Phones > More stories

Is a $14,000 phone really the price of privacy?

A US$14,000 (£9,706, or A$19,352) Android phone has been launched pitching 'military-grade encryption' at privacy-conscious executives. Little information can be found on the Solarin handset's specific security chops other than it will use "chip-to-chip 256-bit AES encryption" for phone calls. That technology is built by …
Darren Pauli, 2 Jun 2016
Space Invaders schematic

ARM Cortex-A73: How a top-end mobe CPU was designed from scratch

Analysis For its latest top-end smartphone processor core – the Cortex-A73 – ARM designed its microarchitecture more or less from scratch. Whereas its predecessor, 2015's Cortex-A72, was drawn up in Austin, Texas, the new A73 microarchitecture was designed by a team in France, starting about three years ago. Although we're told the …

Get outta here, officer, you don't need a warrant to track people by their phones – appeals court

A US Court of Appeals has ruled that police do not need a warrant to track the whereabouts of a person's mobile phone. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled [PDF] that police in Baltimore did not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of two suspected robbers when they pulled the phone location data of the men from their …
Shaun Nichols, 31 May 2016
Nokia 1011

How Nokia is (and isn't) back in the phone business today

Analysis We have a new phone company today, and it’s European. And the badge says Nokia. So is Nokia back in the phone biz? Yes and no. It won’t spend a penny on either making or marketing phones - even at arm’s length. All that is going to be the job of a new entity, HMD Global Oy, run by present and past Nokians. From HMD we can …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2016
Android for cars

Android's security patch quagmire probed by US watchdogs

Mobile carriers and gadget makers will be investigated over how slow they push important software security patches to people. The probe will be carried out by US trade watchdog the FTC and America's internet mall cop the FCC. The two agencies will work together to scrutinize manufacturers of phones, tablets and other gear, …
Shaun Nichols, 9 May 2016

Apple needs silver bullet to slay App Store's escaped undead – study

Online software bazaars – such as Apple's App Store and Google Play – need to claim responsibility for "dead applications" and notify people when their programs have been revoked or removed, a study by security firm Appthority recommends. “Dead apps” are those that have been removed from an app store, but remain on devices – …
John Leyden, 6 May 2016
Repair man Shenzhen

Sat TV biz Dish: I'm not an authorized iPhone repairer ... but $20 is $20

Satellite TV service Dish has announced plans to moonlight as an unauthorized iPhone repair service. The US telly provider said it will be dispatching its technicians to offer on-site repairs or replacements for the screens and batteries in certain Apple phones ranging from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The service …
Shaun Nichols, 3 May 2016

3-in-4 Android phones, slabs, gizmos menaced by fresh hijack flaws

Google has today issued a bundle of 40 security patches for its Android operating system. A dozen of the fixes correct critical vulnerabilities in versions 4.4.4 of the operating system and above. About 74 per cent of in-use Android devices run Android 4.4.4 or higher. These critical bugs can be potentially exploited by …
Iain Thomson, 2 May 2016

Intel loses its ARM wrestling match, kicks out Atom mobe chips

Intel has thrown in the towel on smartphone processors after losing round after round against the ARM architecture – the dominant brains of the mobile world. Intel today scrapped the development of its Atom processor codenamed Broxton, which was aimed at powering high-end smartphones and tablets. Broxton was expected to …
Chris Williams, 30 Apr 2016
Sony Xperia Go rugged Android smartphone

Q. What's the difference between smartphones and that fad diet you all got bored of? A. Nothing

For those wondering if we've reached Peak Smartphone: global smartphone shipments saw their first ever quarterly drop, say analysts. Research house Strategy Analytics says that shipments in the first quarter of 2016 declined by three per cent over the same period in 2015. This marks the first time analysts have recorded …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Apr 2016

Smartphone growth? Not in Q1, says IDC

Prospects for handset-makers just got worse, with the smartphone market recording its worst quarterly growth ever. Remember how at the end of March, Gartner predicted a mere seven per cent smartphone growth for 2016, the first time the market hadn't managed double-digit growth? That forecast is starting to look like rose- …

Ex-Apple gurus' elusive Android phone coming to UK next month

The startup backed by former Apple CEO John Sculley is most famous today for being elusive - but all that’s about to change. Obi Worldphone told us today its first UK phone will launch here next month, promising style and mid-range specs for a paltry £119. Obi’s story is unusual – it leveraged the economies of scale of …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Apr 2016
Tim Cook

Shares down?! But, but, but ... Apple just made $50bn – that's the way the Cookie grumbles

Apple has confirmed analysts' fears of a drab quarter, reporting its first year-over-year sales decline in more than a decade. Its share price is down 8.2 per cent to $95.76 in after-hours trading – dipping below the magic hundred-buck mark. The Mac maker said that in the three months to March 31 – the second quarter of its …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Apr 2016
traffic lights

Germans stick traffic lights in pavements for addicts who can't take their eyes off phones

The German city of Augsburg is embedding warning lights in the pavement at traffic intersections to alert smartphone users who don't looking up before crossing the road. Rows of red LEDs have been embedded in the pavement after a 15-year-old girl was killed when she stepped in front of a tram while looking at her smartphone …
Iain Thomson, 26 Apr 2016

Google can't hold back this malware running riot in its Play store

Security researchers have discovered a strain of Android malware that keeps finding its way onto Google Play – despite the store supposedly being scrubbed clean of infiltrated apps. The software nasty – Android.Spy.277.origin – is hidden in more than 100 applications on Google Play. Sketchy programs harboring the malware …
John Leyden, 26 Apr 2016

LG: Stop focusing on Apple and Samsung. There's us. And our G5. Look at it. Look at it

Review Every year LG threatens to steal the flagship crown, but the press pauses briefly only on the device before returning to speculating about Samsung and Apple. LG’s flagships have featured ground-breaking screens (Quad HD), unusual banana shaped glass and consistently good imaging. But still no breakthrough. No wonder LG got fed …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Apr 2016

FBI ends second iPhone fight after someone, um, 'remembers' the PIN

For the second time, the FBI has dropped a legal attempt to force Apple to unlock an iPhone at the last minute. Earlier this month, the FBI backed away from the high-profile San Bernardino case the day before it was due in court by claiming it had paid a third party (apparently $1.2m) to unlock the phone. This time it's a …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Apr 2016
Scotty in the original Star Trek

Qualcomm channels Star Trek's Scotty as it faces a mobe chip wreck

Analysis Mobile chip designer Qualcomm typically channels Star Trek's Montgomery Scott, the chief engineer who under-promises to appear a miracle worker when he eventually delivers. The California-based biz follows the Scotty playbook by the letter. Just like the Enterprise's engineering guru would suck his teeth, cock his head, say it …
Chris Williams, 21 Apr 2016

HTC 10: Is this the Droid you're looking for?

Review It’s only two years since HTC was the darling of the fanDroids. Distinctive, thoughtfully made and a cut above the rest in style, the HTC One M8 gathered the kind of plaudits an obscure band gets. A few things have changed since then – and I don’t realise how much until I opened the box. Erstwhile market leader Samsung, which …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2016

Business gadget-makers eyeing modular LG G5 smartmobe

LG has conducted a developer day to interest gadget-makers in developing third-party modules for its LEGO-like G5 smartphone. When we first set eyes on the G5 we called for LG to enable a proper ecosystem for the device. LG officials The Register spoke to at the phone's Australian launch today said an effort to do so is now …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Apr 2016
John Chen

Translated: BlackBerry CEO John Chen on cops-snooping-on-BBM

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has responded to last week's reheated news that police can pull text messages from BlackBerry handsets. The chief exec's blog post can be found here, and our FAQ on the matter is right here. Basically, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chats sent via BIS (the BlackBerry Internet Service) are encrypted and …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Apr 2016

You Leica? P9 certainly is a Great Leap Forward in imaging... for Huawei

Review Huawei has grabbed the headlines with its audacious partnership with Leica – but does it measure up? Here’s the verdict on the P9: that is, the regular 5.2 inch model, not the larger P9 Plus, which has a few tricks of its own. Once you leave the hype behind – the P9’s dual-camera imaging is good, but not that good. I had hours …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Apr 2016
Week #25 - Pet Peeves SMS by  cc 2.0 attribution noderivs

Cinema boss gives up making kids turn off phones: 'That's not how they live their life'

The CEO of AMC Theaters says his company will consider allowing people to text during movies. In an interview with showbiz mag Variety, Adam Aron said that it wasn't tablets and streaming video services that were keeping millennials out of movie theaters (or for our younger readers, "the place where your parents go to watch …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2016

You won't believe this, but… nothing useful found on Farook iPhone

The iPhone at the center of the huge public fight between the FBI and Apple has "nothing of real significance" on it – just as we suspected. CBS News reports it has been told by a "law enforcement source" that the phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook does not contain any information of practical assistance in the …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2016
Android 5.0 "Lollipop"

Samsung's dimmer Galaxies can make calls when locked, cabled

A bunch of Samsung Galaxy variants leave their modems open to receiving AT commands over the USB cable, even when they're locked. The vulnerability is discussed by its discoverers at Github. Before you dismiss the vulnerability as a local privilege escalation (which it is), consider how many people would be happy leaving a …

HTC 10: Flagship goes full Google – but the hardware's top notch

Hands On HTC has unwrapped its make-or-break flagship for 2016, the Ten, and we’ve had a look. The successor to the hit M8 and flop M9 features much-improved cameras front and back, sports a close-to-stock implementation of Android, and packs one major surprise... it’s the first non-Apple phone to license Apple’s AirPlay. TVs and …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Apr 2016
BlackBerry Priv. Press pic

BlackBerry boss mulls mid-range Androids

BlackBerry's CEO has used an interview with United Arab Emirates outlet The National to announce plans to move the troubled mobe-maker's Android efforts downscale. Last year, the company launched into the Android market with the high-end Priv, which garnered good reviews. Sales, however, were another matter, and the Priv only …

FBI, Apple continue cat-and-mouse game over iPhones in New York

Despite walking away from a high-profile confrontation, the FBI is not giving up on its cat-and-mouse game with Apple over access to iPhone data, and the issue has now moved to New York. On Friday, the Feds appealed a decision last month by a Brooklyn magistrate, James Orenstein, to reject their demand that Apple help them …
James Comey

FBI Director defends iPhone 5C unlock tool that's obviously going to leak into wrong hands

FBI Director James Comey says the tool his agents bought and used to unlock the San Bernardino killer's iPhone will only work on a "narrow slice" of phones. On Wednesday, Comey gave a lecture at Ohio's Kenyon College's Center for the Study of American Democracy in which he said the exploit only works on iOS 9 iPhone 5Cs. Apple …
Iain Thomson, 7 Apr 2016

Huawei's P9 flagship: There's a lot to Leica

Hands On "Samsung should be very concerned at what Huawei might be demonstrating in two to three years' time," I wrote in 2014, prompting some derision. Fair enough: Huawei didn't even have a 4G phone at that time. The consumer division hasn't even turned five. But who's laughing now? Huawei has cracked it with the P9, a phone strong …

Facebook throws BlackBerry an HTML bone

Facebook isn't abandoning BlackBerry after all, throwing the ailing mobility outfit a bone in the form of a web application. The Social NetworkT recently gave up on native app support for BlackBerry, a fair enough decision given its handset market share is now hidden somewhere in market-watchers' “Other” column. The symbolism …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2016

Here's a great idea: Let's make a gun that looks like a mobile phone

Absolutely no one can make sense of the United States' infatuation with firearms. But that dichotomy between both arguing for extraordinary rights to carry guns and worrying intensely about being attacked by guns has rarely been as stark as the news that someone has developed a gun that looks like a mobile phone. In a country …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Mar 2016
Sad iPhone

Is iOS 9.3 Apple's worst ever update? First it bricks iThings, now Safari is busted

Apple gave unlucky loyal fans more headaches this weekend when the latest version of iOS caused the Safari browser to crash. Lots of people say their iPhones are no longer able to open links in Safari or Mail without the browser freezing. "Never had any problems with my iPhone 6S. Just upgraded to iOS 9.3 without any issues …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Mar 2016

Stagefright flaw still a nightmare: '850 million' Androids face hijack risk

Mobile security biz Zimperium reckons 600 to 850 million Android devices are still vulnerable to a Stagefright flaw that lets webpages and videos inject malware into phones and tablets. Stagefright is a software library buried deep within Android that processes multimedia files. It is used by a key Android component called …
John Leyden, 23 Mar 2016

What was all that about a scary iMessage flaw? Your three-minute guide

Watercooler – On Sunday, we were warned that hackers could read our iMessages texts, photos and videos. Should I be worried? As it turns out: no. If you're even a little curious about cryptography and secure programming, though, it should interest and amuse you. On Sunday, the Washington Post learned that Apple had fixed a flaw in the …
Chris Williams, 23 Mar 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
Samsung’s mobile chief Koh Dong-jin poses with the Galaxy S7 and its Edge variant  at S7 LAUNCH MARCH 2016. photo via Samsung Press site

Samsung Galaxy S7: Big brand Android flagship champ

Review If only all reviews were as easy to write as this one. Take last year's product, make small but important refinements, and this year's is much better. The Galaxy S7 is the Android flagship to beat, and everyone who gets one will be really happy with it. That's basically all there is to it, really. Can I go home now? Samsung …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Mar 2016

FBI backs down against Apple: Feds may be able to crack killer's iPhone without iGiant's help

The FBI has come to a sudden and surprising all-stop in its legal war with Apple. Rather than compel the Cupertino giant to help it unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers, the Feds say they may be able to break into the handset without the company's assistance after all. In a filing [PDF] submitted …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2016
Apple iMac 27-inch with Retina Display

Apple Macs, iPhones, iPads, Watches, TVs can be hijacked by evil Wi-Fi, PDFs – update now

Updated Apple has today emitted security updates for pretty much everything it makes, and you should install them as soon as you can because it's all bad news. iPhones, iPads and iPods should grab iOS 9.3, Macs should fetch OS X 10.11.4 or Security Update 2016-002 for non-El Capitan Macs, Apple Watches should get watchOS 2.2, and …
Chris Williams, 21 Mar 2016

US Supremes to hear Samsung's gripes about the patent system after Apple billed it $550m

It's a busy week for Apple, with the company showing off new products this morning and a court showdown with the FBI tomorrow. Now the US Supreme Court has just added more to the workload with Case 15‑77 [PDF]. In December, Samsung appealed to the Supremes in its long-running patent squabble with Apple over the design of its …
Iain Thomson, 21 Mar 2016
Sorry we're closed

Facebook, WhatsApp farewell BlackBerry

The writing probably appeared on the wall when WhatsApp announced its disinterest in BlackBerry APIs: Facebook has followed the lead of its subsidiary, and dumped native support for the ailing smartphone-maker. WhatsApp led the way earlier this month, putting the BlackBerry platforms in the same bucket as Nokia's S40 and …
Satya Nadella

Stop! Before you accept that Windows 10 Mobile upgrade, read this

Windows 10 updates have begun rolling out to eligible Windows Phone 8.1 devices. Microsoft has promised not to be as aggressive as it has been with pushing Windows 10 onto desktops – a promise that’s surely not hard to keep. It’s made good progress fixing the bugs, cranking up the performance, and making the UX transition …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Mar 2016