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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
Microsoft Lumia 640 Windows Phone

Look out, Windows Phone 8 users – yes, both of you – here's ... Windows 10 Mobile

For the past few months, peeps keen to run Windows 10 Mobile have been able to buy handsets with the new OS installed. Now patiently waiting Phone 8.1 owners can upgrade their smartphones to the operating system – well, some of them, anyway. "Today, we're pleased to begin the roll-out of Windows 10 Mobile to select Windows …
Iain Thomson, 18 Mar 2016
The LG Stylus DAB+ comes in tan, white or brown

LG builds a DAB+ digital radio radio into a smartmobe

Here's an oddity: LG has launched a smartphone with a built-in DAB+ broadcast digital radio. LG Stylus DAB+ is a 5.7-inch, 1280 x 720, Android (Marshmallow) machine with a quad-core CPU humming along at 1.2GHz. Up front you'll find an eight-megapixel camera and out back there's a 13-megapixel effort. Inside is 16GB of storage …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Mar 2016
warrant

Feds tell court: Apple 'deliberately raised technological barriers' to thwart iPhone warrant

The US Department of Justice has filed fresh claims against Apple in the ongoing battle over whether the FBI can force the iGiant to help agents unlock a killer's iPhone. In a brief [PDF] filed Thursday to the US District Court of Central California, the DoJ said Apple had made a "deliberate marketing decision" to develop …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2016
Microsoft Build conference

We tested the latest pre-flight build of Windows 10 Mobile. It's buggy but promising

Review Microsoft admitted defeat in the phone wars last summer, but a mobile cut still remains strategic to the company – albeit more for tablets and "detachables" rather than phones, where full-fat Windows 10 is too bulky. You've heard the euphemism "collateral damage." Windows phone owners today are "collateral users" – they just …
HTC One M8

HTC teases yet another make-or-break comeback flagship

Very few phone leaks are accidents, and a spate of teasers of HTC’s next flagship suggest a launch next month. The HTC M10 reportedly has a 5.1 inch QHD display and a revised camera. Its looks borrow from the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy families, with a front mounted fingerprint sensor, with availability from May. See here and …
android logo

Google splats more bad Android security bugs with patches your mobe will probably never see

Another month, another patching cycle for Android. Google's mobile OS has picked up seven critical patches, ten classed as high priority, and a pair of moderately important fixes. In short, playing back a booby-trapped video or receiving a message with malware hidden in it could lead to malicious code running on a vulnerable …
Iain Thomson, 7 Mar 2016

Surprise! That blood-pressure app doesn't measure blood pressure

Quantified self types not only fill Twitter feeds with reports from every walking, running, breathing and bonking app around – but the spewed data isn't always particularly accurate. In a letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a bunch of US medical academics decided to test AuraLife's …
Windows 10 Mobile: Preview build 10586.122 is out

Windows 10 Mobile bug fixes come thick and fast as official upgrade nears

Microsoft has released Build 10586.122 of Windows 10 Mobile, following four preview builds last month, as it prepares to upgrade phones running Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Microsoft's Gabe Aul, veep of engineering systems, said in January that "we're still on track to release Windows 10 Mobile as an upgrade to existing devices …
Tim Anderson, 3 Mar 2016
Huawei gold Honor 5X with fingerprint sensor

Huawei Honor 5X: Swishy fingerprint tech for the mid-range

Review Chinese phone manufacturers are offering punters a Happy Hour that lasts until closing time. That's if you're prepared for a few UI eccentricities, and keeping your fingers crossed for any customer support or OTA updates… and the value for money is fantastic. Huawei’s Honor brand took the laurels last year with the Honor 7, a …
iPhone 5

Apple hasn't announced the new iPhone 5SE and pundits already hate it

Apple is likely more than six months away from announcing anything about the next line of iPhones, but that isn't stopping industry analysts from predicting how the rumored handsets could fare in the market. Analyst Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research says that, if the rumors of a new budget-minded iPhone model are …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Feb 2016
Xiaomi Global VP Hugo Barra shows of the Mi 5 smartphone

Hands on with Xiaomi's Mi 5: Great smartphone, but when do we get it?

MWC16 Following a hypetastic presentation from Xiaomi Global VP Hugo Barra, your correspondent was among the first to get a quick hands-on with the 5.15” Mi 5, Xiaomi’s newly announced smartphone. Xiaomi is the huge smartphone brand you may not have heard of, if you live outside the far east. It is the bestselling brand in China, …
Tim Anderson, 24 Feb 2016

Meet Barra's baby: Xiaomi arrives with a splash

MWC16 Xiaomi is heading West, and its new Mi 5 flagship brings Galaxy quality for £250 to Western markets this Spring. The Mi 5 shows a major investment in design - as the company told us at tedious length in Barcelona today. “Ceramic is up to 8H on the Mohs scale,” Xiaomi phone chief Hugo Barra told us, extolling the virtues of …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2016
ISO7816 Tattoo

Whatever happened to... virtual SIMs?

MWC16 Everyone knows physical SIM cards have had their day. Small connected devices like wearables and IoT kit don’t have the space to accommodate SIMs, and shouldn’t have to. Nor should bikes. But as the operators’ "most potent instrument of control", they haven’t been in a hurry to give it up. Apple wanted to abolish SIM cards …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Feb 2016
Intel's big screen experience: Linux running alongside Android

Intel shows budget Android phone powering big-screen Linux

MWC16 Intel is showing what it calls "Big Screen Experience" at Mobile World Congress, an Android smartphone which runs a full Linux desktop when plugged into an external display. The concept is broadly similar to Microsoft's Continuum for Windows 10 Mobile, but whereas Continuum devices are towards the high end, Intel's project is …
Tim Anderson, 23 Feb 2016

Mañana: Nokia’s in no hurry to go back to phones

MWC16 Nokia CEO said the company could return to making mobile devices this year or next, but isn’t in a hurry. “There’s no specific timeframe. We don’t need to be in a rush. We will explore this with the right partner or partners, depending on the case,” said chief exec Rajeev Suri at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “It might …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Feb 2016

LG’s modular G5 stunner shuns the Lego aesthetic

MWC16 People want a cool product more than they want a bunch of Lego bricks in their pocket. That’s why Alphabet’s intriguing modular project, Project Ara has gone nowhere. But can LG’s expansion slot initiative fare better? Yesterday LG announced its first modular phone, the G5, with two expansion units on show. It’s worth a punt …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Feb 2016
LG's G5 smartphone has a removeable battery and other companion devices

There’s a module for that: LG launches G5 smartphone complete with 'friends'

MWC16 Hands On LG has announced the G5 smartphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, attempting to stand out with a modular approach alongside the inevitable VR support. The 5.3" G5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, 2560 x 1440 display, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, MicroSD slot, USB Type-C port, 16MP rear camera and 8MP front, and runs …
Tim Anderson, 22 Feb 2016
Bemused attendees trying out VR at the Samsung Galaxy S7 launch

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: Betting on VR with a dash of Vulkan

MWC16 Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg appeared on stage at Samsung's launch for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, proclaiming VR the new social platform; but is that enough to make S7 more than just this year's slightly faster Galaxy? Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014, and its technology is used in Samsung's Gear VR, a headset which works in …
Tim Anderson, 22 Feb 2016

OnePlus X: Dinky little Android smartie with one or two minuses

Review We've held off reviewing the third OnePlus phone, the OnePlus X, until you could actually buy it without an elusive invitation. But a fortnight ago the company abolished rationing and made it generally available. Phew. Now if you recall, OnePlus really laid on the Strategy Boutique marketing waffle when the phone was first …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2016

Microsoft patent filing confirms existence of 3D Jedi gesture phone

Microsoft could have brought a Lumia phone that responded to Jedi-like hand gestures to market a year before Apple brought out its 3D Touch feature. Smartphone displays which respond to the level of pressure being applied open up new UX possibilities for designers. Apple introduced force sensitive displays in its Apple Watch …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Feb 2016

Feds look left and right for support – and see everyone backing Apple

Analysis Public opinion over the judicial demand that Apple create a version of its mobile operating system for the FBI – dubbed FBiOS – appears to have landed firmly against the Feds. The FBI has demanded Apple assist it in breaking into the mobile phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook who, along with his wife, killed 14 people …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Feb 2016
An angry mob

Under-fire Apple backs down, crafts new iOS to kill security safeguard

Apple has issued a new build of iOS that restores iPhones bricked after having third-party repairs. The Cupertino goliath said a new version of iOS 9.2.1, available over iTunes, will restore mobiles frozen with an 'Error 53' message. Earlier this month, people became super upset that iPhones could be rendered inoperable while …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Feb 2016
Qualcomm

Qualcomm drops antenna, amplifier silicon on OEMs

Overnight, Qualcomm dropped a bunch of silicon for its OEMs to improve various aspects of RF design, including antenna switching and amplifier efficiency. To whet the appetite, there's a bunch of antenna tuners and switches. The QAT2514 is a low-cost aperture tuner, designed to offer high linearity and isolation, and it's …
Apple protest

FBI iPhone brouhaha sparks Apple Store protest in San Francisco

Pics After Tim Cook gave the FBI the finger when asked to help unlock a mass murderer's iPhone, fanbois are planning to hold rallies outside Apple stores to support the iGiant. The string of demonstrations will kick off on February 23 across the US, it's hoped. This comes after the Feds won a court order demanding Apple assist …
Iain Thomson, 18 Feb 2016

Confused as to WTF is happening with Apple, the FBI and a killer's iPhone? Let's fix that

Water cooler: Everyone is losing their mind over Apple being forced to help the FBI unlock an iPhone. Just what is going on? Relax, don't spill your almond milk latte. We'll make it crystal clear for you. The FBI wants to unlock an iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Farook, who with his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 coworkers in December …
Chris Williams, 17 Feb 2016
Android Marshmallow

Google to snatch control of Android updates from mobe makers – analyst

Google is on the verge of a takeover that will change the way Android development and updates are handled. This according to Richard Windsor, an analyst with Edison Investment Research, who believes the Mountain View ad giant is tiring of slow updates and will soon take control of firmware updates away from hardware vendors. …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Feb 2016
Possible Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung S7 tease suggests phone likes it hot and wet

Samsung Indonesia has posted a YouTube video depicting “The Next Galaxy”, presumably the S7. The video is on a ”launchpack” site that mentions what most people already knew: Samsung will take the wraps off the new device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. The video's below, but we imagine it might go away once …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2016

Apple must help Feds unlock San Bernardino killer's iPhone – judge

Apple must assist the FBI in unlocking the passcode-protected encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters in California. US magistrate Sheri Pym says Cupertino has to find a way to supply software that prevents the phone from automatically annihilating its user data when too many password attempts have …
Darren Pauli, 17 Feb 2016
The new Edge interface on the Galaxy S6 edge under Android Marshmallow

Samsung now pushing Marshmallows into the Galaxy S6, Edge

Android's jerky upgrade elevator has arrived at Samsung, which has decided it's time for the Marshmallow edition of the operating system to come to its Galaxy products. Marshmallow was revealed in August 2015 and made it into Google's Nexus handsets six weeks later. Fast forward another three-and-a-bit months and the world's …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2016

Is this the last ever Lumia?

Microsoft has unveiled what may be its last ever Lumia-branded phone, the Lumia 650. It’s a lightweight “business” workhorse priced at $199 before local taxes and subsidies. Despite the low price, the aluminium-framed model looks somewhat more luxurious than the two troubled “flagship” Lumia 950 models which emerged late last …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Feb 2016

iPhones clock-blocked and crocked by setting date to Jan 1, 1970

Watch out: setting the time and date on an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod to January 1, 1970, may brick the thing. In a Reddit discussion today, folks described how setting their device's clock back to that point in history resulted in a crash after which their iThing was unable to boot or be restored via iTunes. The bug affects …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Feb 2016
Abandoned building

BlackBerry axes 200 jobs – including a third of its HQ staff

One-time smartphone giant BlackBerry has laid off 200 of its remaining employees in a pair of cuts. The Canadian biz will eliminate 75 jobs from a manufacturing facility in Sunrise, Florida, US, and approximately 125 from its corporate headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It was earlier rumored that the company was …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Feb 2016
Sad iPhone

Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

An iPhone owner says his handset bricked itself after it was repaired and updated to the latest version of iOS. Freelance journalist Antonio Olmos reports that after having his iPhone repaired by a shop in Macedonia, his handset was working fine until he recently attempted to update the iPhone's software. The update triggered …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Feb 2016
Apple iPhone 6s

FaceTime, WhatsApp UDP streams AWOL on iOS 9 beta with T-Mo US

A problem with the handling of UDP network packets is leaving T‑Mobile US customers unable to make FaceTime or WhatsApp calls with the latest Apple iOS beta. Various netizens say they are unable to make video calls on their T‑Mo handsets when running the latest iOS beta build. WhatsApp calls are also reportedly dropped. Other …
Shaun Nichols, 4 Feb 2016

Stylish Vaio biz mobe is flying this way – ah, it's got Windows 10 inside

Last year Sony offloaded its Vaio PC division and brand, and it was snapped up by a private equity outfit. The new owner promised to make luxury tech hardware that was irresistibly attractive. It's now unveiled its first Vaio phone, a stylish aluminium design, aimed at business people. What can go wrong? Well, nothing. Apart …
Juggling apple image via Shutterstock

Like your iPhone, but not enough to touch it? This patent's for you

Do you baulk at the size of Microsoft’s mega Surface Hub whiteboard, and want something a little more Apple-tastic for your wall? Fear not. Cupertino has filed a patent raising the prospect of interacting with your iOS device without touching the screen. US Patent 9,250,734, awarded to Apple on February 2, will: Use one or …
Gavin Clarke, 4 Feb 2016