Andrew Orlowski

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Virgin goes 4G with zero-rated Facebook and WhatsApp

Virgin Mobile has finally upgraded its network to 4G – with an eye-catching deal: Facebook and WhatsApp data usage won't count against your monthly data bundle, a practice known as zero rating. With zero rating, no money changes hands between the network and the service, and in the USA, the practice has proved hugely popular. …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Nov 2016

James Dyson's new startup: A university for engineers that doesn't suck

After years of supporting traditional academia, Sir James Dyson is putting serious cash behind a new startup – his own engineering university. Successful students from the Dyson Institute of Technology will graduate from the four-year engineering course with an engineering degree accredited by the University of Warwick. But in …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Nov 2016
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We're great, you don't understand competition law, Google tells Europe

Google has sought to blunt the European Commission’s three-prong inquiry into its business practices – by claiming the Eurocrats don’t understand antitrust law. Writing on Google’s corporate blog, senior VP and general counsel Kent Walker disclosed that Google has responded to the Commission’s shopping and advertising concerns …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Nov 2016

ARMed and dangerous, Mate: Huawei slips new Cortex cores into Samsung Note killer

Pics Huawei's chance to seize upon Samsung's Note 7 woes has come, with a new phablet and a Porsche Design-branded sibling. The Mate 9 was unveiled in Munich, Germany, on Thursday, and ushers in EMUI 5, a user-interface skin more familiar to European and US punters. The handset runs Google's Android 7. Huawei has also introduced a …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Nov 2016

'Inventor of email' receives damages from Gawker's collapsed empire

Former Gawker publisher Nick Denton has agreed to pay computer scientist and biotech entrepreneur Dr Shiva Ayyadurai $750,000 in damages after the blog wrote that Ayyadurai invented claims that he invented "email" in the late 1970s. The settlement was bundled along with the $31m damages paid to wrestler Hulk Hogan, aka Terry …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Nov 2016
Shot of a new Macbook Pro

Why Apple's adaptive Touch Bar will flop

Comment Apple has ignored a page of very recent history by introducing its "Touch Bar", Lenovo reminded us on Thursday. Last week Apple replaced physical hardware function keys on its new laptops with a touch sensitive OLED strip, the "Touch Bar". This isn't an original idea, and it has failed spectacularly when introduced to the …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Nov 2016

Adblock overlord to Zuckerberg: Lay down your weapons and surrender

Ben Williams, Eyeo's comms chief, has warned Facebook that it's joined a battle it can't win. Eyeo is the controversial outfit that commercialises AdBlock software. Last year John Whittingdale compared Eyeo's model – which allows advertisers through for a fee – to a "modern day protection racket". Earlier this year Facebook …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Nov 2016

A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

Hands On Last year a new London phone startup launched to try and tame the Shenzhen tiger. WileyFox aimed to harness the Chinese manufacturing revolution that's brought us low-cost Androids to a decent brand with local support. WileyFox sold a respectable amount – half a million devices – without becoming a household name. But that was a …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Nov 2016
Hillary Clinton

Coding will win you the election, narcissistic techies boasted to Hillary

Comment Can you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall came down, Mrs Thatcher resigned, or – um – David Cameron "learned" some HTML for an hour? Perhaps the first two, but maybe not the third. Yet in Silicon Valley's bubble, the latter signified a "Sputnik moment" for humanity. New disclosures from WikiLeaks highlight Big Tech' …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Nov 2016

Sound-mufflers chuck acoustic sleep blanket at the noise-plagued

Ever wondered why the Bose-style noise-cancelling technology can’t be made to work for rooms? Actually it can, but getting it to muffle sudden noises such as dogs barking or gunshots, so your sleep isn’t broken, and doing so at consumer prices represents a whole new set of challenges. A new Kickstarter project from sound- …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Nov 2016
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More movie and TV binge-streaming sites join UK banned list

Thirteen more pirate sites have have been added to the list of domains that the largest UK ISPs must block*. This time the target sites are dedicated to binge-watching TV series and theatrical run films. Although nobody in the movie and TV business – which is fuelling a tech jobs boom in the UK – claims it's the only solution …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Nov 2016

Cynical Apple gouges UK with 20 per cent price hike

Apple has taken advantage of a more competitive sterling exchange rate to hike its computer prices – by far more than sterling fell. Cupertino raised some UK prices by as much as £500. Apple had already raised the prices of its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch products. Sterling has fallen some 15 per cent from its 1H 2016 …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2016
HP's forthcoming Elite X3 Windows Phone

Everything you need to know about HP's three-in-one x3 deals

Is HP’s ambitious 3-in-one phablet replacement for PCs for you? Probably not for most of you, you may gather, but it does make for a fascinating proposition, and obvious sense for some workers wrestling with cumbersome old kit. HP explained to us how this week – with more details of how much all this will cost. The idea is to …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2016
Woman uses headphones with her iPhone. Photo by Shutterstock

iPhone fatigue and fading Samsung. This planet is bored with big brand phones

Samsung already had plenty to worry about before its flagship phone started exploding. Strategy Analytics reckons the Korean giant’s phone sales have fallen 10 per cent. And it’s not alone. Apple is experiencing “iPhone” fatigue after years of merely incremental upgrades, down 5 per cent globally over the year. Overall global …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Oct 2016

Let's praise Surface, not bury it

Comment Yes, I know the new Surface kit unveiled by Microsoft (hands-on and roundup) is both lavishly over-engineered and ludicrously expensive. You know that. We all know that. But that's not the point. The Surface extravaganza is a good thing. Faced with a mortal threat, Microsoft is doing something it should have done years ago – …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Oct 2016

BlackBerry design boss tells El Reg: 'We're not getting out of phones'

Analysis The more BlackBerry explains its phone strategy, the more people insist there will never be another BlackBerry. Which must be annoying. Headlines a month ago that the company had “hung up on its handset business” were only half right. Executives reaffirmed to us this week that they expect to see more BlackBerry phones rather …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2016
iPhone 7 Plus

Squeaky bum time for Apple: It hasn’t made enough iPhone 7 Pluses

Analysis Santa may have an empty sack this Christmas, crushing the dreams of fanbois (and fanfilles). Apple admitted yesterday it was unable to meet the demand for its iPhone 7. Six weeks after the launch, Apple’s own online store is still showing long delays for several configurations of the iPhone 7. These will continue into December …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2016
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by SHUTTERSTOCK

Exit through the Gift Shop? US copyright chief was assigned to shop till, tweeting

The US’s top copyright expert since 2011 has been re-assigned to investigating new tills for the gift shop and brainstorming social media strategies on the orders of her new boss, US president Barack Obama appointee Carla Hayden, leaked memos reveal. The Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, who reported to new Librarian of …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2016

BlackBerry DTEK60: An elegant flagship for grown-ups

Hands-on Review Available for order this week, BlackBerry’s penultimate own-brand phone is a luxurious but light big sibling to its DTEK50. That was the first to marry a reference design, from TCL, to BlackBerry’s own “hardened” Android. The DTEK60 – not a name that rolls off the tongue – also uses BlackBerry’s Android, but aims for the …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Oct 2016
1960s edition of the country house murder mystery game Cluedo or Clue - Patented in the UK by John Waddington Games in 1947 - illustrative. By SamJonah, via shutterstock. editorial use only

Murder in the Library of Congress

The US Copyright Office has been given a brutal Silicon Valley-style sacking, the first time the Copyright Register has been dismissed in 119 years. Maria A Pallante was locked out of her computer on Friday, according to Billboard, on the instructions of her boss, a new Obama appointee, Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2016

Paid Wikipedia-fiddling on wheels

It isn’t just feral estate agents who drape their cars with adverts. Reader James sent us this photo, which you may want to examine more closely if you’re an enthusiastic Wikipedian. The “London Biography Company” purports to boost your reputation on Wikipedia. On its website it claims clients are “FTSE100 CEOs, senior …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2016
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Is Google using YouTube to put one over on Samsung?

A curious story appeared overnight, one that made Samsung look very foolish. According to anti-copyright activist and blogger Mike Masnick, Google's YouTube had received a copyright takedown notice from Samsung requesting that game videos featuring the Samsung Note 7 as a weapon be removed. A few hours later the video was …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2016

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

If you're considering doing a relaunch, a "reboot", or a revamp of any kind, there's a lot to learn from the story of the Mini. The original Mini had been in production for 41 years by October 2000, when the last one rolled off the line at Longbridge – but the design had never really been updated. For the last two decades of …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Oct 2016
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Cheapest Apple iPhone 7's flash memory is waaaaay slower than pricier model

Apple is silently stiffing customers who don't spend enough on the latest iPhones. For the past few years, the cheapest new iPhone model had a storage capacity of 8GB, then 16GB, which in practice meant just over 12GB available if you include the bundled software. This meant there was insufficient space to perform an update …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2016
Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock

Is this the worst Blockchain idea you've ever heard?

Poll The music industry has been a petri dish for some fairly atrocious digital ideas, but few can be as desperate as Blockchain. Is this the worst Blockchain idea you’ve ever heard? We thought the business had scraped rock bottom with blockchain .bc “format”. This got oodles of press, as Imogen Heap was fronting the publicity for …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2016