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Bah humbug. It's Andrew's Phones of the Year

Roundup When a blind chimp with a shopping strategy based around a pack of darts can come out of Carphone Warehouse with a decent phone - is there any point giving out awards? I've seen dozens of shiny new things this year - and I do wonder why reviews need to be longer than a few words. Maybe they don't need words at all. Perhaps …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Dec 2015
win10_648

Windows 10 won't come to old WinPhones until some time in early 2016

Microsoft has decided to delay delivery of Windows 10 for phones running Windows 8 or 8.1. Redmond's previously said that WinPhone 10 will appear in December, but is now issuing a statement to the effect that “The Windows 10 Mobile upgrade will begin rolling out early next year to select existing Windows 8 and 8.1 phones." …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Dec 2015
Darth Vader choking someone

Motorola’s X Force awakens a seemingly ‘shatterproof’ future

Review Here's one of the year's major surprises, and it's a nice one, in the shape of the latest high-end Motorola. It's already attracted acres of mainstream press coverage and that's before it's even generally available. It's the Motorola X Force, and it's the phone that the Daily Mail ran a truck over ... and the display came out …
Lumia 950 XL

Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL: Clear thoughts of Continuum with a snazzy camera

Review There’s only one reason you might want to buy either of the new flagship Microsoft Lumias. Straight off the bat, we can tell you it's not the party trick Continuum, where your phone doubles up as an ARM-based PC to run Microsoft Office. Nor is that reason Windows 10 – which is still buggy, bereft of significant new benefits …

Google proffers plugs in Android MMS pwnfest

Google has slung a new set of patches at the vulnerability hub that is Android media processing, fixing four critical flaws and 10 high-severity bugs. The vulnerabilities could allow user phones to be compromised through a variety of means including MMS, email, and following web links. Nexus users get the fixes first along …
Darren Pauli, 8 Dec 2015
Microsoft Lumia 640 Windows Phone

Windows Phone won't ever succeed, says IDC

Windows Phone won't ever amount to much, suggests analyst house IDC. The company's latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone tracker says Microsoft's mobile OS will grab 2.2 per cent market share in 2015 and by 2019 will have added a non-colossal 0.1 per cent more to claim 2.3 per cent of the mobile market. “Despite all the …
Get out the checkbook

Rounded corners on Android phones cost Samsung $548m: It will pay up to Apple after all

Samsung says it will pay Apple the $548m it was told to cough up for infringing the iPhone's round corners among other patented designs. The South Korean electronics giant said in a submission [PDF] to the US District Court in San Jose, California, that it has asked Apple to invoice it $548,176,477, which Sammy will pay within …
Shaun Nichols, 4 Dec 2015

Apple pays two seconds of quarterly profit for wiping pensioner's pics

A London pensioner has defeated Apple in court, bagging £1,200 ($1,791) from the tech goliath. Deric White, 68, was awarded the cash after Regent Street Apple Store "geniuses" in London deleted photos and the address book on his iPhone while performing a factory reset during a repair. White had taken Apple to court alleging …
Shaun Nichols, 2 Dec 2015

How TV ads silently ping commands to phones: Sneaky SilverPush code reverse-engineered

Earlier this week the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) warned that an Indian firm called SilverPush has technology that allows adverts to ping inaudible commands to smartphones and tablets. Now someone has reverse-engineered the code and published it for everyone to check. SilverPush's software kit can be baked into …
Iain Thomson, 20 Nov 2015
Wileyfox's Storm Android handset

Storm in a teacup: Wileyfox does Android cheapie, British style

Review Wileyfox is the first new British phone brand in over a decade, and it’s hoping to cash in on the Shenzhen economic miracle. Not so long ago, cheap Android phones were synonymous with “Landfill”. There was usually something lacking. But rapid advances in component manufacturing and packaging have seen companies enter the …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Nov 2015
BlackBerry Priv. Press pic

BlackBerry Priv: After two weeks on test, looks like this is a keeper

Two-week test I seem to have spent my life getting through, testing, and handling a lot of phones. A lot. But I hate phones. I hate all the hundreds of them I have lying around my house and the countless thousands of pounds I have spent on them. I hate that despite having tried, and bought, what seems like every combination possible, …
Dominic Young, 18 Nov 2015

Pope instructs followers to put the iPhone away during dinner

Pope Francis has slammed the use of smartphones and warned that they risk damaging family life. Speaking at the Vatican yesterday, the Pontiff noted that the dinner table is where families experience a sense of "togetherness," but that it can be ruined by over-attachment to modern technology. "A family that almost never eats …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Nov 2015

Instascam! Apple yanks phoney app, Google follows

A popular but malicious fake Instagram “who viewed your profile” app has been pulled from both Apple's App Store and Google Play – but not until after between 500,000 and a million suckers downloaded it. “Who Viewed Your Profile – InstaAgent” exploited peoples' insecurity (it's also a popular way for Twitter scam accounts to …

Latest Android phones hijacked with tidy one-stop-Chrome-pop

PacSec Google's Chrome for Android has been popped in a single exploit that could lead to the compromise of any handset. The exploit, showcased at MobilePwn2Own at the PacSec conference in Tokyo yesterday but not disclosed in full detail, targets the JavaScript v8 engine. It can probably hose all modern and updated Android phones if …
Darren Pauli, 12 Nov 2015
Acer CloudMobile S500 Android smartphone

ARM's new Cortex-A35: How to fine-tune a CPU for web browsing on bargain smartphones

ARM, designer of smartphone brains, will today reveal the Cortex-A35: a processor core subtly tweaked to run mobile web browsers and similar apps faster. How can a CPU be tuned for something seemingly so specific? The answer lies in the A35's instruction prefetch queue. ARM has halved the length of this queue in an attempt to …
Chris Williams, 10 Nov 2015
Huawei_sign

Huawei who? We probe the sleeping storage dragon's brains

Part I Huawei is China's Cisco or Sweden’s Ericsson without the storage hangups that affect the US networking giant. It's a $46.5bn colossus with 170,000 employees, privately-owned by its Chinese national employees, with no venture capital investment and three rotating CEOs. This is most assuredly not your average IT corporation. …
Chris Mellor, 6 Nov 2015
BlackBerry Priv. Press pic

BlackBerry Priv: Enterprise Android in a snazzy but functional package

Review If somebody told you six months ago that the best Android phone of 2015 would have been made by BlackBerry, you’d have thought they were a bit mad. BlackBerry didn’t really make phones any more, and what phones it made were marketed as a secure alternative to the Mad Max badlands of Android. And if anyone had dared suggest …
The roatating CEO manages to stand still

Huawei is the new Nokia: Asian mobe maker sets out its stall

A little over a thousand CTOs, CIOs and decision makers from the world’s mobile phone networks attended Huawei's mobile broadband forum event this week. It gives us a view of not only how Huawei sees the world, but of how it sees itself. This year the event was held in Hong Kong. The twenty-three speakers were primarily …
Simon Rockman, 5 Nov 2015

BlackBerry makes Android security patch promises

BlackBerry is touting security and privacy as the new Priv's key differentiators. But wait, isn't it an Android? And isn't that like putting an arsonist in charge of the Fire Brigade? The firm's first Android phone, which begins shipping tomorrow, is a genuine rarity: a phone targeted at enterprises and more technically …

Samsung S6 Edge has 11 nasties, says Google Project Zero team

Security probe-wielders from Google's Project Zero team in Europe and the United States have flayed the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, finding 11 nasty vulnerabilities in the flagship handset. The informal hack-off focused on Samsung's latest OEM offering rather than the pure Android Nexus because of its popularity and therefore the …
Darren Pauli, 4 Nov 2015
Godzilla vs Kitten by https://www.flickr.com/photos/fun9us/

Intel puts cash behind Wi-Fi-first smartmobes

Chipzilla's mobile phone silicon is so popular it's taken the step of funding a network operator to buy a custom-made smartphone based on its SoFIA chipset. Nobody's talking how much money FreedomPop is getting from Intel Capital, but it will be enough to create a “Wi-Fi optimised” smartphone that will switch to cellular …
Smartphones

World Q3 smartphone shipments: 355 million, 354m, 342m or 366m?

How many smartphones emerged blinking into the sunlight during the third quarter of 2015? It depends who you ask. IDC says 355.2 million hit the streets between June and August. That's not a million miles away from Strategy Analytics' assertion that 354.2 million machines made it out the door. Juniper Research is willing to …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Oct 2015
Milhouse Van Houten

Your 30-second guide to why Samsung is acting all Smugsun today

Samsung is getting a nod of approval from investors and analysts as the electronics giant has revealed gains in its mobile, semiconductor, and consumer electronics operations. The South Korean firm said its Android phone business managed to grow its sales figures in its third quarter of 2015, raising hopes that further gains …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Oct 2015
Windows 10 Mobile build 10572

Hands On with Windows 10 Mobile build 10572

Microsoft released build 10572 of Windows 10 Mobile last week, hot on the heels of build 10549, as the release date nears for the first Windows 10 smartphones, the Lumia 950 and 950XL, expected in November. The company has not made it easy for Windows Insiders keeping up with the builds. Both 10549 and 10572 require first …
Tim Anderson, 29 Oct 2015

Smartphone boutique OnePlus reveals another model you can’t get

So long as Shenzhen smartphone upstart OnePlus insists on rationing the distribution of its products, it’s going to remain a boutique player. Quite literally. As OnePlus announced its third phone in London today, it added that it would create a pop-up in the Colette boutique concept store in Paris. Where better to show off …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Oct 2015
Arrow screenshot

Microsoft's 'Arrow' Android launcher flies into Play store

Microsoft has decided to press ahead with its Garage spare-time-dev-sandpit project, Arrow. First announced as a beta in July, Arrow is intended to showcase Redmond's newly-found love of other people's platforms (and, perchance, a desire to get its name in front of a wider world than Windows Phone). Arrow's now ditched the " …
Huawei P8

Huawei Q3 shipments soar, expects to shift 100 million mobes abroad this year

Huawei saw year-on-year smartphone shipments spike 63 per cent in its third quarter. The Chinese tech company said it was "proud" of the growth in smartphone sales that it had witnessed outside of the People's Republic. “At this rate, we are confident in our ability to reach our smartphone shipment target of 100 million units …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Oct 2015

The battle of Cupertino: Jailbreakers do it for freedom, not cash

Ruxcon A team of seven Chinese hackers are forgoing big bucks and instead pursuing their effort to open Apple to the security research field and thereby allow users to modify their devices. The group of brilliant independent security boffins known as Pangu Team are among the top researchers in the iDevice jailbreaking scene, where …
Darren Pauli, 27 Oct 2015

Zuk it and see: China’s stealth seduction of Western phone buyers

It sounds like a Facebook tribute, but “Zuk” is one of the more significant smartphone ventures to launch this year. It's another sign that Chinese manufacturers are threatening to leave high-priced big-brand flagships stranded. Given that the mighty Lenovo is behind Zuk, it’s one should probably be on your radar. What the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2015
Microsoft Lumia 640 Windows Phone

SatNad failure as Lumia income drops over 50% at Microsoft

Analysis Despite focusing exclusively on budget phones in 2015, Microsoft's Lumia revenues fell ... a lot. Year-on-year revenue declined 54 per cent in full year Q1 2015. We have to extrapolate the volumes from revenue, but assuming the Average Selling Prices (ASP) and the profit margin remained the same, that translates as shipments …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2015

Android Security: How's BlackBerry going to fix it?

Analysis “Android Security” sounds like an oxymoron, perhaps the biggest since “friendly fire”. So what’s BlackBerry, which has forged a reputation on enterprise security, thinking with the new Priv device? BlackBerry's handset division is promising to create a business-friendly secure 'droid, and it’s recently been explaining just how …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Oct 2015
Empty phone battery

BYOD battery bloodbath? Facebook 'fesses up to crook code

If you've gone down the bring your own device (BYOD) route and your users are always complaining about battery life, Facebook has just explained why: its iOS app sucks … ridiculous amounts of power. The Social Network™'s engineering manager Ari Grant took to his own platform to note “reports of some people experiencing battery …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Oct 2015

Is China dumping smartphones on world+dog?

Analysis We’ve heard much this week about China dumping steel, but less so about China dumping smartphones onto the rest of the world. But the latter accusation is actually far closer to truth. For years, the leading phone brands like Samsung, Sony and HTC have spent huge amounts in the hope of gaining the windfall profits that follow …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Oct 2015

HTC's new One A9 will gulp Android updates days after Nexus mobes

HTC is pinning its comeback on better service, and cuddling up closer to Google. The troubled Taiwanese manufacturer's latest model, the midrange One A9, will come in an "Unlocked Edition," allowing tinkerers to customize the Android operating system without voiding their warranty. And HTC promises the One A9 will get Android …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2015

BlackBerry opens its Priv kimono just a little wider

BlackBerry's has offered more glimpses of its first Android phone, Priv, and the device's specs have also leaked into public gaze. The Priv is unique in that nobody else is pitching a security-hardened Android at businesses that boasts top-end consumer specs. The device, glimpsed for a few seconds in March, features a slide …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2015
Nexus 5X

New Nexus 5X, 6P smarties: Google draws a line in the sand

Review Google’s latest Nexus smartphones, the 5X and the 6P, were announced last month, and while there's a lot to be said for the upgrades, there's some unfortunate omissions. It has been five years since the first Nexus smartphone was unveiled, and since then the Chocolate Factory (and assorted hardware partners) has used the brand …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2015

TRANSISTOR-GATE-GATE: Apple admits some iPhone 6Ses crappier than others

Apple has confessed that some iPhone 6Ses have worse battery life than others because their processors are made by two different chip bakers. The Cupertino giant said in a statement on Thursday that the handsets using TSMC-built 16nm A9 processors will have a slightly longer battery life than those powered by Samsung-built …
Shaun Nichols, 9 Oct 2015

Tiny Robot Smartphone: Invasion Earth 2016 – prepare to be facially recognised humans

Japanese electronics firm Sharp has presented a prototype smartphone which is also a functioning tiny robot. The robomobo is 19cm tall and weighs in at 390g (compare with the iPhone 6 at 129g). Dubbed RoBoHoN, it will be commercially available during the first half of 2016, according to Tuesday's CEATEC preview event. A …
Sad Android

Ad-slinging rootkit nasty permanently drills into Android mobes, tabs

Security researchers have uncovered malware that infects deep inside Android devices, spams screens with pop-up adverts, and obeys commands from its masters across the internet. The software nasty, likely crafted by Chinese crims, has already spread to over 20 countries across all continents, security firm FireEye warns. The …
John Leyden, 7 Oct 2015
Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung forgets Galaxy worries, surprises analysts with big numbers

Despite the Galaxy 6 and its kin – Plus, Edge, Edge Plus – tanking, Samsung Electronics has posted impressive numbers for the third quarter, substantially higher than analysts had predicted, leading to a jump in the share price. The Korean tech giant has forecast profit for July, August and September will be 7.3tn won (£4.1bn …
Simon Rockman, 7 Oct 2015
Lumia 950 XL

Worker drones don't need PCs says Microsoft, give 'em phones instead

Windows Phone has had a very rocky history, but Microsoft thinks it may have found a winning strategy to get its handsets into the business market – let them be PCs. Youtube Video At a press conference in New York, Microsoft unveiled the Lumia 950 (5.2-inch screen) and 950XL (5.7-inch screen). The phones are designed to work …
Iain Thomson, 6 Oct 2015
Android 6 Marshmallow Logo

Chocolate Factory plops Marshmallow on Android slabs

Google has posted the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for its Nexus devices. The Chocolate Factory said on Monday that the Nexus 5, 6, and 7 (2013 model) and the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will all be getting Marshmallow as an over-the-air update. The upcoming Nexus 5X and 6P will also ship with Marshmallow pre-installed, and …
Shaun Nichols, 6 Oct 2015