Articles about Consumers

Acer C720 Chromebook

Consumers start feeling the love as Chromebook sales surge

Chromebooks are set to become the next big thing in personal computing devices after sales skyrocketed by two thirds over the last quarter. Shipments of Chromebooks jumped 67 per cent during the second quarter of 2014, and are projected to double in size year-on-year according to ABI Research. Acer moved the most Google- …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Oct 2014
Slurp

Euro consumers have TOO MUCH choice – telco operators

Three or four market players is plenty, at least according to the GSMA, the association that represents nearly 800 mobile operators. At an event in Brussels this week, GSMA director Anne Bouverot said it was ridiculous that there were nearly 100 players in the EU market while the US does perfectly well with four or five. In …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014

UK consumers particularly prone to piss-poor patching

UK consumer patching practices have worsened still further over the last three months, increasing the threat of malware problems, according to a new study by IT security provider Secunia. Secunia estimates 12.6 per cent of UK users are running unpatched operating systems, up from 9.7 per cent the previous quarter. In addition, …
John Leyden, 30 Oct 2014
Fight sticker

Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

A top US law enforcement commissioner has claimed European data protection authorities are too worried about helping consumers instead of robustly enforcing privacy laws. Speaking at CPDP2015 in Brussels, Julie Brill, privacy commissioner for the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defended the US approach to protecting privacy …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Jan 2015
GreenPeak senior lifestyle app

Consumers beware! Ofcom's seen a scary new mobe nasty: APPS

Telecoms industry regulator Ofcom has just noticed that there are things called “apps” and has decided that people might like to know about them. “Apps are becoming an increasingly important way to communicate and access the internet through our phones, tablets and TVs”, explains the “Using apps safely and securely on your …
Simon Rockman, 11 Mar 2015

Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey

Consumers carelessly use public Wi-Fi without regard for their personal privacy, even blithely agreeing to surrender their first born in exchange for the opportunity to check their emails without paying. That's according to an experiment which involved setting up a "poisoned" Wi-Fi hotspot. Unsuspecting users who connected to …
John Leyden, 30 Sep 2014
Windows 8.1 Update Start Screen

Microsoft blinks, extends Windows 8.1 Update deadline for consumers

In a move that should surprise no one, Microsoft has extended the deadline when consumers must install the Windows 8.1 Update to avoid being cut off from future security patches to June 10, giving them a 30-day reprieve. "While we believe the majority of people have received the update, we recognize that not all have," Microsoft …
Neil McAllister, 12 May 2014
An Android robot blushes from embarrassment

Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Stats from self-pleasuring site Pornhub (link vaguely NSFW - no pics but still contains the word Pornhub) show that mobile viewing has overtaken desktop, and Android is the OS of choice for viewers of its select content. The, ahem, growth is in part down to the site removing its limit on the number of videos a day that can be …
Simon Rockman, 12 Jan 2015

Apple execs: 'Consumers want what we don't have'

The latest patent row between Apple and Samsung is showing the unpleasant details of the ongoing market battle between the two consumer electronics giants. In documents submitted to the San Jose District Court, internal memos from the two firms show that Samsung has become fixated on Apple more than any other competitor in the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Apr 2014
top of the bt tower

BT: Consumers and cost cutting save the day

Cost cutting and 88,000 new broadband punters helped BT bank more profits in calendar Q3, although revenues went in the opposite direction as all divisions outside of the consumer wing reported declining fortunes. The former comms state monopoly turned over £4.38bn of sales in the quarter ended September, down two per cent year- …
Paul Kunert, 30 Oct 2014
Bufo marinus (aka Cane Toad) - a regular four-legged version

Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Analyst outfit Gartner has likened the Apple Watch to the invasive Kudzu vine, an Asian plant that has become a pest around the world. Kudzu's survival strategy, says analyst Robert Hetu, relies on its ability to find deep water with carbohydrate-rich roots and a habit of growing vines and leaves in triplicate to give it …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2015
Malcolm Turnbull

Lower prices are BAD FOR CONSUMERS, says Turnbull

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has intervened in an Australian Consumer And Competition Commission (ACCC) inquiry, warning Australia's competition regulator not to cut the wholesale price of fixed line services. The letter, co-signed by finance minister Matthias Cormann, warns the ACCC that varying the price of Telstra …
netflix

Give ALL the EU access to Netflix, says Vince Cable

Seemingly frustrated at not being able to stream films in his Belgian hotel room, Business Secretary Vince Cable is calling for an "online single market" to address the weighty issue of making UK Netflix content accessible across the EU. Without unfair discrimination all online streaming services such as Netflix should be …
Kat Hall, 20 Jan 2015

Carmakers DEFLATED by AIRBAG FLAW as US watchdog recalls TWO MEELLION vehicles

More than 2 million SUVs and cars have been recalled by a US regulator, after manufacturers including Honda and Toyota failed to fix defects found in the airbags of some of their early Noughties' models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HTSA) confirmed that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx had announced …
Team Register, 01 Feb 2015

Consumers shove EMEA PC market down giant hole of DOOM

Businesses that flushed calendar year-end budgets came to the aid of the PC market in late 2013 – but not in the sort of numbers that could have rescued the sector from its consumer-induced coma. According to the bean counters at IDC, 26.7 million traditional portables and desktop were sold into EMEA channels during Q4, some 6.4 …
Paul Kunert, 20 Jan 2014
Asteroid mining

MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

Given the venal nature of what passes for a heart beating in this chest of mine, what really interests me is who is going to make all the moolah from this rushing off into space and mining 'n' stuff. But this isn't a question that appears to have a simple answer, for there are five groups here and each will have a problem with …
Tim Worstall, 04 Dec 2013
Angry-looking cat. Pic by  Guyon Morée from Beverwijk, Netherlands. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

The government's hated smart meter programme – which will slap consumers with a bill of £10.9bn – is in danger of becoming a "costly failure", a government report has said. The report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee said it does "not believe" plans to install 53 million devices in homes and businesses by 2020 will be …
Kat Hall, 09 Mar 2015

Botched NBN installs leave folks with no internet, or recourse

Australia's Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Simon Cohen says the agency can do little to help subscribers dealing with broken National Broadband Network (NBN) installations. While the agency can flag complaints with NBN Co, the entity building and operating the NBN, it appears unable to do anything to force the utility to …
Darren Pauli, 04 Mar 2015
Intel Penang exterior

Intel buys Canadian ID-wrangler PasswordBox

Chip giant Intel has acquired Canadian identity management company PasswordBox, apparently in a move to address the issue of "password fatigue". The 44-strong company was formed 18 months ago in June 2013 and has 14 million users. This year Intel phased out its McAfee brand, which it bought in August 2010 for $7.6bn, in favour …
Kat Hall, 01 Dec 2014
Apple iPhone 4s, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus

Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Apple is being sued by fans upset about how much storage space iOS takes up on their iPhones, iPads and iPods. A class-action lawsuit (PDF), filed in California by Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara, alleged the OS uses so much flash memory that the advertised device capacity is misleading. The sueball was lobbed at Cupertino …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Jan 2015
Maplin signage outside store

You thought NFC tags were Not For Consumers? Well, they're in Maplin's

High street retailer Maplin will be stocking NFC tags, surely demonstrating that the technology is mainstream even if no one is quite sure what it's for. The tags, which  come from RapidNFC, are supplied in packs of twelve which retail at £9.99. That's a £1.70 premium on the manufacturers price of £8.29 but the manufacturer …
Bill Ray, 12 Sep 2013

Microsoft tells big biz: No free Windows 10 for you, crack wallets open

Microsoft has confirmed that, unlike your average Alice and Bob, enterprises won't get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is finally released. "Customers running Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8/8.1 Pro, like small businesses, have an opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free in the first year," said Jim …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jan 2015

Virgin Media's ad fibs EXPOSED by bitter rival BT

BT successfully convinced Britain's advertising watchdog to admonish rival ISP Virgin Media for "misleading" its customers with unsubstantiated savings claims. The cable company failed to defend itself against three separate complaints filed by BT, which had griped about five national press ads and one posted on Virgin Media's …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Dec 2014
FCC logo

Let's be clear, everyone: DON'T BLOCK Wi-Fi, DUH – FCC official ruling

US watchdog the FCC has ruled that no one – not even hotels and other commercial outfits – can block or ban personal Wi-Fi hotspots. "The [FCC's] Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jan 2015
Infosec

Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

Barely a week after the breaking of the Superfish scandal, Lenovo has done a complete reverse ferret on bloatware - promising that by the time Windows 10 comes out its systems will be as pure as they can be. “The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities …
Iain Thomson, 27 Feb 2015
IT Crowd. Source: Channel 4 / 2entertain

US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'

The US Federal Trade Commission has shuttered a New York-based tech support business, after scammers allegedly hoodwinked Facebook and Microsoft users into paying hundreds of dollars for tech advice from Pairsys Inc. According to court documents (PDF) filed by the consumer protection agency, the firm was accused of violating the …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Oct 2014
Tim Cook

Tim Cook chills the spines of swingers worldwide

Apple boss Tim Cook has claimed that Cupertino's Watch, which will be wheeled out on 9 March, will replace car keys. Speaking in a puff piece interview with the Telegraph on Saturday, ahead of the company's latest event, Cook said that – among other things – the wrist-wearing gizmo would nag sedentary people once an hour to …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 Feb 2015

UK watchdog grills big biz: So HOW do you use their 'consumer data'?

The UK's main competition regulator is looking to build its knowledge of how consumer data is collected, used and traded by businesses. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has asked businesses, trade bodies and other stakeholders to provide it with information about the commercial use of UK consumer data (10-page/262KB …
OUT-LAW.COM, 30 Jan 2015
The SAMSUNG GALAXY ALPHA lies on a white background, displays Home screen icons.

Samsung buys LoopPay ... to be better at bonking than Apple

Just as rumours that Samsung is about to move into the mobile payments space at next week’s Mobile World Congress were reaching their peak, the South Korean firm announced the acquisition of LoopPay. The LoopPay technology uses Magnetic Secure Transmission technology to turn point-of-sale terminals where you'd normally swipe a …
Simon Rockman, 19 Feb 2015

Windows 8 or nowt: Consumer Win 7 fans are OUT OF LUCK

It’s Windows 8.x or nothing for PC shoppers, says Microsoft, which has announced that it's no longer offering Windows 7. Friday 31 October was officially the last day when Microsoft made Windows 7 available for sale through retail outlets, meaning consumers can no longer buy discs of download versions of Windows 7 Home Basic, …
Gavin Clarke, 03 Nov 2014
Steam engine

Australia deflates Valve with Steam sueball

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has fired the sueball-gun at Valve, accusing the game-maker of trying to dodge Australian consumer law. The consumer watchdog has announced a filing in the Australian Federal Court, in response to terms and conditions it says violate Australian consumer laws. In its …
Spam image

Ten years on, TEN PER CENT of retailers aren't obeying CAN-SPAM

One in 10 of the world’s largest online retailers are sill violating the CAN-SPAM Act, a full 10 years after the US anti-spam legislation went into effect. The finding comes from an audit by the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a non-profit with the mission to enhance online trust. They also found that 70 per cent of 200 online …
John Leyden, 18 Sep 2014
The Register breaking news

Blighty's IP framework one of world's worst for consumers

A "panel of IP experts" devised a list of 49 criteria that consumer groups in 30 countries used to assess how best the IP frameworks in those nations serve consumers. Consumers International (CI), which is a global campaign group for consumers with members including Which? and Consumer Focus in the UK, published (8-page / 1.36MB …
OUT-LAW.COM, 01 May 2012
British Gas smart meter

What a pity: Rollout of hated UK smart meters delayed again

The timescale for the installation of 50m smart meters at a cost of £11bn is up for revision (again), junior minister and member of the House of Lords, Baroness Verma, has admitted. By 2020, the government wants everyone to have a smart meter fitted at a cost of £200 per household. However, the project has been dogged by delays …
Kat Hall, 04 Dec 2014
botnet

We take bots down, but they get up again – you're never going to keep them down

A combined attack on one of the world's biggest networks of infected PCs has been partially successful: analysis from Dell SecureWorks shows you can't keep a bad botnet down. In 2013 infosec bods and the feds together disrupted the ZeroAccess network, which used a remotely controlled collection of more than two million slaved …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jan 2015
2001: A Space Odyssey

Can’t be TRUSTe-d? Online privacy firm coughs $200k to settle 'deception' charges

TRUSTe, which issues the privacy seals displayed on thousands of websites, has paid a settlement over charges it deceived consumers through its Privacy Seal Program. As part of an agreed settlement with US consumer watchdogs at the Federal Trade Commission, it also promised it would ensure all certified websites removed a …
John Leyden, 18 Nov 2014
Android 5.0 "Lollipop"

Cyanogen finds $80m in collecting tin after busking session

Bloatware-free Android version Cyanogen has some powerful friends. The company has passed around the investors' collecting tin and come up with $80m. Those friends are Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm, Telefónica Ventures, Indonesian telco Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries (the US-based industrial group headed by …
Simon Rockman, 24 Mar 2015

A billion things are already on the IoT: Verizon

Verizon reckons the Internet of Things is no longer a “nascent” market, reporting that there are already more than a billion devices out there running business-to-business IoT operations. In its “state of the market” report (free with registration) covering the IoT in 2015, the company predicts that the B2B IoT space will pass 5 …

US retail giant Target fails to get banks' MEGABREACH lawsuit slung out of court

Target has failed in is attempt to persuade a judge to reject lawsuit by banks harmed by losses following the US retail giant's megabreach. US District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled that Target played a "key role" in permitting cybercriminals to infiltrate its computer networks. Because of this, a lawsuit by banks seeking to recoup …
John Leyden, 03 Dec 2014
John Legere

AT&T, Verizon will nuke rivals in next US mobile auction – and it's the FCC's fault, says Legere

The CEO of T-Mobile US has called the sell-off of Uncle Sam's radio space to mobile networks "a success for the US Treasury [but] a disaster for American wireless consumers." In a scathing blog post, John Legere calls the $42bn raised by the FCC-run auction "insane," and complained that the two biggest wireless companies – AT&T …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Feb 2015

BEST EVER broadband? Oh no you DIDN'T, Sky – ad watchdog

The telecoms giant formerly known as BSkyB has been ordered to remove a "best ever" broadband ad after rival BT claimed it was "misleading". The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the context of Sky's "BEST EVER broadband offer" in July had not been substantiated and was likely to mislead. Last week BSkyB ditched the …
Kat Hall, 21 Nov 2014
3D printed chocolate

Mock choc shock: 3D candy printer is good news for sweet-toothed swingbellies

CES 2015 Behold the latest marvel of wonder technology: the CocoJet, a 3D printer that can create intricate chocolate structures that will then be crushed in eager mouths. Youtube Video The machine, built by 3D Systems, uses nozzles to pump down dark, milk, and white chocolate onto software-specified designs. The brown stuff comes from …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2015
British Gas smart meter

Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Smart meters are only going to save people around two per cent on their bills, but will cost each home or business £215 over five years to roll out, MPs have warned. The Public Accounts Committee said that the cost of installing 53 million smart meters would be paid for by customers in their energy bills, but they would only be …
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

Bloody TECH GIANTS... all they do is WASTE investors' MONEY

Worstall on Wednesday The idea that the tech giants are simply going to waste the pots of cash with which they have been entrusted is certainly counter-intuitive, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if they did. For that's pretty much the fate of all investment: to be wasted. It's an odd claim, because there do appear to be successful examples of …
Tim Worstall, 25 Feb 2015

Ofcom: We're going to shake up the digi comms market

UK regulator Ofcom has announced a wide-ranging review of digital communications, looking at infrastructure and competition. The review will examine incentives for efficient investment and effective competition drive good outcomes: coverage, choice, price and quality of service for consumers, citizens and businesses. It will …
Simon Rockman, 13 Mar 2015

Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Mastercard and Visa are removing the need for users to enter their passwords for identity confirmation as part of a revamp of the existing (oft-criticised) 3-D Secure scheme. The arrival of 3D Secure 2.0 next year will see the credit card giants moving away from the existing system of secondary static passwords to authorise …
John Leyden, 14 Nov 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Bill cram woes piling up for Sprint: Campaigners lob in a sueball

Yet another group has filed suit against Sprint, alleging the US telco unfairly profited from phone bill cramming. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it wants to extract a pound of flesh from the carrier for allowing murky traders to sneak extra charges onto customers' bills, a portion of which was paid to …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2014
Angry woman on mobile

No more lies, T-Mobile US: Download speed caps magically vanished on speed test websites

T-Mobile USA has agreed to stop twiddling with subscribers' mobile broadband speeds to hide the fact they were being capped. The telco was caught switching off download and upload bandwidth limits when people visited internet speed test websites. In other words, if you visited a website that tested your mobile connection's speed …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2014

Facebook shops for ads tech – snaps up product search engine TheFind

Facebook has bought Mountain View, California-based product search engine TheFind for an undisclosed sum. The outfit, founded in 2006, confirmed the takeover from Mark Zuckerberg's free content ad network in a statement on its website. TheFind claimed to have helped 1 billion shoppers track down products using its service, …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Mar 2015
Samsung Z1

Samsung's first Tizen smartphone is HERE ... by which we mean India

The first commercially available phone running Samsung's Linux-based Tizen mobile OS has finally launched in India, and proud papa Sammy says this is only the beginning for Tizen in 2015. We've been hearing rumblings about the Samsung Z1 for months now, but actually finding a market for the device has proved difficult for the …
Neil McAllister, 14 Jan 2015