Andrew Orlowski

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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
The Essential Phone

No one saw it coming: Rubin's Essential phone considered anything but

Andy Rubin's ambitions to create a new consumer electronics ecosystem are floundering at base camp. Sales of Essential's phone, which forms a key part of the strategy, are tepid. Google Play reports a mere 50,000 download of Essential's Camera app so far, the Android Police blog notes. This doesn't paint the full picture, but …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Dec 2017
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Hey, we've toned down the 'destroying society' shtick, Facebook insists

Facebook has taken the unusual step of responding to comments by former VP Chamath Palihapitiya that the social media giant was "destroying how society works". Palihapitiya said that executives ignored cautionary instincts when creating Facebook, and he now regretted the consequences. The Sri Lanka-born investor who grew up in …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Dec 2017

Why is Wikipedia man Jimbo Wales keynoting a fake news conference?

Comment The co-founder of the website that has propagated some of the internet's most enduring falsehoods on an industrial scale will address a Westminster conference about "fake news". Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia will keynote a Westminster Media Forum entitled "Next steps for tackling fake news". Among the topics is "collaboration, …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Dec 2017

Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

Oracle's long-running legal battle to get what it believes is it's fair share from Google's Android reopened this week – the second time an Appeals Court on Federal Circuit has examined the issue. The first hour overran with a bumpy ride for Google. In under an hour we got an idea of the battle lines, and the judge's …

EU toys with Pandora's Box if it reopens e-commerce directive

Exclusive European policy makers are considering the unthinkable and reopening the EU's e-commerce directive, according to multiple sources. UK industries have been invited to contribute their thoughts, on the basis that the directive will be amended in the lifetime of this Parliament. The delicate balance enshrined in Directive 2000/31 …
Free range chicken and farmer photo via Shutterstock

Yes, Britain has an urban-rural 4G schism. This is what it looks like

Real world performance gleaned from thousands of British mobiles sheds light on how LTE in the boondocks performs outside major urban areas. And it may not be as bad as you think. Tutela, whose network performance measurements we highlighted earlier this week was able to determine how long users spend on LTE, or whether they’ …
Inside Google's Hyderabad office

OK Google: A stranger with stash of pirated films is spamming my Google Team Drive

Google seems powerless to stop its Google Drive file sharing service being exploited by a spammer who has linked other users to their stash of pirated movies, among other dubious files, users have complained. Team Drives is part of Google’s G Suite offering, aimed at businesses, education and other professional organisations. …

Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

Comment "Won't somebody think of the children!" Hur hur. It's the great, sarcastic war cry of the childless middle aged tech guy. For example, when somebody wants to restrict extreme smut. "Won't somebody think of the children?!?" cries Shed Man. Cackle cackle. Sure, let nobody think of the children, ever, and let's see what kind of …

Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return

Review HMD's efforts to put the Nokia brand over what we call the "Shenzhen generics" formula haven't exactly set the world on fire yet. But in all honesty, you'll struggle to find anything better for £399, the revised price of the Nokia 8. China's supply chains and market maturation have caused a great levelling in the phone …

EE drops packets but retains UK network champ's title

EE’s dominance as the best-performing UK mobile network has one or two surprising short comings in the No.1’s performance. Real-world data suggests Vodafone has the best network for 4G packet loss and EE the worst. We rarely see measurements for packet loss, jitter or latency on mobile networks and these come from Tutela, a …
Raspberry, image via Shutterstock

Vivaldi Arms onto Raspberry Pi

The power user’s browser Vivaldi has come to the Raspberry Pi and other Linux Arm boards. The Chrome-based browser will run on all three generations of the Pi, as well as the CubieBoard and ASUS’s Tinker Board, Vivaldi said today. Vivaldi has supported Linux (and Mac) since it made its debut, but this is the first Arm port, a …
penny slots in a cash register

Bring me your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to see behavioural advertising

Just because you earn a dollar a day shouldn’t mean you're lost to the behavioural advertising industry. Not to be confused with Android One, Google has introduced a featurephone-sized package of Android, called Android Go Oreo Edition, aimed at phone makers targeting emerging economies. And like Nokia’s short-lived Android …

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: The unfashionable estate car wants to go to town

Review The Mate is Huawei's phablet range, but Huawei has traditionally taken a different approach from Samsung with its Note. The Note was an upmarket Jag and the Mate was what Americans call a station wagon, and what we call an estate: a dependable, but never fashionable, workhorse. While flagships got thinner, more beautiful and …
zombie_648

From the graaaaaave! WileyFox's Windows 10 phone delayed again

WileyFox's Windows 10 Mobile – yes, you read that correctly – has been delayed again, and will now bump into Santa doing his rounds early. The catchily named "Wileyfox Pro with Windows 10" phone was announced in August, and WileyFox is sure that it can profit from Microsoft's neglect of its Windows phone customers. Over at the …

Android Wear hardware boss bails

The engineering chief and public face of Google's wearables efforts has bailed. Belfast-born David Singleton was previously described as "the Engineering VP leading the Android Wear, Google Fit, Android Essentials apps and Google Store teams." He's joining digital payments company Stripe. The operation, started by two bright …

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the failest mobe of all?

Ten times as many Android users experience performance issues than iPhone users, although twice as many iPhone users report signal issues. Then again, Android apps crash one seventh as often as iOS apps, with Facebook's apps filling three of the top-four crash rankings. The figures come from Blancco's quarterly "State of …
Johnny Cab

Total recog: British AI makes universal speech breakthrough

Interview SpeechMatics, the company founded by British neural network pioneer Tony Robinson, has made major advances in speech recognition. Speechmatics’ Automatic Linguist can now add a new language to its system automatically – without human intervention or tuning – in about a day, crunching through 46 new languages in just six weeks …

That 70s Show: Windows sprouts Sets and Timeline features

Microsoft isn't short of good ideas – but getting good ideas into Microsoft products, which then stay alive for a long time, is another thing. New builds of Windows 10 will feature a couple of these – and they're features that hark back to the utopian computer labs of the 1970s. One feature, Sets, yokes related documents …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Nov 2017

Ad-filtering fiend Eyeo: Morning has broken, like the first morning

Interview When I last interviewed Eyeo comms chief Ben Williams a year ago, the smell of gun smoke and scorched flesh hung in the air. Our piece was headlined: Adblock overlord to Zuckerberg: Lay down your weapons and surrender. But things are much calmer now. Over the past year, the use of ad-blockers on the desktop has levelled off, …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Nov 2017

The plucky local Mom 'n’ Pop phone maker faces death

People are spending a little more on their phones, squeezing local and niche phone manufacturers. “The market is consolidating around bigger players. Small players with low price propositions are really struggling,” Gartner’s Anshul Gupta told us, reflecting on the Gartner’s latest numbers. Gupta has seen the trend of higher …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Nov 2017
Group of young people yawning/looking bored. Photo by shutterstock

Can't wait for 5G? Don't then, Gigabit LTE will be around for ages

While 5G suffers the usual, protracted birth pangs, unfashionable Gigabit LTE is going to be how your mobile bits are delivered for ages. CCS Insight notes that 43 operators have either deployed Gigabit LTE already or are in trials to do so. T-Mobile says it has deployed the three key technologies needed for Gigabit LTE – 4x4 …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Nov 2017

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