsoft snuffs out Wunderlist

If a week is a long time in politics, it must be an eternity at Redmond, where the strategy team is seemingly obliged to create a new one every few minutes. Here's another for you. On Wednesday Microsoft launched a new To-Do app, called er, "To-Do". If that sounds a curious move, it's because it is. Very. Microsoft also said …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017

HTC seeks salvation with squeezy design

Former critics' darling HTC will unveil its 2017 flagship on 16 May, hoping that a squeezy case will win back buyers. HTC's M8 won many "Phone of the Year" prizes in 2014, being dubbed the "Alfa Romeo" of the phone world. But its lacklustre 2015 successor added little new, and contributed to a dramatic fall in sales. – HTC had …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017

Apple's zippy silicon leaves Android rivals choking on dust

Steve Jobs once said that "innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have" – it's all about how you spend it. Despite spending a far lower proportion of its income on R&D* than Google, Apple's approach is paying off in one area in particular. The huge investment in proprietary, homegrown silicon is giving it …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017
Nuclear War

Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Researchers from Princeton and Stanford University have developed an ad blocker that they claim could end the ad blocking "arms race" for good. You can put the claim to the test yourself quite easily – proof-of-concept prototype code can be downloaded in the form of a Chrome browser plugin. The researchers claim to have …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Apr 2017
Axe Cutting Wood

No, Microsoft is not 'killing Windows 10 Mobile'

Microsoft has scotched reports that it has "abandoned" Windows Mobile. Windows 10 is in perpetual beta, and on Thursday the software giant issued new versions for both PC and Mobile, accompanied by some ambiguous notes from Insider Preview manager Donna Sarkar. Then everyone went home for Easter. Sarkar had written: The …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Apr 2017
red fox. pic by Shutterstock

WileyFox disentangles itself from Cyanogen

WileyFox is rowing its users away from the wreckage of the Cyanogen disaster, with some help from Ricardo Cerqueira, Cyanogen Inc’s former director of engineering. Britain’s only mass market phone maker is engaged in a mortal battle with HMD’s Nokia brand at the low end of the market. Today, the former released an update to …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Apr 2017
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Take that! FCC will hand net neut to FTC – reports

Analysis Americans may get a less Google-friendly and less-politicised regulatory regime if America's trade watchdog, the FTC, adopts responsibility for "net neutrality provisions", as reports today suggest. But under Trump, will the FTC have any teeth? Both Politico and The Wall Street Journal report that Ajit Pai – chairman of the US …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
microsoft_clippy_648

Facebook's 'delightful' AI Clippy the Paperclip creeps into Messenger

Facebook's first practical attempt to implement machine learning blew up badly. After suffering a 70 per cent failure rate, the Messenger Bot was redesigned to provide a potentially useful menu driven service. This week Facebook introduced M, a Siri or Alexa-like AI assistant into Facebook Messenger, hoping it will fare better …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
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An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

Former Times editor and News International chief executive Robert Thomson has launched a precision attack on the "duopoly" of Google and Facebook. As debate rages around what role "fake news" played in electing Donald Trump, Thomson points out that whether news is "real" or "fake", Google and Facebook don't care. Either way, …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
An angry woman looking at her phone

RootMetrics finds provinces stagger to 4G

Mobile network sleuth RootMetrics has released some performance data on how well operators are faring in our top provincial cities. From data recently released by the company, we know that overall UK performance increased by 8 per cent, improving in both urban and rural areas. But this hides significant regional variations. …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
Dual lenses on the P10, co-designed with Leica, make the P10 a strong camera phone

Huawei mystery memo (and phone strategy) confirmed

Interview Last weekend Huawei’s flagship P10 (and P10 Plus) smartphones went on sale in the UK, with support from all four major operators for the first time. Huawei UK boasts that it was the only Mobile World Congress launch to get across-the-board support – something LG and Sony had failed to do. Huawei has been more or less the world …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2017

The beast is back: Reborn ekranoplan heads for the Arctic

Russia has posted pictures of a new ground effect vehicle, or ekranoplan. The new design is more modest than the "Caspian Sea Monster" that so alarmed Western intelligence during the Cold War, and can only be seen taxiing. Ground effect vehicles were pioneered by Russian engineers, and take advantage of the increased lift …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2017

Adblock Plus owners commandeer Pirate Bay man's tip jar Flattr

Eyeo, the German company behind Adblock Plus, has acquired Flattr, the online tip jar operation co-founded by Peter Sunde, of Pirate Bay infamy. The two companies already had a formal partnership. "Flattr makes micropayments automatic and effortless, thus it will be the most user-friendly payment solution on the internet. …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Apr 2017

Honor phone for paupers goes upmarket, assails flagships

Huawei launched its Honor brand to sell good value phones in the UK after experts at this sort of thing predicted Westerners would never be able to pronounce "Huawei". The experts at this sort of thing turned out to be wrong. Since its launch here in 2015 Honor has meant mid-market and budget, but things have got confusingly …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Apr 2017
trolls

Google opens patent pool for Android

Samsung, LG and Foxconn are among the founding members of a patent pool for Android phone makers under Google's benevolent eye. Google hopes the "community-driven clearinghouse" for IP sharing will fend off patent trolls. Google already operates a non-aggression alliance for Android phone makers called License on Transfer, …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2017

Teenagers think Doritos are cooler than Apple

A Google-sponsored study into how teenagers view brands has some bad news for tech companies desperately wanting to be cool. While YouTube takes the (dubious) prize by a considerable margin, Apple lags behind junk food favourites Doritos and Oreos, "the world's favourite cookie". Android emerges ahead of Beats by Dre, for …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2017

It's 30 years ago: IBM's final battle with reality

Special Report Thirty years ago this month, IBM declared war on reality – and lost. For the 30 years prior to that April day in 1987, nobody had dared to challenge IBM’s dominance of the computer industry. It would take almost a decade for the defeat to be complete, but when it came, it was emphatic. In April of '87, IBM announced both a new …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2017
Microsoft on Android

Microsoft's in-store Android looks desperate but can Google stop it?

Analysis To survive in an increasingly mobile-first world, Microsoft needs the kind of regulatory intervention it fought so hard to avoid in the 1990s and 2000s. Only this time, imposed on the dominant mobile OS, Google's Android. Microsoft imposed an iron look and feel on Windows, preventing PC builders from customising and branding …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Apr 2017
Hal

Robo-AI jobs doomsday may, er... not actually happen, say boffins

Special Report Today's technopanic about robots and AI, largely created by the media, may be overstated. New modelling published this week attempts to isolate the impact of industrial automation from other factors, and envisage what the economy might look like if the use of robots in industry increases, focusing on the impact on employment …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Mar 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8: Slimmer bezels, a desktop mode – and yet another me-too AI pal

Pics Samsung arguably made the best Android phone last year – but it lost any bragging rights by committing one of the biggest consumer electronics PR disasters in history. The South Korean giant has responded to that exploding battery crisis by doing something nobody expected. It's cramming even more new technology into its Galaxy …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Mar 2017
Cows walk on green field in front of silos

Windows 10 Creators Update: Clearing the mines with livestock (that's you by the way)

Microsoft's big Windows 10 Creators Update platform release is now available if you want it, but the long-promised UX makeover and People Experience feature will wait for a future update to Windows. Probably this year, but possibly not. The release schedule is complicated. The Creators Update build becomes the default Windows …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Mar 2017
drone

Google pulls Hezbollah YouTube channel after we told them about the drone ads

Until just minutes before we hit publish on this story, Google was using a YouTube channel run by a fan of Hezbollah to promote potentially lethal drones. Despite a backlash from advertisers, Amazon, Adobe and Google were among the tech titans advertising on the now-shuttered "Party of Allah"* YouTube channel – which we …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Mar 2017
"Bad dog": Owner wags finger at naughty bulldog

Ofcom wants automatic compensation for the people when ISPs fail

Ofcom has begun consulting on the UK government's desire to compensate consumers and SMEs when telco companies fail, as set out in the Digital Economy Bill, even though the Bill hasn't reached the Royal Assent stage yet. Ofcom interprets the crowd-pleasing gesture as involving automatic compensation for delayed services, …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Mar 2017
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As ad boycott picks up pace, Google knows it doesn't have to worry

Analysis Several US-based advertisers have now suspended their advertising with YouTube, following over 200 pull-outs in the UK and Europe. Google had run big brand advertising on hate videos including jihadist groups. Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, AT&T are the latest to hit pause, or withdraw ad budgets from YouTube altogether. AT&T is …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2017

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