Articles about Consumer

BlackBerry hopes you'll gobble up its $299 midrange biz 'Droid

BlackBerry today took the wraps off its first phone of the year, the cryptically named DTEK50. As rumoured, BlackBerry has based its second Android phone on a reference design from TCL, which owns Alcatel, and "security hardened" it with BlackBerry's Android. BlackBerry also confirmed that a monoblock QWERTY Android was on the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jul 2016
Man in a suit drinking tea out doors reading from his tablet

Huawei big, margins slimmer

Huawei revenue rose 40 per cent over the first half 2016, from the same period a year ago, although the employee-owned company didn’t disclose its profits. Revenue was declared at ¥245.5bn ($36.6bn) for the first six months of 2016. Margins were lower, at 12 per cent, down from 18 per cent. Huawei has increased its consumer …
Team Register, 25 Jul 2016
Twilight Zone, 'Time Enough At Last'

Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer runs out this Friday, 29 July 2016, one year after the initial release, and a few days before the Anniversary Update. "This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – …
Tim Anderson, 22 Jul 2016
Woman looking sceptical. photo by shutterstock

They kept that quiet. PC sales via distributors DID rise in Q2

It is a Friday and El Reg is pleased to be able to answer the burning question on the lips of readers across the land - just how did PC sales via distribution do in the second quarter? They went well. Though retailers and wholesalers bought in stock conservatively, as recorded by Gartner and IDC, channel analyst Context …
Paul Kunert, 22 Jul 2016
Burning money, photo via Shutterstock

AT&T: Money? Oh, sure, no I'm fine – I'm doing great (if you ignore my phone business)

AT&T says wireless revenues are down in what was an otherwise solid quarter for the US telecom giant. Its second quarter of 2016 [PDF] period was, overall, a success thanks to solid returns from the newly-acquired DirecTV. They were, however, tempered by falling revenues in other areas. Quarterly revenues were $40.5bn, up 22 …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jul 2016

The cloud ain't making it rain for Intel right now: Tech giants pause server chip sales

Analysis Intel's stock price fell on Wednesday after it became clear the processor maker is not selling quite as many server processor chips as investors had hoped. The Silicon Valley giant reckons its CPU sales into data centers will hit double-digit growth by the end of the year. So far, with half the year gone, we're staring at mid- …
Chris Williams, 21 Jul 2016

UK's digital strategy must account for Brexit, say MPs

The UK government must explain how its long-awaited new digital strategy will be impacted by the country's decision to leave the EU, a committee of MPs has said. The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee in the UK parliament made the call in a new report on the digital economy in which it also said there is a need to …
OUT-LAW.COM, 21 Jul 2016
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft Azure doubles up to $800m a quarter – and is wiped out by dying phone sales

Analysis All eyes were on Microsoft's cloud business today as it published its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results. Amid the numbers, Redmond boasted that its Azure revenues from the quarter were up 102 per cent year-on-year – we estimate the cloud service's revenue to be about $800m in total for the period. Meanwhile, …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2016
Apple patent drawing

Shock: Apple patents the phone book

Apple has been granted a patent that suggests its future MacBooks will come with built-in phone hardware, giving the notebooks mobile broadband connectivity. The patent, granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, describes a method for embedding high-speed LTE hardware into the shell of a notebook computer, using the …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Jul 2016
brexit_crashing_pound_currency

ASUS first Asian PC maker to warn of price hikes... in 2.5 months

Exclusive ASUS has confirmed the UK list price of computers are expected to rise on average by nine per cent in the Christmas quarter due the weakening of the British pound versus the US dollar. Unlike American rivals Dell and HP Inc, the Asian PC makers have been far slower to react to currency swings, with Lenovo and Acer still unable …
Paul Kunert, 19 Jul 2016
Opera singers

Opera sells open-source Chromium browser for $600m to Chinese bods

Opera will sell its web browser technology to Chinese investors for $600m after a larger sale worth $1.2bn fell apart. The Norwegian company said in a filing to the Oslo Børs stock exchange that it had agreed to an arrangement that will see the Chinese-backed Golden Brick Capital Management private equity fund take control of …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Jul 2016
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UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

The closure of the UK government's Department of Energy & Climate Change should result in a major rethink of the organisation's shambolic and costly £11bn Smart Meter programme, campaigners have urged. Last week DECC was merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to form the newly anointed Department of …
Kat Hall, 18 Jul 2016
Softbank_structure

Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn

Updated British semiconductor designer ARM is about to be acquired by Japan's SoftBank. The New York Times reports the deal is imminent. The FT has put a value on the deal: US$32.4bn. That's a premium of about $10bn over ARM's market capitalisation. SoftBank is a sprawling company that operates a telco in its Japanese home but is …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2016

FTC lets Nest off the hook over Revolv IoT hub bricking shame

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided not to move forward with an investigation into smart-home company Nest and its decision to end support for the Revolv hub. In a letter [PDF] to the Google stablemate, the regulator said it had "decided not to recommend enforcement action at this time," referencing "confidential …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2016
Privacy image

Cloud giants demand overhaul of America's privacy rules on overseas servers

Technology trade organizations have urged the US Congress to replace the country's antique privacy protection laws – after a New York court stopped American prosectors from seizing emails from servers offshore in Ireland. A Second Circuit Court in the so-called "Irish Warrant" case, brought by Microsoft against the US …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2016
Man looking up spiral staircase inside deltalis mountain data centre

Your next storage will be invisible (for a while)

In the last two or three years I've talked a lot about "Flash & Trash." A two-tier storage strategy to best cope with the increasing demand of high IOPS and low latency from primary applications on the one hand, and high capacity, associated with throughput at times, on the other. This kind of need depends on the type of …
Upset man in suit and drinking liquor. Photo by Shutterstock

One in five consumers upgraded to Win10 for free instead of buying a PC

Microsoft’s free upgrade of Windows 10 hit PC makers where it hurt though the extent of this was apparently a surprise to the software giant, data druids at Gartner have claimed. According to a survey by the holders of the Magic Quadrant, one in five consumers that upgraded to the free version of the OS decided they didn’t …
Paul Kunert, 15 Jul 2016
Autopilot

Dear Tesla, stop calling it autopilot – and drivers are not your guinea pigs

Tesla is misleading drivers about the efficacy of its Autopilot feature and is putting lives at risk, according to Consumer Reports. The automaker's autopilot system, when engaged, is supposed to control the speed of the vehicle and its distance from other rides and objects – but it's more of a super-cruise-control than a …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2016

EU eyes flaw in Google’s cash machine

Analysis The European Commission has opened an aggressive new front in its battle with Google, one that Google thought it had secured years ago. And this is one that starts to gnaw away at Google’s core cash generation business. As well as advancing its prosecution of Google over vertical search, the new third area where the Commission …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

Symantec, Intel carve out diminishing slice of growing security market

Worldwide security software revenues rose 3.7 per cent to reach $22.1bn in 2015, according to analyst Gartner. Security information and event management (SIEM) remained the fastest-growing sub segment of the cybersecurity biz last year, experiencing 15.8 per cent growth. By contrast, consumer security software recorded a 5.9 …
John Leyden, 14 Jul 2016
Big pipe, photo via Shutterstock

5G: Mother of all pipes, or actually useful?

The 5G standardization timeline is set, demos and proofs of concept are proliferating, and claims to 5G world firsts are on the rise. Yet, many mobile operators and vendors don’t really know what future 5G networks will be needed for beyond better mobile broadband services, and they’re calling on potential industry users for …
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EU waves antitrust claims in Google's face, snarls 'You want some?'

EU antitrust regulators have accused Google of preventing rivals from competing in online advertising and search, deepening its existing probe into anti-competition allegations against the ad-flinger. The antitrust charges are the latest effort to clamp down on the advertising biz, following existing investigations claiming …
Kat Hall, 14 Jul 2016

50 CELEBRITY SECRETS EXPOSED scores year behind bars

The New York man behind a 2014 data dump site exposed.su has been sentenced to a year in prison, plus 12 months for time already served, for doxing high-profile figures including First Lady Michelle Obama, Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and artist Jay Z, and placing dozens of highly-dangerous swatting calls. Mir Islam, …
Darren Pauli, 13 Jul 2016
Partnership

IBM caps '20 years' of deep MS love with Surface deal

IBM has become the latest sometime hardware giant to agree to push software giant Microsoft’s client hardware - years after selling off its own client devices business. MS device marketing general manager Brian Hall said in a blog post that IBM had joined the Surface Enterprise Initiative along with consultancy and contracting …
Joe Fay, 12 Jul 2016
Stranded_ships

Falling PC tide strands Seagate's disk drive boats. Will WDC follow?

Comment Seagate has announced its latest quarterly results will be unexpectedly good but there will be employee bloodshed. Another 6,500 layoffs on top of the 1,600 announced in June will take place. WDC did say it was cutting 507 US staff in June but these are the tip of an expected iceberg, which will see thousands of positions …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jul 2016
Robots2, image via Shutterstock

A journey down the UK's '3D Tongue' into its mini industrial revolution

One of the few "horizon" technologies that is really making a difference right now is 3D printing. While other "big hope" concepts such as genetic engineering, nanotech and quantum physics have yet to make much of an impact, 3D has been making immediate inroads into traditional, sometimes ancient manufacturing techniques. …
Marcus Gibson, 12 Jul 2016
Greenland iceberg

Backblaze hopes to melt Amazon Glacier customers' hearts

Backblaze has announced its B2 cloud object storage for $0.005/GB/month as an alternative to LTO tape drives. Unlike Amazon’s Glacier tape storage, its disk drive retrieval starts in seconds and takes minutes instead of hours and days, it claims. The first 10GB is free each month and there is no data upload charge. Download …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jul 2016
Samsung's Gear 360 camera

Samsung deals out microSD-crushing faster fingernail flash cards

Samsung has released a new format fingernail-sized removable flash card that can handle more data faster than microSD cards. The Samsung UFS (Universal Flash Storage) card has 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacity points. This compares to Samsung’s microSD cards which come in 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128GB sizes. The fastest of them, …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jul 2016

IBM scraps loyal staffer gifts in favour of... a congratulatory social page

Petty managerial powers-that-be at IBM have thrust forward an exceptionally mean redesign of the company's loyal employee rewards scheme - gifts are to be scrapped for a “social congratulatory page”. Big Blue insiders told us the firm will now honour three, five, 10 and 50 years service in a new and special way, though the …
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

Galaxy S7 Active can't swim, claims site. But it can, vendor retorts

Samsung is defending its latest line of Galaxy S7 phones after a report questioned the water-resistance claims made by one model of the handset. Consumer Reports claims that the Galaxy S7 Active fails to hold up under the water immersion claims made in Samsung's ads, most notably that the Active can operate after being dunked …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2016
Telstra from Shutterstock

Consumer advocates call on Telstra to set customers free after outages

Australian consumer group CHOICE wants Telstra to release customers from their contracts, after months of repeated outages. Presenting its latest analysis of telecommunications plans, which unsurprisingly bells Telstra as the most expensive kitty in the litter, CHOICE says “free data days” are no longer an adequate response …

When is a refurbished server not refurbished? Ask this Dell reseller

Sysadmin blog What's the difference between a refurbished server and a new one? The term refurbished has a negative connotation, conjuring images of open box returns and non-existent warranties, but in at least one case – Dell's ecosystem – that narrative doesn't quite fit. xByte Technologies is a company of about 50 people based out of …
Trevor Pott, 08 Jul 2016
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Remember those stupid hoverboards? 500,000+ recalled in the US after they started exploding

Vid Half a million hoverboard users should hotfoot it to the hardware's makers and get a replacement, lest they go up in flames. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recall notices against 10 manufacturers and retailers for 501,300 self-balancing scooters aka hoverboards. The lithium-ion batteries powering the gizmos …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jul 2016

So. Farewell then, BlackBerry Classic. You were a classic ... of sorts

BlackBerry has confirmed it won’t make any more BlackBerry Classics, marking the end of an era. US Senate staff were told BlackBerry was ceasing production of all BB10 devices but BlackBerry denies this, and insists that only the Classic production line has halted for good. “It has been an incredible workhorse device for …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jul 2016
Woman in horse mask takes a selfie. Photo by Shutterstock

'Digital influencers' must disclose paid-for content, says new guidance

Online publishers, bloggers, tweeters and other "digital influencers" must "clearly and prominently" label content they are paid to produce as paid-for promotions, new guidance developed by a body of regulators from around the world has said. The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), in work led by …
OUT-LAW.COM, 06 Jul 2016
Scaremongering image from Wi-Fried

Australia's ABC suspends presenter over 'Wi-Fi is dangerous' claims

Australian public broadcaster ABC has suspended the presenter behind its unscientific “Wi-Fried” Catalyst programme that aired earlier this year. Presenter Dr Maryanne Demasi of the popular science program swallowed wholesale the claims of scare-mongers like Devra Davis and Canadian opponent of Wi-Fi in schools, Frank Clegg. …
stripped copper for recycling

Oz competition regulator seeks input on ending wholesale ADSL declaration

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is considering whether the eventual advent of the National Broadband Network (NBN) means wholesale DSL regulation can be retired. Wholesale ADSL – that is, where a reseller is taking the service from an infrastructure owner like Telstra, and adding their own billing – …
Gold Plate My BlackBerry Passport

New phones rumoured as BlackBerry cans BB10 production

Federal government staff in Washington DC have their own private underground metro system but they might not be getting any more BlackBerrys. A recently uncovered memo appears to tell United States Senate staff they’ll no longer be equipped with the once ubiquitous BlackBerry phones because they are to be discontinued. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Jul 2016
A cute cat in a jumper waves goodbye.... Pic via Shutterstock

Android tablets too bitter a pill for Dell

Dell is getting out of the Android tablet market, citing oversaturation and weak overseas demand for a decision to quit offering the operating system on its Venue tablets. The company will also take its Android-based Wyse Cloud Connect stick computer off the shelves. Its response to all comers is to say the market is …
The British Pound - Sterling currency tumbles post Brexit

Sterling's post-Brexit dollar woes are forcing up tech kit prices

Tech vendors don’t want to admit it but CIOs will need to return to their spending plan spreadsheets: hardware is going to get more expensive post-Brexit as sterling slides against the US dollar. The UK currency fell 12 per cent on 24 June when the outcome of the EU referendum emerged, and this week the pound plunged to a 31 …
Paul Kunert, 01 Jul 2016
recruitment_hired

Microsoft names Cindy Rose as first first lady of UK ops

The fires were lit and a chicken sacrificed at Microsoft’s Reading HQ campus today as new UK CEO Cindy Rose was sworn in* - the first female to run the business locally. Rose was poached from Vodafone where she was head of the consumer division. 1 July was her official start date though she won’t slip into the CEO hot seat for …
Paul Kunert, 01 Jul 2016

FCC starts running from cable box rip-off kill-off

Twenty billion dollars is a lot of incentive, as the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found out. Following a proposal in January, later approved by three of the five FCC Commissioners, cable companies would be obliged to let third parties produce set-top boxes by making subscriber and channel information …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jun 2016

Apple, Amazon and Google are screwing us, warns Elizabeth Warren

Potential vice-president and Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren has accused tech giants Apple, Amazon and Google of undermining competition and using their political clout to kill off efforts to place limits on them. Giving the keynote [PDF] at a one-day conference titled "America's Monopoly Problem," the senator warned: " …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jun 2016
Value pack of two tins of Spam

Amazon slashes mobe prices to get more eyes on lockscreen ads

Amazon has slashed the cost of its mobile handsets in return for customers eyeballing more personalised spam – its latest attempt to foist more e-commerce tat on consumers. The deal is open to Amazon Prime members who will have to sign up to "personalized offers and ads displayed on the phone's lockscreen." Customers will be …
Kat Hall, 30 Jun 2016
Sun shines on the clouds. Photo by Shutterstock

Brexit, schmexit: BT and Oracle join hands for a cloudy tryst

BT has hopped into bed with Oracle in a deal that promises to provide the underlying network connectivity for Oracle’s hybrid cloud. BT Cloud Connect for OracleFastConnect is built on BT’s IP Connect virtual private network (VPN) and will link customers' on-premises IT to Oracle data centres in London or Amsterdam. The deal …
Kat Hall, 29 Jun 2016

Chatbot lawyer shreds $2.5m in parking tickets

An "automated lawyer" chatbot service has successfully challenged and overturned more than $2.5m in parking tickets in New York and London, according to its inventor. The Do Not Pay service automatically generates an appeal if people fit the criteria to challenge a parking ticket – all using publicly available information – …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Jun 2016
Brexit financial crash

Post Brexit tech spending to rise like a lead balloon

Yet another analyst has delivering a damning forecast for tech spending following last week’s UK referendum decision to leave the European Union as major suppliers prepare staff for what could months of slowing sales. Channel-watcher Canalys projected local sales spending of $90bn to $100bn for the year before Brits voted to …
Paul Kunert, 28 Jun 2016
Memristor_wafer

Never-never chip tech Memristor shuffles closer to death row

Comment Martin Fink’s HPE Labs has been dangling the Memristor in front of us for years. With Fink retiring and HPE Labs losing its independence, becoming part of Antonio Neri’s Enterprise Group, inventing far out blue sky stuff will likely shift to devising technologies that can be realistically productised. The Memristor cannot. The …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jun 2016

Powerful ARMs, heaving racks ... yes, of course it's this year's student cluster-building contest

HPC Blog It's time for our traditional video look at each of the teams in the ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) 2016 Student Cluster Competition. Let's take it alphabetically this time... Team Boston Green: They're one of two teams utilizing ARM processors to fuel their cluster. A lot of ARM processors, about 800 cores …

'I urge everyone to fight back' – woman wins $10k from Microsoft over Windows 10 misery

A California woman has won $10,000 from Microsoft after a sneaky Windows 10 update wrecked the computer she used to run her business. Now she's urging everyone to follow suit and "fight back." Teri Goldstein – who manages a travel agency in Sausalito, just north of San Francisco – told The Register she landed the compensation …