Andrew Orlowski

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Xiaomi the money: China's latest IPO star tastes of bubble tea

Analysis Xiaomi's rush to go public is as much a sign of a speculative bubble as Bitcoin mania. Will it have a happy ending? Somebody seems to be in a hurry. Xiaomi is only just making a comeback from a crash last year. But for the few years prior to that, though, Xiaomi enjoyed astonishingly unctuous coverage. "Is Xiaomi the next …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2018

Microsoft wants to patent mind control

Microsoft has applied to patent a brain control interface, so you'll be able to "think" your way around a computer device, hands free. Last year, Facebook claimed to have 60 engineers engaged in BCI [brain computer interface] but Microsoft isn't going to take this sitting down. It's erm, sitting down and thinking really hard …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jan 2018

Facebook settles landmark revenge porn case with UK teen for undisclosed sum

Facebook has settled a case with a 14-year-old girl after the social network hosted revealing pictures of her on a Facebook "shame" page. In perhaps the first case of its kind in the world, Facebook was taken to the High Court by lawyers for a Northern Irish girl, whose nude picture was repeatedly posted to the page between …

Customers reporting credit card fraud after using OnePlus webstore

A large number of OnePlus customers claim to have been hit by fraudulent credit card transactions after making purchases on the phone company's site. And they're unhappy that the company has been slow to address the issue. Dozens of fraud reports of unauthorised credit card use were posted through on the company's support …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jan 2018

Shhh! DropBox 'quietly files' for IPO

DropBox has reportedly filed for an IPO, giving it fresh capital to fund a significant expansion. Bloomberg has reported that DropBox has lodged confidential papers registering for a public share offering. "Confidential offerings" were introduced in 2012 in the JOBS Act, allowing companies to perform a fund-raising roadshow …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jan 2018

Uncle Sam's treatment of Huawei is world-class hypocrisy – consumers will pay the price

Comment Let no one say that America's political elites are losing their talent for hypocrisy. Washington DC has welcomed the New Year with a display of selective Sinophobia – and it likely spoiled Huawei's CES. The vendor was expected to announce its first major American wireless carrier win this week, with US network AT&T …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jan 2018

Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

Interview Dive beneath the hype and the dry ice of CES, and it becomes apparent. The connected cars and electric cars being shown off in Las Vegas this week are not self-driving cars; and it has proved a lot harder to make an autonomous car than to sell the idea to an AI-obsessed think tank. Of the many obvious-in-retrospect reasons for …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jan 2018

Cortana. Whatever happened to world domination?

Analysis Somewhat harshly, Microsoft's Cortana was pronounced dead this week. Torn between wholesaling and retailing Cortana, Microsoft ended up doing a bit of both, and failed badly. It's also torn between what the brand actually means – an Alexa voice assistant, or an IBM Watson-like brand for analytics, covering a multitude of …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2018

Watt? You thought the wireless charging war was over? It ain't even begun

The inductive charging standards battle of the past few years is formally over, only weeks after Apple entered the fray. But don't be thinking the wireless charging war is over. Things might be just hotting up. Last week wireless charging company Powermat quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium, which certifies Qi- …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2018
man peers at mobile/cell with bewildered expression

Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing to Facebook

A Sky subscriber who illegally streamed a pay-per-view boxing match to Facebook has copped a plea with the broadcaster. Craig Foster, of Scarborough, England, had paid the £19.95 fee to watch the fight live last April, and invited friends round to watch. One pointed his iPad at the TV and in the spirit of information wants to …

Supremes asked to mull legality of Silicon Valley privacy 'slush funds'

Analysis Nothing expresses Silicon Valley's cynicism about privacy like its fondness for rewarding its friends from privacy class-action settlements – while class members get nothing. Now the US Supreme Court has been invited to consider whether such settlements are fair. These so-called cy pres settlements exploit a legal quirk, ("as …

Take notebooks: About those new Thinkpads...

Analysis For some professionals and enterprises there's only one name in laptops: Thinkpad, and there are hardcore Register writers who will agree. Now Lenovo has given three key business lines – the T, X and L series – their first major overhaul in four years. But there's good news and bad for traditionalists. The good news: both the …

How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini

Exclusive Production begins in January on the first new computer form-factor since the iPad – Planet Computing's "modern Psion", Gemini. It has already picked up an Innovation Award from the organisers of the International Consumer Electronics Show next month, where a formal launch will take place. And the project reached $1m in …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Dec 2017

Microsoft Surface Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Bigger, badder, better

Hands On You have £3,000 burning a hole in your pocket. You're also an engineer, developer or manipulate visual images. You also absolutely must have a touchscreen portable workstation, preferably with a display that detaches so you can go home and watch Netflix. If you're in that most slender Venn diagram intersection, then lucky, …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Dec 2017

BlackBerry grabs trolley for spot of tech shopping

BlackBerry's stock rose to a 2017 high despite widening losses and lower revenues than a year ago. This indicates that against a backdrop of pain from shedding those lovely handset sales, the market is betting the sickly Canadian business has turned a corner. The books for Q3 of fiscal '18 ended 30 November showed turnover of …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Dec 2017
RelaxAcizor ad from 1968

Google Chrome ad-blocking to begin in February – but what is it going to block?

From February 15, Google's Chrome browser will begin zapping ads that don't conform with new taste guidelines. But what those guidelines mean exactly is anyone's guess. Google confirmed that blocking would begin in a developer blog post. Google is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads – a group launched last year to …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2017
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Windows Store nixed Google Chrome 'app' hours after it went live

Microsoft has bounced a Google Chrome Installer out of its Windows Store, just hours after making it available for download. Google's "Chrome" app was a minimalist offering – merely sending the user to the official Chrome download app. In a statement to the press, Microsoft said it had removed the Chrome Installer because it …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2017

HTC U11 Life: Google tries to tame the midmarket

Review We rarely single out midrange phones for special attention here. Most are me-too models that don’t bring anything new to the marketplace. Exceptions to this rule need a jolly good reason: the Honor 7 dramatically shook up the market in 2015, while the industrial chic BlackBerry Motion was a business-oriented phone (rare) that …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2017
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How Google's black box Knowledge Graph can kill you

Comment When Knowledge Graph – Google's apparently authoritative box to the side of the search results – sneezes, the world catches a factoid flu. This was vividly dramatised with a recent NYT article where writer Rachel Abrams found she had "died" four years ago – according to the Infobox. She then tried to convince Google she was …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Dec 2017

Peak smartphone? iPhone X flunks 'supercycle' hopes

Anyone hoping that the 10th anniversary iPhone hype – including the revolutionary 3D poo emoji – would reinvigorate consumer interest in the product line may be disappointed. First-month iPhone sales are slower than last year, one analyst surmises, and for good measure the major Chinese Android vendors have cut stock orders by …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Dec 2017

Google asks browser rival Vivaldi to post uninstall instructions

Google asked rival browser Vivaldi to add uninstall instructions on its website download page – something Google doesn't do itself – after deactivating Vivaldi's advertising account earlier this year. Vivaldi is among the many software vendors that advertise products with the search giant. AdWords customers appear at the top …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Dec 2017

Microsoft's 'Surface Phone' is the ghost of Courier laughing mockingly at fanbois

The handful of fans anticipating a Microsoft "Surface Phone" should brace themselves for disappointment. Just-published patents filed by Microsoft look back rather than forward: back to Courier, the code name for a booklet-style, hinged dual-display tablet product that Microsoft canned in 2010. The "new" claims, filed in …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Dec 2017
BlackBerry Priv. Press pic

BlackBerry won't kill BB10 until 2020, pulls regular Priv updates

BlackBerry has announced "continuing support" for the legacy BB10 OS phones it once made – but won't be updating its first Android phone, the Priv, regularly any more. "Support" means many things, and though owners of phones like the BlackBerry Passport will be relieved that the BB10 app store will continue to remain open for …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Dec 2017
scrrengrab of iphone x face id from apple's website

Erase 2017 from your brain. Face ID never happened. The Notch is an illusion

Apple is said to have made a virtue out of a necessity with its iPhone X – creating the notorious "Notch" to house a sophisticated facial-recognition system, Face ID. Arch-rival Samsung didn't do away its fingerprint sensor, but perched it awkwardly on the rear of its Galaxy S and Note models. Both companies had made these …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Dec 2017
A TV aerial. Pic: Shutterstock

UK's map maker Ordnance Survey plays with robo roof detector

Britain's map maker is demonstrating that machine learning isn't all hot air – but has discovered just how much donkey work is involved. The Ordnance Survey set up an ML experiment to identify roofs from its remote sensing data (satellite and aerial imagery), and found the trial reached 87 per cent accuracy within a week, from …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Dec 2017

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