Articles about Consumer Electronics

Sick bag from Intel's VR event

Too much landfill, too little purpose: CES 2017

In the nearly 25 years since last walking the showfloor at the Consumer Electronics Show, the video game industry spun off its own show - E3 - while once-dominant television manufacturers now find themselves consigned to an ever-shrinking footprint with the Las Vegas Convention Centre. The world has changed substantially over …
Mark Pesce, 10 Jan 2017

CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

Pics It's that time of year again, when over 100,000 people cram into the Las Vegas Convention Center to show off the latest in consumer electronics gizmos, make deals, and exchange interesting viruses to get the inevitable conference cough. This year's CE has been about par for the course – dull keynotes, some interesting gadgets …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jan 2017

TCL vows to keep BlackBerry alive

At least one manufacturer thinks a business-focused Android has prospects in 2017. Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL allowed journalists to fondle the next BlackBerry at CES this week, under strict conditions. The device wasn't given a name or release date, and no specifications were released. That must wait for a formal …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jan 2017
Hello Barbie

Mattel's parenting takeover continues with Alexa-like dystopia

Today in “what could possibly go wrong?”, the company that gave the world the infamous “Hello Barbie” now wants its Amazon Alexa look-alike in kids' bedrooms. To wild applause from consumer gadget media, Mattel is pitching its Aristotle (with a female voice because that's how Greek philosophers roll these days) as a virtual …

Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

CES 2017 The annual godforsaken hypegasm that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has given an "innovation award" ... to a Wi-Fi-connected microphone-fitted allegedly "smart" hairbrush. A comb through the technical specs of the Kérastase Hair Coach, a snip at around $200, reveals the high-tech hairbrush has sensors that …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jan 2017
Conceptual illiustration of fifth/sixth dimension. Finger presses light net. pHOTO BY shUTTERSTOCK

Uh-oh. LG to use AI to push home appliances to 'another dimension'

CES 2017 LG Electronics is unveiling a range of home appliances embedded with “deep learning technology” during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Riding on the coattails of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon, the hype around deep learning - a branch of machine learning - shows no sign of fatigue as companies like LG are …
Katyanna Quach, 03 Jan 2017
Matthew with the magic spheres

Bluetooth: Remember us? Internet of Things before it was a Thing?

Analysis Bluetooth 5 has finally been unveiled, with headline claims of 200-metre range (quadrupling that of Bluetooth 4) and doubled bandwidth (now 2Mbps). There is a clear focus on Internet of Things devices and applications, but no sign of the proposed mesh protocol, which would do even more to improve the spec’s capabilities. The …
Wireless Watch, 14 Dec 2016
Nantero NRAM chip

Someone just chucked another $21 million at carbon nanotube memory techies

Nantero’s 16-year march to carbon nanotube memory products just got another slug of cash to help it on its way, over $21m, to be specific. NRAM (non-volatile RAM) is a DRAM replacement and not a DRAM-flash gap-filler, like, for example, Intel and Micron’s 3D XPoint. The firm was founded in 2000 and its technology involves a …
Chris Mellor, 12 Dec 2016

Microsoft's Neon project to redesign Windows for nerd goggles – reports

Microsoft is allegedly revising its Windows 10 design language to embrace the brave new world of virtual reality viewed through techno-spectacles. Having first annoyed desktop PC users by forcing them to use a phone UI (Windows 8), and then annoyed phone users by forcing them to use a desktop UI (Windows 10 Mobile), perhaps …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Nov 2016

MP Kees Verhoeven wants EU to regulate the Internet of S**t

The Democrats 66 (D66) party, currently in opposition in The Netherlands, hopes it can legislate insecure stuff away from the Internet. The suggestion comes in a multi-part initiative put together by MP Kees Verhoeven, who also wants The Netherlands to fund a local threat analysis capability and a national cyber security …
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Portable drive, 5TB capacity. Hmm, there's something fishy here

Sitting in my desk drawer is a 500GB Hitachi Life Studio Mobile. External drive, pathetic capacity. Seagate has a 5TB Backup Plus Portable external drive in the same physical size, with ten times as much storage space. The Backup Plus is 20mm thick and comes in 4TB or 5TB configurations having, we understand, a 15mm thick …
Chris Mellor, 14 Nov 2016
bubble

LeEco – the Chinese biz that said it'll topple US tech giants – has already hit the rocks

Less than a month ago, Chinese media and electronics firm LeEco made its glitzy launch into the US market. However, its founder Jia Yueting has just told staff that the firm is in trouble. Back then LeEco (pronounced Le Echo) promised a smartphone better in spec to Google's Pixel or Apple's iPhone but costing half as much; a $ …
Iain Thomson, 08 Nov 2016
Cow photo via Shutterstock

Ubuntu Core Snaps door shut on Linux's new Dirty COWs

Canonical has released Ubuntu Core 16 for IoT, featuring Linux self-patching for a generation of users against future Bash or Dirty COWs. Ubuntu Core 16 features Snaps, a zip file concept Canonical says will streamline IoT device updates protecting against hackers and data loss. Snaps shipped in Ubuntu 16.10 but Ubuntu Core is …
Gavin Clarke, 03 Nov 2016
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Samsung's free-falling financial flameout

Samsung's global Galaxy Note 7 recall has already wiped out 96 per cent of its mobile division's profit margins, the company announced yesterday. The division recorded a 2.4 trillion (tn) won (US$2.09bn) profit in Q3 2015, but that's plummeted to 0.1tn won (just $8.7 million) in Q3 2016. That dragged down Samsung Electronics …
Cloudy shopping trolley in the sky (representing cloud sales/procurement). Photo by Shutterstock

Amazon certifies third-party refurbishers: How good and new is good as new?

Amazon has launched a new service called "Certified Refurbished" to encourage customer confidence when purchasing second-hand consumer electronics. The programme will see certain vendors and third-party refurbishers certified on the Amazon marketplace to sell products which “look and work like new”. Amazon informed us that …

WD gets flash boom bang from SanDisk swallow

+Comment WD's disk and SanDisk-boosted flash sales boomed as overall revenues in its first fiscal 2017 quarter rose to $4.7bn, up 40.6 per cent on the year-ago $3.4bn. But it reported a net $366m loss. Why a loss? A year ago it made a profit of $283m on lower revenues. This time around there were charges associated with WD’s recent …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2016

Let's praise Surface, not bury it

Comment Yes, I know the new Surface kit unveiled by Microsoft (hands-on and roundup) is both lavishly over-engineered and ludicrously expensive. You know that. We all know that. But that's not the point. The Surface extravaganza is a good thing. Faced with a mortal threat, Microsoft is doing something it should have done years ago – …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Oct 2016

Wow, everyone loves our drives, says Seagate sitting on a pile o' cash

Seagate's latest quarterly revenues benefited from an upsurge in disk drive demand – but still declined slightly year-on-year. The biz managed to bank a five-fold increase in profits, though. Revenues for Seagate's first fiscal 2017 quarter, ending September 30, were $2.8bn, a 4.3 per cent decline from the year-ago's $2.92bn. …
Chris Mellor, 19 Oct 2016
Sony Morpheus prototype VR headset

Virtual reality is actually made of smartphones

The world didn’t pay much attention to the fifth anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death, back on the 5th of October. Perhaps that’s because we believe we’ve all moved on. But that’s less true than we believe, in both some very obvious and very non-obvious ways. First, the obvious: the smartphone is now undeniably the most …
Mark Pesce, 13 Oct 2016
Galaxy Note 7 truck fire aftermath

Samsung puts out battery fire (no, not that one)

Samsung has received a welcome bit of news about its batteries that doesn't involve the words "fire" or "explosion." The Korean electronics giant has struck a settlement deal with Dell to drop allegations that it helped rig the price of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery packs for more than a decade. Samsung had been among a …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Oct 2016

Google's home tat falls flat as a soufflé – but look out Android makers

Comment This year’s bid by Google to fill your home with its tat collapsed like a soufflé yesterday – but at least one part will have a huge impact. In the phone world, the impact of its Pixel brand on its partners will be huge. Google had hyped the consumer event as the biggest since Android’s launch, but since it added only one new …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Oct 2016

WTF ... makes mobile phone batteries explode?

Explainer It has been a bad month for Samsung. Following the release of the dual-curved, 5.7 inch-screen, water-resistant Galaxy Note 7 phablet, the number of fires have increased thanks to its reportedly explosive battery. A number of lawsuits relating to alleged mobile phone combustion have since been filed. The Korean tech giant …
Katyanna Quach, 22 Sep 2016

TV industry gets its own 'dieselgate' over 'leccy consumption tests

The idiot box is smarter than it seems: a spat has broken out between America's Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Consumer Technology Association about the energy consumption of televisions. The NRDC reckons TV makers are configuring sets to perform well on government tests, while in the living room they become …
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65 expert speakers reveal secure identity management solutions at Biometrics 2016

Promo Need to know to more about the role of biometrics, such as fingerprint, DNA, facial and iris recognition, in identity management? Sign up now for Biometrics 2016, three days of expert insight and discussion in the heart of London from 18 to 20 October 2016. You can get more information and sign up at Biometrics 2016 but here …
David Gordon, 14 Sep 2016
Samsung SUHD 5K TVs

Phones exploding in kids' hands, shares tanking – but it's not all good news at Samsung

Samsung is continuing to take a beating in the market as it staggers from the global recall of its Galaxy Note 7 handset. The Korean consumer electronics giant saw its stock price plummet 6.98 per cent on Monday to 1.46m Korean won per share. This resulted in roughly $15.9bn of value trimmed from Samsung's market cap on the …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Sep 2016

The Rise, Fall and Return of TomTom

Interview Yesterday TomTom announced seven new consumer products (eight if you count the two SatNav units) with four fitness and three navigation products, its highest High Street profile for some years. Corinne Vigreux Corinne Vigreux Tech pundits were preparing the last rites for the SatNav pioneer a few years ago, but it has …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2016
UK pound crashes after Brexit

Brexit? We have heard of this, says Dixons Carphone CEO

The UK's vote to leave the European Union has not dampened UK shoppers’ gadget lust, according to Dixons Carphone, which has reported a four per cent year-on-year hike in Q1 sales for the 13 weeks ended 30 July. The consumer electronics and mobile tech borg, created in 2014, saw sales bounce across the entire group – led for …
Paul Kunert, 08 Sep 2016
An artist sketches with Yoga Book

Lenovo's tablet with a real pen, Acer's monster laptop, Samsung Galaxy S3 watch

IFA 2016 August 31st was press day one ahead of the IFA event in Berlin, which means vendors lining up to show off their latest efforts in (mainly) consumer electronics. Acer kicked off the madness, unveiling the "world's first laptop with a curved screen," though you should think twice before letting the 8 kg Predator 21X gaming …
Tim Anderson, 01 Sep 2016

Sharp's new CEO warns of job losses amid 'optimization'

The new CEO of Sharp Electronics has warned that there will be job losses at the consumer electronics company amid a broader restructure. Tai Jeng-wu now heads the company following the takeover by Foxconn for $3.8bn, which saw the giant take a 66 per cent ownership stake. The job losses have long been rumored, and Foxconn …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Aug 2016
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Oh dear, Xiaomi: '$46bn' winner's phone shipments tumble 38%

Only nine months ago China’s Xiaomi was being touted as “the next Samsung” - a consumer electronics giant with the breadth and ambition to create platforms or "ecosystems". The markets valued Xiaomi at an astronomical $46bn, twice the valuation of BAE. But this year, Xiaomi forgot to do something quite basic: sell enough phones …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Aug 2016
Tim Cook, photo2 by JStone via Shutterstock

Tim Cook's answer to crashing iPhone sales: More iPhones

Apple’s plan to tackle the great iPhone sales slump is for it to produce, yes, more iPhones. CEO Tim Cook, in a scripted Q&A with the Washington Post, dismissed the six-month drop-off in sales of iPhones – and slowing smartphone sales in general. Apple is now expected to release the iPhone 7 in September. Cook reckons …
Gavin Clarke, 15 Aug 2016
Falling profits

Foxconn profits plummet 31%

Chinese manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology, aka Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, has suffered a dramatic fall in profits. The factory giant is still very profitable, according to figures out today, with net income of 17.7 billion New Taiwan dollars ($566m) in the second quarter of 2016. But that's down 31 per cent from the …
Iain Thomson, 12 Aug 2016

Apple gets judge to hit ctrl-alt-delete on $625m FaceTime patent troll

A US District Court judge has thrown out an earlier $625m verdict against Apple in a long-running patent trial over FaceTime – and ordered a new trial. Judge Robert Schroeder of the Eastern Texas US District Court issued an order [PDF] granting Apple's motion for a retrial on the grounds that the jury was not properly …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Aug 2016
Slipway

Seagate scoops a revenue boost off back of its 8TB drives

Seagate has beaten its own preliminary fiscal 2016 fourth quarter estimate of $2.65bn revenues with a $2.7bn quarter. Still, this was 6.9 per cent less than a year ago, although 3.8 per cent up on the third quarter. Profits were $70m, 49 per cent less than a year ago but a whole, thumping lot better than last quarter's $21m …
Chris Mellor, 02 Aug 2016
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
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
Raspberry, image via Shutterstock

Raspberry Pi 3 tops SBC poll for self-brew hackers and Linux folk

The 64-bit Raspberry Pi 3 has topped a poll of 81 single-board Linux and Android systems among Linux folk. The 2016 Single Board Computer (SBC) Survey saw the Raspberry Pi 3 slide into the number one slot ahead of the Odroid-C2 and BeagleBone. A Raspberry Pi 2 topped the SBC poll in 2015, only this time organisers reckoned …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Jun 2016
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Huawei taps ex-Nokia devs for 'secret phone OS project'

Just when you thought the platform wars had settled down into a cosy duopoly, Huawei is reported to be working on “an alternative mobile operating system”, according to reports. “The team working on the project is based in Scandinavia and includes ex-Nokia employees,” The Information scooped. The secret project is said to be …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2016

Apple pollutes data about you to protect your privacy. But it might not be enough

Comment At its WWDC developer event last week, Apple strongly emphasised the difference between data harvesters such as Google and Facebook, and its own privacy practices. It isn’t a new line, as Apple hasn’t been on reliant on digital advertising as these consumer data processing giants. But with Microsoft joining Google and Facebook …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jun 2016
Facepalming statue

Samsung: Don't install Windows 10. REALLY

Updated Samsung is advising customers against succumbing to Microsoft’s nagging and installing Windows 10. The consumer electronics giant's support staff have admitted drivers for its PCs still don’t work with Microsoft's newest operating system and told customers they should simply not make the upgrade. That’s nearly a year after …
Gavin Clarke, 31 May 2016
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Tech spending in Europe is slowing, a fatter Tech Data belches

Tech Data has said it is countering the slowdown in IT spending across Europe by nabbing market share from Ingram Micro rivals, though it stopped short of naming those leaky ships it is pinching business from. The IT distie titan reported group sales of $6bn, up one per cent year-on-year for Q1 ended 30 April; revenues in the …
Paul Kunert, 27 May 2016

Apple: Another bug fix. Er, thanks, GCHQ

GCHQ’s CESG (Communications-Electronics Security Group) assurance arm was behind the report of an OS X bug to Apple that the consumer electronics giant patched last week. The UK’s signals intelligence is perhaps better known in security circles for finding and exploiting software vulnerabilities in order to spy on foreign …
John Leyden, 23 May 2016

Kobayashi Maru gets real: VR and AR in meatspace today

Three years ago few people other than hardcore gamers and those working in specialist industrial fields were still talking about VR. It was a gimmicky technology cursed by the “P” word (“potential”) and huge, ungainly headsets that generated a flurry of interest in the late 1990s that quickly evaporated. Today, it’s big news …
Alistair Dabbs, 13 May 2016

Italians rattle little tin for smartmobe mini lenses

An Italian "microscopy, consumer electronics and micro-optics" outfit is offering smartphone and tablet owners the chance to get up-close and personal with the world via "an ultra portable and very affordable set of 2 mini lenses which turns your smartphone or tablet into a digital microscope". Working with the Istituto …
Lester Haines, 11 May 2016
Coconut face by https://www.flickr.com/photos/22327649@N03/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Watch it Apple: time has come for cheaper rivals' strap-ons

Apple Watch started 2016 on a losing streak, ceding market share* to a range of cheaper rivals. Q1 is a hangover quarter across the entire consumer electronics sector, and particularly in wearables, which can be expected to suffer a post-Christmas slump. Strategy Analytics has estimated that Apple shipped 2.2 million in Q1 …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2016
WD RE4 Enterprise disk drive

Trouble at t'spinning rust mill: Disk drive production is about to head south

+Comment A sea change is looming in the disk drive industry as drive spindle motor maker Nidec reduces its total disk drive demand number. Nidec is a Japanese company and has the largest market share of any such manufacturer. It foresees demand for about 400 million units in 2016, down 13 per cent from its previous October 2015 …
Chris Mellor, 26 Apr 2016
Charis Tsevis's icon montage of Steve Jobs

Done making the big stuff better? The path to Apple's mid-life crisis

Apple at 40 Forty years ago today, Yasser Arafat was on the front page of The New York Times, the cover of Time magazine was screaming about "The Porno Plague," Johnnie Taylor sang "Girl you ought to be on T.V. on soul train" as his "Disco Lady" topped the US pop charts, and the Apple Computer Company was born. Apple co-founder Steve …
Rik Myslewski, 01 Apr 2016

Apple mulled gobbling its Brit GPU designers – but didn't like the taste

Apple was considering buying Imagination Technologies – designers of the PowerVR graphics processors in its iPhones and iPads – but walked away from the deal. In a statement today via Imagination and the London Stock Exchange, the Cupertino giant said: "From time to time, Apple talks with companies about potential acquisitions …
Chris Williams, 22 Mar 2016
Promo pic of Intel-acquired Replay Technologies FreeD product.

Intel in 3D and virtual reality dash

Comment Intel and Qualcomm are increasingly extending their reach beyond their core chip technologies and into surrounding technologies and even applications. Both seek to enhance their revenues and account control with end-to-end offerings in key emerging areas of technology such as virtual reality. Last week, Intel acquired Replay …
Wireless Watch, 21 Mar 2016

Apple iPhone GPU designers Imagination axes 20 per cent of staff

Brit chip design house Imagination Technologies will shed a fifth of its workforce in a £27.5m ($40m) cost-cutting spree. The Hertfordshire-based biz said on Thursday it will lay off about 200 people in addition to the 150 it said in February it would make redundant. That adds up to 350 or 20 per cent of its 1,700 headcount …
Chris Williams, 17 Mar 2016