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Andrew Orlowski

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Say WHAT? Qualcomm, MediaTek scrap over who has best 'marketing gimmick' octocore

Qualcomm launched its first 8-core processors at Mobile World Congress this week, after last year describing octocore chips as "a marketing gimmick". “You can’t take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari," Qualcomm's senior VP Anand Chandrasekher said last year. "We don’t do …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014

Samsung and Apple BEWARE: Huawei is coming to eat your lunch

Richard Yu, Huawei's consumer boss, was one of the highlights of the presentations at Mobile World Congress. This is not because he's easy to understand; like a French president travelling overseas, he makes no concessions to his pronunciation advisors. It's because he thinks everyone else is rubbish. Huawei's new range …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Nokia launches Euro ANDROID invasion, quips: 'Microsoft knew what they were buying'

Microsoft was aware of Nokia's plans to release a range of Android phones, the man in charge of the new range told us today. And the new Nokiadroids - of which there are more than anyone predicted - will be coming to the UK - possibly sooner than anyone realises. Timo Toikkanen, Executive Vice President of Nokia Mobile Phones …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2014

Nokia launches Android range: X marks the growing low-cost spot

Three years after it announced a switch to Windows Phone, Nokia launched a family of Android-based phones today at Mobile World Congress 2014. Nokia's new X family of mobes... The first three devices revealed today at Mobile World Congress adopt the same strategy Amazon has with Android: use the open-source base and develop …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2014
Nokia Lumia Windows Phone Update

Microsoft courts mobe-makers, tweaks Windows 8 for WIMPs

In a pre-show presentation in Barcelona, where Mobile World Congress starts this week, Microsoft has confirmed some new features coming in Windows Phone 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 update coming this (northern) spring and assured phone makers it won't hang them out to dry. Redmond has let it be know that Windows desktop/tablet and …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Feb 2014

Years of AWOL Windows Phone features finally show up in video leaks

The first major update to Windows Phone since November 2012 is expected to be revealed in April, but details have already started to emerge. Sleuths combing through the new SDK for Windows Phone which developers released privately a week ago have published long lists of new features – and there's a purported video of the long- …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Feb 2014

TV scraper Aereo pulled off air in six US states after tellyco court injunction victory

TV retransmitter Aereo, which created its business hoping to weasel around a loophole in the law, has been banned in six US states after a judge granted a preliminary injunction that bans it from operating in them. Aereo provided each subscriber with access to a tiny antenna in the cloud, deploying thousands of these antennas to …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2014
Mobile phone stolen by pickpocket

Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Putting a man on the Moon cost less than what Facebook paid for WhatsApp, a generic chat app. So why is Facebook paying $45 per user to gain functionality it already has? The silly numbers look even sillier when you consider Facebook's own Messenger only lags narrowly behind WhatsApp in terms of usage. Facebook Messenger …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2014

Official: British music punter still loves plastic

The UK recorded music industry grew 1.9 per cent last year according to the BPI, despite falls in revenue from sales of CDs and music videos. Amazingly, CD revenue fell only 6.4 per cent in 2013 year on year - and still forms the backbone of the industry. A full £365.4m out of the total of £716.8m comes from CDs and videos. …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Feb 2014
Saul Klein, venture capitalist

A Year of Code timeline: History of a HYPEGASM

The government's "Year of Code" scheme, chaired by former Tory advisor Rohan Silva, has generated more comments from you than anything else this week. Here's a bite-sized timeline to put the whole story in context. February 2007: Saul Klein joins London VC firm Index Ventures. In May, he sets up Seedcamp in Europe. It's a pick …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Feb 2014
Doctor Who and Sarah

SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future

It was as good as anything on the telly. Four past BBC chiefs were giving MPs their opinions at Westminster. The Commons media select committee is running an enquiry into the future of the BBC, looking at how it should be governed, and as technology and habits change, whether should there even be a per-household fee levied on …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014

Google's SECRET contracts: Android lock-in REVEALED!

Details of secret contracts that Google signs with phone manufacturers have become public for the first time, revealing the extent of the restrictions Google puts on Android smartphones. In an email in 2011, a Google Android program manager injudiciously described the OS as a "club" to make phone makers "do what we want". But …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Critics of the Government's "Year of Code" scheme are misogynists or snobs, according to the BBC's tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. Rory's frustration is that while billions of pounds are splurged on IT, children are passively taught PowerPoint procedures. That's the limit of the state's ambitions for children. This a …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014
Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview DVR

BBC, ITV gang up on YouView with 'FreeView Connect'

The BBC and ITV look set to cut YouView adrift, backing a new TV distribution platform they've developed called FreeView Connect. This has long been rumoured in the UK industry, and now Digital UK – which is backed by the two channels together with Channel 4 and Arqiva – has confirmed they're looking at it. According to …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Feb 2014

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

The government's "Year Of Code" scheme to bring computer programming into schools for children as young as five has degenerated into a political bunfight. "The word 'coding' has been hijacked and abused by politicians and media who don't understand stuff,” the Raspberry Pi foundation’s director of educational development and a …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Feb 2014

MEP: Google's SECRET deal will cause crisis of trust for Europe

Google's secret backroom deal with the EU's competition chief can only worsen the crisis of trust in the European institutions, one MEP tells us. This week the Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said he would advise the Commission to reject complaints made about Google's business practices, thus allowing the search giant …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Feb 2014
Opera CEO Jon Von Tetzchner

Opera founder von Tetzchner: It's all gone to crap since I quit

"It's really sad, it's lost now," says Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner, reflecting on the fate of the company he left in 2011. Opera had made serious inroads in the Noughties embedding a browser into consumer products, where it was a pioneer, and had a sizeable following on both desktop and mobile. Its high performance …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Feb 2014
Vodafone on Piccadilly

Vodafone's Euro revenues slump by nearly TEN PER CENT

Vodafone's latest results make grim reading for the company's investors, with revenues in established markets falling and subscribers drifting away despite the firm's 4G investments. The British mobe operator's service revenues fell in Europe by 9.6 per cent and was only partially offset by gains in India and Turkey. The group …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014
Jean Michel Jarre performs (green lasers in background). Photo by Daniele Dalledonne

Jean Michel Jarre: Je voudrais un MUSIC TAX sur VOTRE MOBE

Smartphone owners should pay hundreds of dollars to the music industry, wrinkly French synth twiddler Jean Michel Jarre has said. Without the ability to play music, Jarre argued, the gadget wouldn't be worth as much as it currently is. “We should never forget that in the smartphone, the smart part is us creators,” Jarre told …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014

Nudge Unit flies into Nesta's arms: Is the hype justified?

No 10's controversial "nudge unit" has been spun out into a company - but it hasn't fallen far from the nest. The 16-strong Behavioural Insights Team (as it's known) will become a private entity and will be able to tap into cash originally set aside for fledgling inventors. It will then sell its services back to the government …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014

Facebook turns 10: Big Brother isn't Mark Zuckerberg. It's YOU

Facebook turns 10 this month, which means a bombardment of anniversary pieces lauding the social network. This blabbergasm will stress how Facebook “changed everything” and speculate on how “unimaginable" life might be without Facebook. But Mark Zuckerberg’s greatest achievement isn't financial or technical. Facebook has turned …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Feb 2014
The Hindenburg, on fire and doomed above Lakehurst

Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists

MPs begged scientists to tell them what to do at Westminster this week. "I like the idea science tells us something, and we have to agree," said John Robertson (Lab, Glasgow North West) - surely a candidate for Quote of the Year in any year. As we shall discover, the MPs of Parliament's Energy and Climate Change Committee were …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jan 2014
Delia Derbyshire tweaks a Jason oscillator

BBC Trust: 'LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING' to this DMI mega-tech FAIL

The BBC failed to heed warnings given as early as 2010 that its Digital Media Initiative uber-project was vague and getting nowhere - according to the National Audit Office, which published its investigation into the disaster today. Executives at the Beeb's finance committee, its executive committee and the BBC Trust all …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jan 2014

BlackBerry makes its devilish Android trickery official in OS update

BlackBerry has started to roll out the latest version of its eponymous Operating System. The tiny incremental increase in version numbering (from 10.2.0 to 10.2.1) belies its importance - for this version runs Android apps at full-tilt, thanks to trickery we described back in November and previewed earlier this month. BlackBerry …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jan 2014

Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

What are we to do with Stephen Fry? Britain's go-to guy for advertisement voice-overs has had another attempt at explaining computing history, in his own unique way. But he's got it wrong, and at the same time sullied the memory of one of the industry's true pioneers. Writing on his blog and at The Daily Telegraph, Fry - …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jan 2014

Feds indict four over alleged Android app copyright infringement

The US Department of Justice has taken a break from handing Amazon an ebook monopoly and instead indicted four operators of Android warez sites. The four charged with criminal copyright infringement operated the sites Snappzmarket and Appbucket, whose domains were seized by the FBI in August 2012. Authorities allege that the …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jan 2014

What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

"Nokia has commenced reporting substantially all of its Devices & Services business as discontinued operations", the company noted dryly in its earnings report last week. The numbers didn't paint a picture Microsoft would have wanted. Lumia sales fell back after four consecutive quarters of growth, having doubled in the past …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jan 2014

A BBC-by-subscription 'would be richer', MPs told

Could the BBC be better off if it raised money through subscriptions? Last week Westminster heard that the BBC had modelled precisely this scenario and found that it would be richer than it is today. It just didn't want to tell you. And in a strange alignment of interests, the BBC's pay-for rivals don't want you to know either …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jan 2014
Derisive laugh

'Netflix bitch': CEO of vid-streaming site taunts HBO chief over results

Over-the-top video streamer Netflix finished the year with over 43 million subscribers, almost all of whom pay, the company reported yesterday. Netflix recorded revenue of $1.1bn in Q4 2013, including its legacy DVD-by-post business, and a slender net income of $48m. It's still going for growth, though, with 10.93 million …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jan 2014

Bored with patent trolls? Small fry - prepare for the Design Trolls

Changes to UK patent and design law affecting thousands of British businesses have been criticised by industry and Labour's front bench business team. The Intellectual Property Bill contains changes to design and patent law proposed in the so-called Google Review, better known as "The Independent Review of IP and Growth” by …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jan 2014

Nokia's Android? It's not for the likes of us…

Images of a Nokia phone running a forked branch of Android have been circulating since November - when the project was still very much alive - with many more tumbling out of leak sites last week. For its Kindle HD range, Amazon took the Android code base and ported over its own services, and it looks as if Nokia has done the …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jan 2014

So Dr Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor walk into a bar

Today finally sees the launch of the much-delayed and much-hyped anticipated Beats Music service in the USA. Its parentage alone assures the service plenty of attention: the lead UI designer is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and it's a venture from the headphone manufacturer owned by producers Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine. The CEO …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2014

Almost everyone read the Verizon v FCC net neutrality verdict WRONG

Doomsday arrived this week – or is about to. That's if you've been reading the tech blogosphere. "We are the Folk Song Army. Everyone of us cares. We all hate poverty, war, and injustice, Unlike the rest of you squares." - Tom Lehrer A US appeals court ruled on Tuesday that America's communications watchdog the FCC didn't …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jan 2014

Cocky Spotify drops time limits on free listening, skint music-lovers cheer

As it promised to do before Christmas, Spotify has dropped restrictions on free listening with the celestial jukebox - but it's also removed restrictions on free desktop listening, too. Previously the service capped the number of hours you could listen to music without a subscription. That listening contained advertisments, of …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2014

Microsoft buries Sinofsky Era... then jumps on the coffin lid

The path to redemption in 2014 lies not through baptism, but blogging. Former Merrill Lynch dotcom analyst Henry "what a POS*" Blodget agreed to a lifetime ban from the finance industry – but bounced back with a blog. And perhaps one-man wrecking crew Steve Sinofsky, former President of the Windows Division at Microsoft, can …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2014

Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Anyone who doubts the impact of Google's power - it's currently the subject of an antitrust complaint to the European Commission by vertical search companies - needs to read this. The complaints to the Competition Commission maintain that Google's arbitrary promotion of its own material harms the market. But in this case, the …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jan 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Blasphemy! Finns trample over Windows Phone home screen

Nokia's phone division has released an app that might upset the high priests at the Temple of Windows Phone Design – who will shortly become its new masters. The app allows users to add folders to the Windows Phone Home Screen – thereby desecrating the hallowed ground which by almighty decree, Must Never Change. It's part of a …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

UK 'copyright czar' Edmund Quilty quits as Blighty's Director of Copyright Enforcement

Britain's unofficial "copyright czar", Edmund Quilty, is moving on. Probably the most influential civil servant you've never heard of, Quilty has served as the Director of Copyright Enforcement and Policy at the UK patent office for six years, far longer than the typical stint for a career bureaucrat of two years. "We can …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jan 2014

Rogue Android: We show you how BlackBerry's pain can be your gain

BlackBerry's comeback with a new operating system, BB10, turned into one of the greatest tech flops of all time. Almost one year after the launch, BlackBerry still sells far more of its ancient BB7 devices than it does BB10 devices. But could you turn BlackBerry’s misfortune to your advantage? With a street price of around £140 …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jan 2014

I've seen the future of car radio - and DAB isn't in it

Last month BMW rolled out the first cars to come with a fully integrated on-demand music-streaming service built in. Just before Xmas I took it through its paces to see how it performed and after an hour I was forced to conclude that things look ominous for digital radio, which is likely to be squeezed harder as on-demand …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jan 2014
Space Shuttle Endeavor buzzes the Golden Gate Bridge

Blame Silicon Valley for the NSA's data slurp... and what to do about it

Widespread ridicule has greeted the announcement that eight giant technology companies led by Google and including Facebook and LinkedIn were going to save us from the NSA. The ridicule is thoroughly justified, for trusting giant corporations - whose business models rely on selling your identity to advertisers - to safeguard …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Dec 2013
Original 'Blue Marble' pic taken by Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972

Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

As the year winds to a close and a new one begins, it's traditional to think about the future and good resolutions we may be keeping. In particular, we thought it would make sense to take a look at the resolution the UK made a few years ago: to cut carbon emissions on a scale unmatched by any other nation. How's that going, and …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2013
Punk-styled girl with piercing gazes at an apple

Apple loses sauce, BlackBerry squashed and Microsoft, er, WinsPhones (Nokia's)

It was a year where Apple slurped down enormous profits but lost some of its bleeding-edge-tech street cred, while Samsung marched inexorably on. But behind the scenes there was much more going on. Here are the year's trends put through the blender. Apple Apple's strategy is quite simple: instead of making products the …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2013
Toshiba LTPS touchscreen LCD

Andrew Fentem: Why I went to an arts quango to fund pre-iPhone multitouch

In the late '90s British inventor Andrew Fentem pioneered multitouch techniques, years before Apple brought them to market in the iPhone and later the iPad. He won backing for his technology from Britain's new innovation quango: but its incompetence meant that Apple ultimately looked elsewhere. We told the story of how the UK …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2013
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddiedangerous/ licensed under creative commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ please attribute

Calling all Spare Rib veterans: Sisters, don't lose your rights!

Contributors to the iconic feminist magazine Spare Rib, which ran from 1972 to 1993, have been warned not to sign away their rights. Last week the British Library contacted over a thousand former contributors giving them just seven days to give their consent to what it described as a "digitisation project". If authors declined …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Dec 2013

Legal bruiser Reback joins Google battle in Europe

The famous American legal bruiser Gary Reback has once again waded into the battle against Google in Europe again. The search giant is currently thrashing out a behind-closed-doors remedy with the European Commission in order to fend off a full Statement of Objections. But the deal's critics say Google’s proposed remedy merely …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Dec 2013
Aerielle i2i Stream

Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

A keynote speech by Culture and Comms Minister Ed Vaizey at the Go Digital conference had been billed for weeks as “D-Day” for UK radio. But in the end, Vaizey kicked the DAB can down the road, setting no new date for a switchover from analogue to digital radio, nor any new threshold for such a switchover. Vaizey thus avoided …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Dec 2013
Apple G4 Cube

El Reg's contraptions confessional no.3: the Apple G4 Cube

If you're lucky, old gear doesn't so much die as get given away or retired. Indeed, some kit is just too quirky to dispose of, even though it gets wheezy whenever you fire up a browser. Forget computing with it though, says Andrew Orlowski, the value can lie elsewhere. Apple Power Mac G4 Cube Why keep an Apple G4 Cube in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Dec 2013

You gotta fight for your copyright ... Beastie Boys sue toymaker over TV ad

Hip-hop heroes the Beastie Boys aren't impressed by toymaker GoldieBlox's climbdown in their rather bizarre copyright dispute – which started when the building-block company used the band's music in an ad. The MCs have now filed a countersuit against the venture-capital-bankrolled toy biz, which sued the Beasties after …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Dec 2013

How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

This is a disturbing, cautionary tale of quasi-government and its bungling. It describes how Britain could have led the recent advances in touchscreen technology, developing kit capable detecting more than one fingertip at once, years before Apple did – if it weren't for the nation's treacle-footed, self-serving quangocracy. …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Dec 2013