Andrew Orlowski

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Andrus Ansip, EU vice-president. Pic: Shutterstock

Top digital Eurocrat issues non-denial about hyperlink non-tax

Comment European Commission vice president Andrus Ansip has denied plans to impose “a tax on hyperlinks”, even though the EU can’t tax hyperlinks, and nobody has asked for URLs to be taxed. URLs, as you might suspect, would be very hard, if not impossible, to “tax” anyway. The great Polish writer Stanisław Lem used to disguise satires …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Aug 2016

Unlimited mobile data in America – where's the catch? There's always a catch

Analysis Sprint and T-Mobile US are introducing "all you can eat" internet plans, and as you might expect, someone at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco is horrified. Somebody always is. The EFF tut-tutted at dirt-poor Indian farmers getting Ceefax pages on their mobiles for free – and the Indians obligingly banned it …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Aug 2016
Huawei P8

Huawei's pricey new Honor goes upmarket. Bold move when prices are sliding

Analysis Last year Huawei launched its Honor smartphone into Western markets: a cheap and cheerful way to showcase its advantages. Over in China, the Honor was about yoof, but over here, Huawei followed the well-trodden path by lower cost Asian manufacturers for decades: sell decent tech at low prices and urge the punter to overlook the …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Aug 2016

Microsoft’s Continuum: Game changer or novelty?

Hands On Microsoft’s Continuum is one of the spookiest computing experiences you can have. Either plug a phone into a dock, or turn on a nearby wireless display and keyboard, and the phone doubles up as an ersatz Windows PC. No more lugging a laptop around. Back in January, we described Continuum reviewers as sharing the surprise and …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Aug 2016
Robots with Cursors from Shutterstock

Oracle Java copyright war latest: Why Google's luck is about to run out

Analysis Oracle says one of the foundations of Google's legal victory in the Java API copyright trial has exploded – and that means a retrial is needed. Oracle was trying its luck in court yesterday, demanding a retrial – although regardless of its success in forcing a third trial, the outcome of the second trial is on course to be …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2016

Google had Obama's ear during antitrust probe

Updated According to emails released under the US Freedom of Information Act, Google briefed the White House amid an antitrust investigation into itself, breaking a 40-year precedent of the President's office staying well away from competition issues. Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton and the web giant's antitrust lawyer Matthew Bye met …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2016
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Happy Anniversary: What’s new, what’s missing in Microsoft’s giant mobile update

Microsoft has begun to roll out the Anniversary Update of Windows 10 to phones. The business-friendly update gathers up hundreds of minor but useful changes, and it’s hard to single out some as more important than others. Some of the subtle design changes do make the whole thing look less amateurish, however. The 10.0.14393. …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Aug 2016
Ads on Times Square. Photo by Allen G via Shutterstock editorial use only

Ad-blocking ‘plateaus’, claims hopeful ad industry

The digital ad biz is hoping that ad-blocking has reached a plateau in the UK, after its rolling survey of users failed to detect an increase. The IAB's July poll, conducted by YouGov, found that 21.2 per cent of the sample used prophylactics, down from 21.7 per cent in February. However the IAB notes that many users don't …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Aug 2016

Oh dear, Xiaomi: '$46bn' winner's phone shipments tumble 38%

Only nine months ago China’s Xiaomi was being touted as “the next Samsung” - a consumer electronics giant with the breadth and ambition to create platforms or "ecosystems". The markets valued Xiaomi at an astronomical $46bn, twice the valuation of BAE. But this year, Xiaomi forgot to do something quite basic: sell enough phones …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Aug 2016

How Brussels works: if you can’t beat them, join rewrite an EU directive

Analysis The biggest European telcos are poised to use Brussels to enact their revenge on American internet platforms, and on OTT providers like WhatsApp, the Eurocrats’ house journal The Financial Times claims. This isn’t exactly news, as a “sop to telcos” was exactly how we described what to expect last year, after we were leaked a …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Aug 2016

Google's brand new OS could replace Android

The source code of Google's latest operating system has emerged, and it looks like all new code from the ground up. The Fuchsia project can be found here, and uses an entirely new kernel, "Magenta." It boots on ARM and x86, and the authors say they've managed to boot it on a Raspberry Pi. The IPC part is Mojo and higher up the …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Aug 2016
Little girl holds bluray discs up. photo by shutterstock

'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

Vinyl LPs aren’t the only antiquated disc format that’s enjoying a revival. So is the almost forgotten Blu-ray disc. Although little noticed, sales of the pricey movie disc have continued on an ever upward trend. But its popularity has been eclipsed by OTT streaming services which brought movies and TV on demand into the …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Aug 2016
Book learning, image via Shutterstock

Microsoft’s stealth scripting engine arrives on Android

m Flow, Microsoft’s stealth-mode scripting engine, has arrived on Android, six weeks after seeping onto iOS. The Flow app is similar to conditional workflow tools like IF (formerly IFTTT) and Tasker, which are far more mature. Strangely, consumer Office 365 accounts aren’t supported – you need to have a “work or school” …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Aug 2016

Vivaldi's tweaky grinders fire out another release: Add themes, security

The Vivaldi browser continues its rapid progress its third release in four months. The new binary largely contains bug fixes, with theme support the biggest new feature. In addition to the eight default themes you can add your own. Version 1.3 adds more mouse gestures – there are now more than 90 browser actions available …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Aug 2016
Blackberry DTEK 50

BlackBerry DTEK 50: How badly do you want a secure Android?

Review There’s something immediately odd about BlackBerry’s second Android phone, apart from the geeky Sci-Fi name. Something you can’t at first put your finger on. It’s the first BlackBerry ever not to have the BlackBerry name on the front. Perhaps in the consumer market now, the BlackBerry brand is so unfashionable, this omission …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Aug 2016
Android icon desktop toys

Calling all Droids: BlackBerry’s giving away the Hub

Any modern Android device running Marshmallow will soon be able to run BlackBerry’s Hub, launcher and its other PIM software previously restricted to BlackBerry devices. The Canadian company will sell them through the Google Play Store for non-BlackBerry devices for free, or a 99 cent per month subscription. The deal includes …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Aug 2016

Samsung Note 7: Probably the best phone in the world. Yeah – you heard right

Hands On Samsung unveiled the world’s best Android phone yesterday and I doubt if it will be bettered by anyone this year. But Samsung didn't name a price, nor assure us that the Note 7 will actually be available in the UK. (Its predecessor the Note 5 wasn’t and isn’t a UK product, we got the Edge 6+ instead, which doesn’t have all the …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Aug 2016
IBM Selectric Golfball

Samsung eyeballs new Note

Samsung today unwrapped Note 7, the latest in its line of category-creating phablet. (The company skipped a 6, going from 5 to 7). The update largely brings features already seen in the Galaxy S7 to the pen-friendly slab such as an Edge-style curved display, waterproofing and wireless charging. The device features a 5.7-inch …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Aug 2016

HTC Q2 sales crash

HTC recorded a fifth quarterly loss in calendar Q2, the Taiwanese handset maker confirmed today. For the quarter ended June, sales collapsed to NT$18.9bn ($597.7m/ £448.8m), down from NT$33bn ($1.04bn/ £783m) in the same period a year ago, as gross margin slumped to 11.4 per cent from 19.3 per cent. The company sold off some …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Aug 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary Update: This design needs a dictator

Hands on If you’ve travelled at all around suburban or rural Greece, Turkey or North Africa you’ll wonder why almost every other house seems to be permanently under construction. There’ll be a house extension underway that can take decades to complete. Sometimes it’s because there just aren’t enough builders or because more tax has to be …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Aug 2016
Still from tv show three's company  copyright  	DLT Entertainment The Program Exchange FremantleMedia /cbs

Three owner Hutch lobs sueball at EU over failed O2 buy

The owner of mobile network Three UK, CK Hutchison, has lodged a legal challenge against the European Commission. The Telegraph, which broke the story, says a filing has been filed with the General Court (formerly the Court of the First Instance), after the European Competition Commission blocked the acquisition by Hutchison. …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Microsoft buries the bad Windows Phone news: Mobile sales collapse

Microsoft has revealed how badly its Windows phone business has crashed via paperwork filed with America's financial regulator, the SEC. Nokia was shipping 7.3 million Lumias per quarter when the deal to acquire its phone unit was announced in September 2013. Nokia was shipping over 90 per cent of Windows Phones sold. But in …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016

Huawei P9 Plus: Leica-toting flagship gets a big brother

Review The P9 Plus deserves to be Huawei’s real flagship of 2016, and given the price tag, it’s a belter. Like the iPhone Plus, it feels like a very different beast to its smaller sibling. In a nutshell, you can save a small fortune by opting for the P9 Plus over an iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy S7, but you’ll miss out on the latter’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016

Apple's Car is Project Titan

Now. About the electric car that Apple never made? Oh, yeah. Reports earlier this spring suggested that Apple had revised its plans for "Project Titan" and would focus on developing embedded self-driving software instead of an electric car. Bloomberg now reports Apple has hired QNX co-founder Dan Dodge to beef up its efforts. …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016
screenshots from here we go maps app

Here WeGo! Google Maps rival drops Maps branding

Google’s only major consumer mapping rival, HERE, has dropped Maps from its app name in a bold rebranding exercise. After many hours in the Strategy Boutique, the map apps is now named after the ancient British football chant... Here We Go. The rebranding reflects HERE’s greater emphasis on route planning and directions, with …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jul 2016