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Bosch Indego

Who needs a ride-on mower when a ROBOT will cut your grass

In December last year the UK's biggest DIY chain started stocking its first robot lawnmower. That's an insane time to try out grass-cutting technology, so we waited for June to get a proper look at the latest in automated high street grass maintenance. Bosch Indego Tennis court need a trim? Bring on the Bosch Indego The …
Bill Ray, 24 Jun 2014
Tablet PC and Hantarex CRT monitor

El Reg's contraptions confessional no.2: Tablet PC, CRT screen and more

Before wandering to pastures new, Bill Ray revealed he is definitely of the mind that, if it still works, why chuck it? His old kit isn't sitting in a box in the attic, he uses it all regularly. Hantarex, HP and Motion Computing Hantarex hails from Italy but established a UK operation in 1981 and is still going strong. The CTM …
Bill Ray, 07 Dec 2013
The second Sonic Screwdriver

Build your own WORKING Sonic Screwdriver... for a UNDER A FIVER

The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver has become steadily more iconic as the years progressed. Despite disappearing in the middle of the Time Lord’s career, it’s now firmly – not to say commercially – integrated into the Doctor Who canon. So there’s no more to say on the subject, right? Wrong. Earlier this year, the Sonic Screwdriver …
Bill Ray, 15 Nov 2013
Picture of a Hong Kong scout

Ging gang cloudy? IBM programmer packs it in for life as an online Scouts badge-tracker

Every week around 400,000 UK Scouts, Cubs, Explorers and Beavers meet and complete activities which contribute to potentially hundreds of badges - but the software which tracks their progress comes from a single enthusiast who saw a problem and created a solution. Ed Jellard was, and still is, a volunteer scout leader. He set up …
Bill Ray, 08 Nov 2013
Cartoon of Bill Ray, wearing hat

Reg mobile correspondent Bill Ray hangs up his Vulture hat

It's Friday afternoon and my last day as a reporter for The Register. After well over 4,000 articles, and seven years, I'm hanging up my hack's mac and filing away my Press card. I'm not jumping ship to The Telegraph or taking a seat at the New York Times as some of my colleagues have, partly because they never offered me the …
Bill Ray, 25 Oct 2013

Ofcom: By 2017, even BUMPKINS will have superfast broadband

Ofcom's annual report on the state of Blighty's infrastructure promises "near universal" superfast broadband by 2017 with only the most gentle of regulatory nudges. Seventy-three per cent of UK premises are already getting "superfast" broadband, with BT's Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) available to 57 per cent of UK properties and …
Bill Ray, 25 Oct 2013
VoLTE compatible: LG Revolution

Broadcom sheds 1,150 workers in race to bundle 4G silicon out the door

Chip maker Broadcom will shed 1,150 jobs as it struggles to keep selling 3G tech while getting its 4G product line out of the door. Revenue growth in the third quarter of 2013 was fairly flat for the company, which ships system-on-chips and communications ICs for use in mobile gadgets: sales were up a smidgen on last year to $2. …
Bill Ray, 25 Oct 2013

Samsung GROVELS ABJECTLY to Chinese state media

Samsung has apologised to China following an investigation by amusingly-named state telly channel CCTV, showing the South Korean firm's deference to the world's biggest market. The problem outlined on the programme appears to affect Samsung models including the Galaxy S3 and Note 2, apparently damaging the storage memory …
Bill Ray, 24 Oct 2013

Call me maybe: Orange loses a segment as competition bites

Former French monopoly mobile operator Orange has reported that its earnings and revenue are both down, despite increased customer numbers, as price-cutting hits the bottom line. Orange, the operator formally known as France Telecom, has customers around Europe and Africa, but not in the UK where it remains part owner of …
Bill Ray, 24 Oct 2013
AT&T logo

AT&T bags 363,000 new customers ... where did THEY come from?

AT&T has had a jolly three months, banking $3.8bn in profits and adding 363,000 new contracts. But it remains unclear from whence those new customers have arrived. Not only is the US's second-biggest network* growing, it's actually growing faster than it used to. AT&T's profit for the same quarter last year was a healthy $3.6bn …
Bill Ray, 24 Oct 2013

Locked into fixed-term mobile contract with variable prices? Not on our watch – Ofcom

Mobile operators who try to increase the price of a mobile phone contract during its term must now allow locked-in customers to escape, says Ofcom. The regulator's new rules kick in from the end of January, and only apply to new contracts, but all operators offering fixed-term contracts will have to provide 30 days' notice and a …
Bill Ray, 24 Oct 2013
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

Just HALF of 10m iPhone, Android BlackBerry BBM app downloads activated

Ten million people have apparently downloaded the new BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app for Android or iOS in just 24 hours. But with activations being metered out in half-million lumps it will be a while before they can all start chatting. The app, which brings BlackBerry Messenger to Android and iOS gadgets, was launched on …
Bill Ray, 23 Oct 2013
balaclava_thief_burglar

Met Police vid: HIDE your mobes. Pavement BIKER cutpurses on the loose

The Metropolitan Police have put out a video showing just how easy it is to steal a mobile telephone, as long as one has a scooter and a mate to go pillion. The video demonstrates three grabs, caught on CCTV cameras and shared with the public to help them see just how easy it is to lose a mobile phone, at least until the thieves …
Bill Ray, 23 Oct 2013
Google 'Glass' patent application illustration

Microsoft boffins test rival 'Google Glass' geek goggles, say insiders

Microsoft is working on a competitor to Google Glass: it's apparently sourcing parts and refining designs while it waits to see if there's a market for tiny screens perched on one's nose. The news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which has been chatting to the loquacious people "familiar" with Redmond's insides. These sources …
Bill Ray, 22 Oct 2013

Motorola parcels up enterprise Wi-Fi biz amid selloff rumours

Motorola – the bit which makes money and wasn't bought by Google – is looking to offload its Wi-Fi business now that everyone and their dog is flogging access points to enterprises. Motorola Solutions sells enterprise radios, from handheld walkie-talkies to citywide internet access networks and wireless LAN technologies, but …
Bill Ray, 22 Oct 2013
Engineers fitting antenna heads

Crown Castle blows $4.85 BEEELLION for rights to AT&T's cell towers

Wireless infraco Crown Castle International has bought 600 cell mast sites from AT&T and secured leases on 9,100 more for $4.85bn in cash. Crown Castle, which has been borrowing cash to buy up cellular infrastructure across America, will stump up the lump sum in exchange for outright ownership of the 600 sites, and exclusive use …
Bill Ray, 21 Oct 2013
Grumpy cat

That's a lotta cats: 40% of YouTube vids are streamed to mobes

40 per cent of YouTube streams are being delivered to mobile devices, to Google's delight – though this could seen as a failure to get beyond blink-and-you'll-miss-it cat videos into something more profitable. The numbers came out during a Google earnings call late last week, which showed the Chocolate Factory beating estimates …
Bill Ray, 21 Oct 2013
Google Nexus 4

Google's leaky ship spills new Nexus 5 photos, $349 price tags all over web

Google's next smartphone, the Nexus 5, will apparently be priced $349 just like its predecessor – but it will come with a bigger screen and more pixels to show off the much-heralded KitKat version of Android. The Nexus 5 has been comprehensively leaked all over the web, with purported photographs popping up on network operator …
Bill Ray, 18 Oct 2013

What the CUFF? Nokia shows how a smartwatch really OUGHT to work

Boffins working for Nokia have knocked together a prototype smartwatch with six screens, and patented the ways in which one might use it should such a thing ever become technically practical. The Nokia Facet isn't a product, it isn't even a prototype, but the functional model lets Nokia engineers work out how one might interact …
Bill Ray, 18 Oct 2013
Apple micro USB adaptor for iPhone

ITU to Europe: One charger for all mobes good. One to rule them ALL? Better

The EU is about to make micro USB charging mandatory on mobile phones, but the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is pushing to extend that regulation to everything handheld, making all electronic gadgets chargeable from the same cable. The EU regulation in question is the amended Radio Equipment Directive, which will …
Bill Ray, 18 Oct 2013
A photo taken with the iPhone 5s

iPhone 5S autopsy shows WHY it can't tell which end is up – dev

Balance problems plaguing the iPhone 5S popped up with the first reviews. But a teardown by Chipworks and the musings of an iOS dev have isolated a likely reason why the steering on that motor racing app is about 5 degrees off. It's all down to a replacement accelerometer which lacks the accuracy of its forebear. Although …
Bill Ray, 18 Oct 2013

Ofcom flogs ex-military 4G spectrum, but ONLY the iPhone 5 can use it

A fresh round of 4G spectrum auctions are in the offing as Ofcom proposes selling off surplus military frequencies at 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz, despite the fact that only the iPhone 5 can make any use of it. Another 190MHz of 4G spectrum will be up for grabs next year after being discarded by the military and heading for the auction …
Bill Ray, 17 Oct 2013
Square reader on an iPod Touch

Send dosh (insecurely) via email, Jack Dorsey's Square tells punters

Not content with revolutionising shopping as we know it, uber-cool money-transfer outfit Square has launched a peer-to-peer payment system – secured only by an SMTP password. Square – the payment firm developed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey – has debuted a new service, Square Cash, which authorises transactions with an email. …
Bill Ray, 17 Oct 2013

Nokia, Indian upstart square up to Google's mighty mapping empire

Google's assumed dominance in online maps is being challenged in India by Nokia's efforts and separately an upstart service in the country. And the outcome of this battle could send tremors throughout the world. First, the local competition: WoNoBo, launched by mapping operation Genesys, presents 360-degree panoramas of the …
Bill Ray, 16 Oct 2013

'Patent trolling' InterDigital CAN ask ITC to ban Nokia mobes: Supreme Court

Nokia has failed to get the US Supreme Court to rule that the International Trade Commission shouldn't hear cases involving companies whose business only involves patents, despite supporting evidence from Amazon, Red Hat, and HP – and to the delight of InterDigital. Nokia recently lost an appeal in an ongoing court case against …
Bill Ray, 16 Oct 2013

All cool kids' phones run ALTERNATIVE alternative custom Android ROM

Android users who want a custom ROM*, but are turned off by Cyanogenmod's attempts to go commercial, now have another option in the form of the newly-launched OmniROM. OmniROM comes from several of those involved in CyanogenMod, who lost interest when those in charge of the most popular replacement firmware committed the …
Bill Ray, 16 Oct 2013

Slip your SIM into a plastic sheath, WIPE international call charges

A sticker slapped onto a SIM card can cut international calls by 98 per cent, and guarantee a 50 per cent saving on business spending, without changing numbers or phones. The sticker comes from BiBiTel, and is really a second SIM which sits between the handset and the operator SIM. Most commands are passed straight through, but …
Bill Ray, 16 Oct 2013
Spectrum Oyster Card holder

Hong Kong underground gets pay-by-bonk

The Octopus card, used to pay for tubes, buses, ferries and trams in Hong Kong, is now available as an NFC app for download onto an operator SIM, making pay-by-bonk a reality in the Chinese administrative area. The app will only run on a handful of Sony phones, and NFC player Gemalto is providing 5,000 new NFC-enabled SIM cards …
Bill Ray, 15 Oct 2013

Let police track you through your mobe - it's for your OWN GOOD

Two thirds of emergency calls are made from mobile phones, many of them from people who don't know where they are, and Ofcom wants to know if we should be tracking their locations. When a call is made to 999 (or 112, or 911, depending on your neck of the woods) the communication provider is required to provide the caller's …
Bill Ray, 15 Oct 2013

Problems at Home: Facebook opens alpha testing to world+dog

Facebook is recruiting adventurous fanbois willing to become alpha testers for the next version of its Android client. The social network warns that the process "is not for the faint hearted" as features will be altered "several times a week" and the app's stability will be deliberately rocked during tests, but it's the ideal …
Bill Ray, 14 Oct 2013
A German Type Ae 800 observation balloon

Jawohl! Vodafone gets nod for £6.5bn Kabel Deutschland slurp

Vodafone now owns just over three quarters of Kabel Deutschland, following a shareholder meeting which approved the British operator's takeover of the German telco, creating a one-stop-shop for continental consumers. The buyout, which cost Vodafone £6.5bn, was announced back in June but has been awaiting shareholder approval and …
Bill Ray, 14 Oct 2013
Telephone. Copyright: macinate

Custom ringback tones: Coming to your next contract mobe?

Ringback tones, which replace the ringing tone one hears while waiting for a phonecall to be connected, are about to explode back into fashion, if vendor OnMobile is to be believed. Technically speaking, ringback tones (RBTs) are trivial to implement. The "brrr brrr" (or "brrrrrrr" in some countries) one hears while waiting for …
Bill Ray, 14 Oct 2013
The bay

TAT-1: Call the cable guy, all I see is a beautiful beach

A cabled telegram first crossed the Atlantic in 1858, but it took almost a century for voice calls to follow, being carried by the TAT-1 Cable which landed at Oban in Scotland, where we went along to see it. Back in 1955 a phone call to Canada, or the United States, would require booking several hours in advance as the various …
Bill Ray, 14 Oct 2013

Ofcom, it's WAR! Mobe networks fire broadside over 2G spectrum pricing

The UK's mobile network operators have successfully kicked off their PR campaign against spectrum regulator Ofcom, painting themselves as surprised victims of governmental incompetence. Most of the media coverage of Ofcom's tripled fees for the 2G frequencies focused on the potential for higher mobile pricing. This left no …
Bill Ray, 11 Oct 2013

YouTube turns on dormant DRM, permits official downloads

From next month the YouTube mobile app will let users download videos and keep them for 48 hours of disconnected viewing before they disappear into the DRM'd ether. Users uploading videos can opt out, but in-stream adverts will also be cached and viewing figures will be uploaded once the device reconnects, so there seems little …
Bill Ray, 11 Oct 2013
EE 4G banner

BT Mobile inks network deal with EE, dumps Vodafone

BT Mobile will be switching from Vodafone's network to EE's, pushing aggressively back into the mobile space it departed when it sold off Cellnet in 2002. There aren't many details available on the move yet, apart from the fact that EE has been selected from a number of various possible suppliers (three, at an informed guess) …
Bill Ray, 10 Oct 2013
Google Chocolate Factory

Google's Wi-Fi not good enough for its home town

Google's offer of free Wi-Fi to its home city of Mountain View isn't good enough for residents who have been struggling to make use of the overloaded service – but now they're finally getting an alternative. Google got permission to strap access points to lampposts around Mountain View in 2005, launching the free network a year …
Bill Ray, 10 Oct 2013

Brace yourselves, telcos: Ofcom triples cost of 2G spectrum holdings

Ofcom has set out charges for mobile operators who want to keep the 2G spectrum they were allocated in the '80s, and it's about triple what they're paying now. Numbers are in millions of pounds, and will go up every year Following the 4G auction, the problem remains of allocated spectrum; frequencies which were handed over to …
Bill Ray, 10 Oct 2013

Azerbaijani election app announced winner before polls even opened

The official mobile app for tracking the Azerbaijan election got a little premature in announcing a victory for the incumbent – by doing so a good 12 hours before voting had even opened. Not only did the app, which comes from the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan, report on Tuesday that incumbent president Ilham Aliyev …
Bill Ray, 09 Oct 2013

EU digital tsar 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes: Telcos must adapt to losing roaming cash

Europe's digital tsar Neelie Kroes has been defending her call for greater integration of telcos across Europe, and appears to be arguing that what she described as "artificial" lowered roaming revenues should not hinder the telcos' greater investment in European infrastructure. Neelie's plan is to get rid roaming charges across …
Bill Ray, 09 Oct 2013

Samsung touching up ROUNDED, CURVY plastic enhanced MODEL

Samsung has launched what it describes as the "world's first curved display smartphone", the Galaxy Round. This is despite the fact that Samsung built the last phone with a curved screen only three years ago. You can't get your hands on one yet, though – the new handset, which has a flexible 5.7-inch high-def display, is only …
Bill Ray, 09 Oct 2013

Digia gives Android and iOS devs a chance to get Qt

App and UI framework Qt is finally coming to Android and iOS in the form of Qt Mobile Edition, allowing cross-platform apps to take their GUI from desk to pocket for only $150 a month. Unveiled at the Qt Developer Days in Berlin, the Mobile Edition provides everything the Qt developer needs to get apps onto mobile devices – or …
Bill Ray, 09 Oct 2013
Stained glass angels

Be prepared... to give heathens a badge: UK Scouts open doors to unbelievers

From next year, British atheists and their offspring will be able to join the Scouting movement without having to lie or breach their Scout's honour, thanks to an amended promise. All Scouts, and Scout leaders, are required to make the promise. The words vary with age group, and alternatives exist for different religions, but …
Bill Ray, 09 Oct 2013
LG's 55-inch curved OLED TV screen

LG starts producing flexible, curvy displays you can STROKE

LG's display unit has confirmed it is beginning mass-production of a flexible, "unbreakable" screen for its new smartphones. The screen is capable of curving rather more than one might want on a handset but, more importantly, it's made of plastic. LG describes the new screens as "bendable and unbreakable", which is a little …
Bill Ray, 08 Oct 2013

Bling, bling, it's HTC here: Clear us a place on the gold phone bandwagon

While Apple and Samsung mess about with gold-coloured phones, HTC has plated real gold onto five of its HTC One handsets as a promotional exercise for the forthcoming Mobo awards. There will only be five blinged-out HTC One handsets for the awards, with the winner of the best newcomer award at the Mobos getting one of them. We …
Bill Ray, 08 Oct 2013

Three BILLION people now potential nodes for the transfer of cat videos

By the end of this year 40 per cent of the world will be on the internet, with 30 per cent of today's youth never knowing a world without IP. That's according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) which, when it's not secretly plotting for control of cyberspace, counts up some figures and bundles them into an …
Bill Ray, 07 Oct 2013

Tech specs wreck: Details of Google's Nexus 5 smartphone LEAKED over interwebs

A leaked manual for Google's next flagship phone, the Nexus 5, shows a filled-out screen, a faster CPU, more memory and full 4G support, but no shocks, in the ongoing evolution of Android. The manual, leaked to Android Police, is an engineering tome packed with technical specifications and debug procedures, enough to show that …
Bill Ray, 07 Oct 2013

Investor lobs sueball at BlackBerry, says it 'misled' shareholders

A BlackBerry shareholder has filed a lawsuit accusing the company and its chief exec and CFO of inflating its share price with unrealistic promises about BB10, leading to thousands of investors getting burnt. The suit was filed in federal court in Manhattan, New York, by one Marvin Pearlstein, in the names of "thousands" of …
Bill Ray, 07 Oct 2013

Microsoft: Oh PLEASE, HTC. Who says Windows Phone can't go on an Android mobe? – report

Microsoft has asked HTC to install Windows Phone as a user-selectable option on its Android handsets, according to a recent report. The news comes from Bloomberg, which has been chatting to the omniscient "people familiar", who reckon Redmond was prepared to sacrifice its licence fee if HTC would include the OS as an option on …
Bill Ray, 04 Oct 2013
Planetoid crashes into primordial Earth

O2, Tesco Mobile go titsup for 220,000+ Brits in 13-HOUR 3G cockup

Nearly quarter of a million O2 customers struggled to make calls, send texts and use their mobile internet connections yesterday. The outage, triggered during upgrade work on the operator's 2G and 3G systems, also hit Tesco Mobile and came only a day after O2-owned GiffGaff suffered similar problems. Tesco and GiffGaff are both …
Bill Ray, 04 Oct 2013