Andrew Orlowski

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Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters

Comment According to an old Chinese proverb: "When a wise man points at the Moon, an idiot looks at his finger." Google may have been hoping that you were examining a finger, not reading a Quartz story yesterday, which reveals how Android phones send location data to Google without you even knowing it. Google received the data even if …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2017
Bored cat on computer, photo via Shutterstock

Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

SIM-only contracts are now the most popular kind of mobile deal in the UK, as punters step off the tedious upgrade treadmill. Retail watcher GfK estimates that SIM-only contracts now account for 29 per cent of the UK phone market. Almost half, or 44 per cent, stayed with their network, but moved from another deal to SIM Only ( …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2017

As Google clamps down, 'Droid developer warns 'breaking day' is coming

Mobile app developers are being forced to rewrite their code as Google attempts to tame Android's Wild West. The developer of the power management app Greenify has been given 30 days to alter its code by the gatekeepers at Google's Play Store, and stop using Google's accessibility framework. The framework is used by …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2017

Arm Inside: Is Apple ready for the next big switch?

One day we'll look back and wonder why it took PCs so long to move from RISC chips that had to pretend to be CISC chips to RISC chips that didn't have to pretend to be anything. From CISC to RISC The Apple Mac made its debut in 1984 running Motorola's 68k chips, then the most efficient in the PC industry. Apple switched to …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2017
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Back to the Fuchsia: The next 10 years of Android

Part Two In Part One we described how, after 10 years, Android was uncannily similar to Windows after 20 years. But similar is not the same. Android is like Windows in as much as it's dominant – and also anarchic, fragmented, insecure, with a user base that lags far behind the latest code. The platform owner is accused of all kinds of …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2017
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Nathan Barley blamed for global GDP slump

Nathan Barley, the insufferable "self-facilitating media node" of Charlie Brooker's TV series, may be a prime culprit for Britain's lack of productivity growth. Not Barley, personally, but as the number of self-employed has risen – particularly in media and tech – real output per hour has remained in the doldrums, notes Dhaval …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2017

OnePlus 5T is like the little sister you always feared was the favourite

Review OnePlus has settled into the groove of releasing two flagships a year, and this Christmas-time 5T reiteration may well piss off the fans who bought the OnePlus 5 released in the summer. It's better all round, sports the 6-inch 18:9 OLED that's a genuine flagship display... and it's the same price as before. So £499 buys you some …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2017

Why Boston Dynamics' backflipping borg shouldn't scare you

It's alive, it's terrifying, and it does perfect backflips! Boston Dynamics' gymnastic research robot Atlas has caused a minor panic on social media. With skills like this, surely humans are doomed? Here it is. Youtube Video And here's Boston's Mini Spot. Youtube Video But hold on. What could this be? It's one of Boston's …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2017

OnePlus 5 x T + five short months = Some p*ssed off fanboys

BBK Electronics' OnePlus venture rolled out its second flagship of 2017 yesterday, the OnePlus 5T going on sale just five months after its predecessor, the OnePlus 5 in June. While posing as a plucky startup, the real picture is slightly more complicated. OnePlus is wholly owned by the biggest Chinese phone vendor, with around …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2017

US trade cops agree to investigate Apple's 'embrace and extend'

A patent lawsuit alleging that Apple froze out a third-party software developer has been given credence by America's International Trade Commission (USITC), which will investigate the complaint. Los Angeles-based Aqua Connect Inc claims to have created the market for a Citrix-like multiuser Mac desktop system, only to see …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Nov 2017

The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

Interview The Mozilla Foundation has officially launched a radical rewrite of its browser, a major cross-platform effort to regain relevance in a world that seems to have forgotten Firefox. The much-rewritten browser claims to be twice as fast and uses 30 per cent less memory than Chrome, although this comes at the cost of compatibility, …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Nov 2017

Windows on ARM: It's nearly here (again)

It's a milestone in Windows history: the first benchmarks for a new generation of ARM-powered Windows hardware have been sighted in the wild. Geekbench has recorded an instance of a box running Windows 10 on the "Qualcomm CLS" platform. This entry describes an octocore processor, running 8GB of memory, and cites a Qualcomm …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Nov 2017
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Apple succeeds in failing wearables

An expensive and clunky-looking watch that can’t tell you the time* is once again clear winner in the failing smart wearables space. Overall the market for things-on-your-wrist-with-a-chip-in dipped 2 per cent, or 17.3 million units, in Q3, but Apple regained top spot, according to Canalys, thanks to the third generation Apple …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Nov 2017

BlackBerry Motion: The Phone That Won't Die

48-Hour Test The oddly named "Motion" – not an odd word, just an odd choice – is BlackBerry Mobile's second phone as a new venture, a quasi-startup housed within Chinese giant TCL. It's a hefty slab of durable, full-touch, midrange metal modelled after a Scandinavian industrial workshop. You may be wondering what's the point? A BlackBerry …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Nov 2017

Sean Parker: I helped destroy humanity with Facebook

The billionaire and former Facebook president Sean Parker now says he regrets helping turn the social network into a global phenomenon. The site grew by "exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology" with its greed for attention and the careful reward system it created to keep users addicted. "We need to sort of give you a …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2017

UK Home Sec thinks a Minority Report-style AI will prevent people posting bad things

Comment The Home Secretary believes artificial intelligence will soon be used to stop people posting on the internet pre-emptively with a kind of Minority Report-style "precrime" unit. Amber Rudd made the call at an event hosted by the US think tank the New America Foundation. The Home Secretary castigated the platforms for taking " …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2017
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Android at 10: How Google won the smartphone wars

Part One It was an anniversary that prompted much reflection. The Platform had completely triumphed and was now ubiquitous, relied on by people all over the world. You could find the Platform in almost every conceivable kind of device, from cars to TVs. Although Apple had once been the pioneer, it now had to settle for life in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2017

How do you like them Apples? Farewell sensible sized fones, forever

Some ominous news if you like your phones small and unobtrusive. Apple’s “Plus” model has outsold its regular iPhone sibling for the first time. Canalys estimates Apple shipped 5.4 million iPhone 8 units in Q3, but 6.3 million units of the larger iPhone 8 Plus. “This makes the iPhone 8 Plus the first iPhone Plus model to out- …

Tesla buys robot maker. Hang on, isn't that your sci-fi bogeyman, Elon?

Troubled Tesla Inc. has quietly acquired Perbix, which designs robot production lines. Perbix was already a Tesla contractor. "With the acquisition of Perbix, Tesla further advances its efforts to turn the factory itself into a product – to build the machine that makes the machine," the electric carmaker burbled on its website …

Facebook's send-us-your-nudes service is coming to UK, America

Facebook has begun conducting a pilot where it solicits intimate photographs of women – and it will soon offer the service in the United Kingdom as well as the US. Anxious exes who fear their former partner is set on revenge porn will be urged to upload photographs of themselves nude. A hash of the nude image is created and …

Logitech: We're gonna brick your Harmony Link gizmos next year

Updated One more reason to avoid cloud-reliant Internet of Things – as if you didn't have enough already. Owners of Logitech's universal remote controller have been told the product will stop working after March next year. Harmony Link is one of a range of home hub products offered by Logitech. Link owners have been offered a discount …

China-owned Opera touts big comeback

Opera released an overhaul of its browser today, and claims to have grown its market share substantially in the year since it was acquired by a Chinese private equity company a year ago. Monthly active users have increased 25 per cent in 2017, Opera says, with the UK 50 per cent up year-on-year. The browser received a makeover …
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Better filters won't cure this: YouTube's kids nightmare

Comment For the "smartest guys in the room", Google often seems to be the last to know what’s going on in its own front room. And something very strange indeed is going on over at YouTube. The artist James Bridle – who created the witty "self-driving car trap" (spoiler: it's a chalk circle) – has been investigating the outer reaches …
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Google's answer to the Pixel 2 XL CRT-style screen burn in: Lower the brightness

“Ask more of your phone,” is the Pixel 2's official marketing slogan. It's not a good sign when early adopters are asking Google for more support. And they got a little today, as Google has starting rolling out Android firmware updates to address hardware woes plaguing its new Pixel 2 and flagship Pixel 2 XL smartphones. You …
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Give us a bloody PIN: MPs grill BBC bosses over subscriber access

Sketch With the TV landscape changing faster than some viewers change their socks, today's marathon grilling of BBC bosses at Westminster took on some urgency. Amazon and Netflix are already here in millions of UK households – and Apple is coming, reportedly making a multibillion-dollar investment in studios and material. So although …

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