Andrew Orlowski

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Nokia's great lost smartwatch? #SavedYouALandfill

Footage has emerged of Nokia's never-released smartwatch – suggesting Microsoft was wise to kill the project when it acquired the Finns' mobile division. The Nokia watch prototype in the video dates to the zenith of the smartwatch hype in 2014. Nokia showed the device in private at that year's Mobile World Congress, and it was …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Nov 2016
soviet_socialism_train_teaser_lighter

Nostradamus, what do you see in 2017?

Facebook and Apple will start buying sports and movie rights. The internet startup bubble will burst. And lots of people will buy a Nokia phone. What do you reckon? Yes, it’s that time of the year when CCS Insight goes all Nostradamus on us, picking key technology and telecomms trends for the year (and years) ahead. As ever, …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Nov 2016

WileyFox Swift 2: A new champ of the 'for around £150' market

Review British startup WileyFox has made the best "for around £150"* phone since the first Moto G shook up the market for low-cost smartphones back in 2013. There are two models, the Swift 2 at £159 (list) and dual SIM Swift 2+ at £189 (list), both the same size. I tested the "Plus size" here. Both variants have a fingerprint sensor …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Nov 2016

Google's new VR Daydream View will cripple your phone

Google's new Daydream View VR is knocking out users' phones. Early adopters using the headset with Google's new Pixel phones have told El Reg that the phone shuts down within minutes because of thermal issues. A Reddit thread echoes the issue, where one user comments: It's remarkable that any phone is capable of longterm VR …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Nov 2016

Chirp! Let's hear it for data over audio

Low tech sometimes succeeds where high tech fails – as one ingenious company is proving. Chirp sends data over sound, a burst of audio that usually sounds like a bird’s tweet. It doesn’t transmit much data – 50 bytes – but it turns out you don’t need much bandwidth to bridge the gaps between the real world and the digital …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2016

Kotkin: Why Trump won

Interview Why did Donald Trump win? He filled a vacuum that was vacated by both Democratic and Republican parties, says Joel Kotkin. Kotkin is one of a small handful of writers who highlighted the role of Silicon Valley's oligarchs in American society. No fan of The Donald ("a horror" is how he described him back in June when we talked …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2016

Silicon Valley's oligarchs got a punch in the head – and that's actually good thing

Comment Looking for silver linings from the Election of President Donald J Trump? There may not be many – but I might just have found one. A Republican trifecta (controlling the White House and both Houses) would be the big news today as it signals a "change election", and it hasn't happened since 1928. But Trump is Trump, so that isn …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Nov 2016
Businesswoman shoots arrow from cliff at balloon holding up rival... Bit silly conceptual art. Photo by Shutterstock

IFTTT isss notttt afraiddd offf Microsofttt Flowww

Microsoft's rival to IFTTT, Flow, formally emerged last week – after some months in beta – but the scripting outfit has no intention of giving up its lead. IFTTT has "platformised" itself in response, opening up the runtime to app developers in August, and now professional services. Last week B2B service providers were invited …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Nov 2016
Terminator head

Copyright crimefighters FACT change tack after Hollywood calls The Terminator

British IP crimefighter FACT has "pivoted" after the Motion Picture Association cut half of the UK body's funding. The Federation Against Copyright Theft has been fighting TV and movie piracy on behalf of big audiovisual operations like Hollywood Studios and Sky, work that includes bringing private prosecutions. But earlier …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Nov 2016
His master's voice

What's that, Adobe? A Photoshop for faking voices?

Recorded voice evidence will never quite be the same again. It might not even be "evidence". Last week, Adobe demonstrated a voice manipulation package called VoCo – a research project, and not (yet) a product, it says. Described as a "Photoshop for voiceovers", VoCo is actually quite brilliant. Given a speaking sample of …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Nov 2016

Celeb-backed music TV phallus Electric Jukebox finally ready for launch

Over a year after it was first announced, the UK music startup described as "the most ridiculous digital music launch in history" will finally be available to punters tomorrow. Electric Jukebox bundles music with a £169 remote control and a dongle, so you can play tunes on your TV. After that, it's £52 a year, and the company …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Nov 2016
HP's forthcoming Elite X3 Windows Phone

HP Elite x3 phablet: The three-in-one business has been waiting for?

Review HP is making a hugely ambitious return to smartphones, billing the Elite x3 as “one device that’s every device”. No pressure, then. The proposition is that the Elite x3 is a phone that doubles as a PC and tablet replacement. Once connected to an external display, keyboard and mouse, either wirelessly or via a dock, this hefty …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Nov 2016
Smartphone showing Chinese flag

Unstoppable Huawei draws level with Apple

Almost two years ago The Register predicted that Huawei would become Samsung and Apple's "worst nightmare" and the claim earned plenty of derision*. But it's happening – and faster than anyone expected. Huawei is now vying with Apple to be the world's No.2 phone maker and is better placed to profit from Samsung's Note 7 woes …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Nov 2016

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