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WhisperSystems creates 'suicide pill' for phones

The developers who jumped in early in the “Arab Spring” to create an encrypted communications app for Android have now gone a step further, crafting a geofenced self-destruct that can wipe a phone based on location. WhisperSystems.org's Zones app, which isn't yet ready for prime time but should be released to Google Play soon, …

What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

Analysis "Nokia has commenced reporting substantially all of its Devices & Services business as discontinued operations", the company noted dryly in its earnings report last week. The numbers didn't paint a picture Microsoft would have wanted. Lumia sales fell back after four consecutive quarters of growth, having doubled in the past …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jan 2014

Nokia waves goodbye to device biz as phone sales continue to spiral

Nokia's fourth quarter earnings report for its fiscal 2013 shows a company that's striving to reinvent itself – as it prepares to complete the sale of its struggling mobile phone business to Microsoft. The Finnish firm is already reporting its Devices & Services business unit as "discontinued operations," even though the deal …
Neil McAllister, 23 Jan 2014
Pedestrian Council billboard campaign: Lambs to the slaughter. Wait for the green

Walking while texting can – OUCH! – end badly, say boffins

Scientists have proved what anyone walking down a crowded street in modern city knows: those who gaze at their phones while ambulating are a danger to themselves and others. Detailed here at PLOS ONE in research titled “Texting and Walking: Strategies for Postural Control and Implications for Safety”, the authors explain that …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jan 2014
A sapphire gemstone

Apple-aligned firm opens sapphire glass factory. iPhone 6 rumours, DEPLOY

Apple manufacturing partner GT Advanced has embarked on a hiring drive for its brand new sapphire-glass-producing iFactory. The fruity firm's friend will produce the "state of the art material" in Mesa, Arizona. GT sent around a postcard which announced that jobs were available at the production facility. It said: "Right now …
Jasper Hamill, 22 Jan 2014

Chin up, BlackBerry. We know who still loves you: The cuddly Pentagon

Ailing BlackBerry has received a new vote of confidence from the US Department of Defense, which has reaffirmed its commitment to the Canadian firm's platform for a major mobile communications initiative due to launch this year. According to a press release issued by the DoD's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) last week …
Neil McAllister, 21 Jan 2014
Back of iPhone 5

Pay-by-bonk? YEP, it's an Apple patent now...

Apple has filed a patent which defines how iPhones can make secure payments using a combination of NFC and a separate data connection – and it could lead to a new payments system for iTunes. The patent describes a number of transaction models where NFC is used to make an initial connection between the phone and a merchant's …
Simon Rockman, 21 Jan 2014
Ubuntu smartphones

Rarin' to buy an Ubuntu phone? Maybe not until 2015, Canonical man says

Commercial smartphones running the mobile version of the Ubuntu Linux distro probably won't be available through carriers until 2015 at the earliest, a Canonical spokesman has revealed. When Canonical CEO Jane Silber first announced plans to port Ubuntu to phones last year, she said the goal was to ship the first handsets with …
Neil McAllister, 16 Jan 2014
Angry woman on mobile

PGP wiz Phil Zimmermann and pals tout anti-snoop mobe – the Blackphone

Video A smartphone that tries to thwart eavesdroppers will be launched this summer by Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone and Silent Circle – the secure chat firm started by the inventors of PGP encryption. Dubbed Blackphone, and featured in the video above, the handset runs a hardened version of Android called PrivatOS that has …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jan 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook, 2012

Apple CEO on China Mobile: 'World's best' mobe with world's, uh, 'largest network'

Apple CEO Tim Cook has used a rare television interview to hail a "milestone" deal with China Mobile which is expected to result in millions of extra iPhone sales in the People's Republic. He appeared alongside chairman Xi Guohua in a televised love-in to publicise the historic deal. Speaking in his folksy, down-at-home Alabama …
Jasper Hamill, 15 Jan 2014
Radiation detected by smartphone camera

Samsung Nexus S beats Galaxy S III – at detecting GAMMA RAYS

Late last year, an app called GammaPix garnered some media attention as a kind of low-cost geiger counter. Now, a US test lab has confirmed that yes, smartphone cameras can detect radiation. The idea is simple enough: the CMOS cameras should generate some kind of signal in the presence of radiation, so all you need is an app to …
Googorola logo

Apple's iPhone did not rip off Googorola's wireless patent – US appeal judges

A US appeals court has upheld a decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that Apple's iPhone does not infringe a patent owned by Google's Motorola Mobility division. The protected technology in question was Motorola Mobility's US Patent No. 6,272,333, which describes a "method and apparatus in a wireless …
Neil McAllister, 10 Jan 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Blasphemy! Finns trample over Windows Phone home screen

Nokia's phone division has released an app that might upset the high priests at the Temple of Windows Phone Design – who will shortly become its new masters. The app allows users to add folders to the Windows Phone Home Screen – thereby desecrating the hallowed ground which by almighty decree, Must Never Change. It's part of a …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2014
management regulation1

Apple, Samsung get a room to settle patent war. Forgive us if we don't hold our breath

With the start date of their next trial looming, Apple and Samsung have agreed to try to settle their long-running patent disputes through a mediator. Bloomberg reports that the bitter rivals announced their intention to enter talks outside the courtroom in documents filed with the US Federal Court in San Jose on Thursday. The …
Neil McAllister, 10 Jan 2014

Fairfax shovels another $250m into buying BlackBerry debt

BlackBerry backer Fairfax Financial is set to buy another $250m of its convertible debentures, which should give the ailing mobile firm a much-needed shot in the arm. The companies said that Fairfax's generosity was part of an additional debenture option as part of BlackBerry's successful placement of $1bn worth of debentures …

'Leaked' iPhone 6 pics will make cool fanbois WEEP - it's a PHABLET

Pics The days of 2014 haven’t even clocked up double figures yet and already the iPhone 6 rumour mill is grinding out more purported sightings of Apple’s next iOS handset design. This time we get to gaze upon blurry metal chassis images, apparently courtesy of Chinese site CTech, (C科技). Yet following this supposed leak, all and …
Bob Dormon, 9 Jan 2014
Sliced Bread

Pakistani retail chain bakes DEEELICIOUS Android mobes

Pakistan could be about to get a delicious new domestic smartphone brand after sources close to retailer Gourmet Foods claimed the firm is planning an imminent launch in the mobile business. Those unnamed sources told TechInAsia that the food retailer is prepping a low-cost Java handset and an Android 4.2-based smartphone for …
Smartphone user on Tube

Tizen: We have ignition! Smartmobes will come to fruition in spring - reports

Smartphones based on the long-awaited Tizen operating system will finally be unveiled in the next couple of months, according to new reports. Unnamed sources at some of the companies involved in the project told Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun that there’d be an “announcement” on a release date for a Samsung phone based on the OS …
BlackBerry Curve 8520

BlackBerry CEO: I LOVE keyboards, so if you want them, you'll get them

CES 2014 According to BlackBerry interim CEO John Chen*, the hardscrabble smartphone maker's next wave of products will return to tried-and-true form factors, complete with the company's hallmark hardware keyboards. BlackBerry launched its all-touchscreen Z10 handset to much fanfare under previous CEO Thorsten Heins last January. But …
Monster Beats Pro

HTC Beats off loss, but shares slip after disappointing quarter

HTC saw its shares slip 3.61 per cent in Taiwan as it narrowly avoided a quarterly loss, saved only by booking a profit from selling its stake in headphone brand Beats Electronics. The Taiwanese smartphone maker reported a worse-than-expected net profit yesterday, of just $300m ($10m) compared to a net loss in the previous …
Alicia Keys at a red carpet event in a blue, jewelled gown with upswept hairdo. Photo by Keith Hinkle, licensed under creative commons attribution

Alicia Keys throws in towel on BlackBerry's creative director job

She's the indecisive pop star who sung about constantly "falling in and out of love" with some bloke or other. Now the caterwauling piano player Alicia Keys has made a concrete decision, for once in her life, and has stepped down from her role as BlackBerry's global creative director. She started the role last year, when the …
Jasper Hamill, 3 Jan 2014
Apple iPhone 5c: back, front, and side views

iPhone fanbois outsmart fandroids in totally reliable test of brain power

A survey has found that iPhone owners may be slightly smarter than their Android-owing counterparts when it comes to brain teasers. The highly scientific test, apparently commissioned by bookies Ladbrokes, found that on average iPhone fanbois were able to complete a series of puzzles in less time than folks with other handsets …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Jan 2014
Happy child at Christmas with a tablet

Only iPhone fondling rose at Xmas: Were non-Apple fans in a turkey coma?

Apple was the only smartphone manufacturer whose handsets saw an increase in usage in the US and Canada during the just-ended holiday season – though only a minor one. But its fortunes declined in the tablet market, where Amazon and Microsoft led the usage-gain pack. These conclusions aren't based on hard sales numbers – it will …
Rik Myslewski, 2 Jan 2014
Samsung Diva

Seoul-blackening disappointment for Samsung backers as stock droops

Shares in Samsung Electronics fell to their lowest in four months, dropping over four per cent on Thursday, after analysts said the firm's quarterly earnings were likely to be hit by the strong won and weaker business in its display unit, according to Reuters. The Korean chaebol's stock closed down 4.6 per cent on its fifth …

Glassholes, snapt**ts, #blabbergasms, selfies and PRISM: The Reg's review of 2013

Year in Review "Selfie" is the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year. There's nothing new about a "selfie" - it's a self-portrait - but a perfect storm of social networks and smartphones has given popularity to a word and an act even world leaders feel it's OK to do on really serious occasions. In keeping with a long tradition here at …
Gavin Clarke, 31 Dec 2013
Punk-styled girl with piercing gazes at an apple

Apple loses sauce, BlackBerry squashed and Microsoft, er, WinsPhones (Nokia's)

Year in Review It was a year where Apple slurped down enormous profits but lost some of its bleeding-edge-tech street cred, while Samsung marched inexorably on. But behind the scenes there was much more going on. Here are the year's trends put through the blender. Apple Apple's strategy is quite simple: instead of making products the …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2013

HTC: Shipping Android updates is harder than you think – here's why

If you're wondering why your HTC smartphone hasn't been updated with the latest version of Android yet, the struggling smartphone vendor wants you to know it's not its fault – at least, not entirely. While Apple likes to brag about how quickly its iPhone and iPad devices receive updates to the latest iOS version, Android devices …
Neil McAllister, 27 Dec 2013

Apple wants sales ban on Samsung smartphones nobody is selling

Flush from recent courtroom victories, Apple is once again requesting a ban on sales of more than 20 Samsung smartphones in the US – even though none of the products in question are being sold anymore. Bloomberg reports that Cupertino has filed a new motion in the US District Court of San Jose, California, asking it to block …
Neil McAllister, 27 Dec 2013
Photo of smartphones running Ubuntu

Ubuntu desktop is so 2013... All hail 2014 Ubuntu mobile

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth is no stranger to exploring rarefied territory. The man has, after all, been to space. His interest in new frontiers means Ubuntu, the Linux distro he created, is also poised to make a great leap - to go where no Linux has gone before. Shuttleworth's plan to take Linux beyond the desktop and …
Android

Ubuntu unleashes dual boot tool for Android mobes'n'slabs

Canonical has just given curious Reg readers something interesting to to do in the dead days between Christmas and whenever you go back to work: figuring out how to dual boot an Android phone. The Ubuntu custodian company has slipped out a developer preview of a new dual boot tool that allows owners a limited number of Android …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Dec 2013
BlackBerry logo

Party's over in Waterloo as BlackBerry pulls plug on 2014 Live conference

BlackBerry-friendly IT managers and developers will feel a little lonelier next year, now that the Waterloo, Ontario–based firm has announced there will be no 2014 BlackBerry Live conference. Official BlackBerry blogger Donny Halliwell revealed the company's plans on Friday, saying BlackBerry had decided that putting on a big …
Neil McAllister, 24 Dec 2013
A shot taken with the iPhone 5c

Official: Apple hooks up with WORLD'S LARGEST MOBILE OPERATOR

Apple will soon launch a bid to convert more than 700 million new fanbois and gurlz after belatedly inking a deal with the world's largest mobile phone provider. The announcement comes after almost two years of behind the scenes wrangling between the fruity firm and China Mobile, after Apple's exclusivity contract with China …
Jasper Hamill, 23 Dec 2013
Cyanogenphone

Cyanogen grabs $23m, will ship mod-installed N1 smartmobe on Xmas Eve

Champagne corks will be popping in a Seattle startup this evening. Cyanogen, the company behind alternative Android distribution CyanogenMod, has banked $23m in series-B funding – and Google has given its blessing to allow a smartphone to ship with the team's operating system installed. The double whammy of funding and a phone …
Jack Clark, 21 Dec 2013
Smartphones

DisARMed: Geeksphone's next high-end mobe to pack Intel x86 inside

Spanish startup Geeksphone has announced that its next smartphone model will be its first to be powered by an Intel mobile processor. The upcoming Geeksphone Revolution, which the company has been teasing since November, will be based on an Intel Atom Z2560, part of Chipzilla's "Clover Trail+" line, Geeksphone said in an …
Neil McAllister, 20 Dec 2013

Apple won't bag HUMUNGOUS 4G deal... 'cos China HATES plastic iPhone 5C – analyst

Apple has failed to ink a lucrative 4G deal with humungo cellphone carrier China Mobile due to poor demand for its plastic iPhone 5C, a leading analyst has claimed. The world's largest mobile carrier has already launched a 4G LTE network, which was widely anticipated to coincide with the announcement of a long-anticipated deal …
Jasper Hamill, 20 Dec 2013
Apple iPhone 5s: back, front, and side views

Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Just spent 50 quid on the latest iPhone dock? You'd better start saving for a new one, because the EU has set a timetable for its plans to force all phone manufacturers to use the same charger. Although the EU is well known for its diversity policies, it has been planning to homogenise phone chargers for some time. Ultimately, …
Jasper Hamill, 20 Dec 2013

Proposed California law demands anti-theft 'kill switch' in all smartphones

California may soon become the first US state to require mobile phone makers to include a feature that can remotely disable their handsets in the event they are stolen. A new law proposed by California state Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón would require all smartphones sold in the state to …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2013

Apple iPhone 5s still world's top-selling smartphone – report

Apple's flagship iPhone 5s has been the world's top-selling smartphone for two months in a row, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research's Monthly Market Pulse report for October 2013. Cupertino holds three of the top four slots in the top 10, with Samsung's Galaxy S4 coming in at number three. Top 10 smartphones in …
Rik Myslewski, 12 Dec 2013
Virtualisation for Beginners

I want virtualisation on my iPhone, and I want it NOW

Analysis By turning computers into software, virtualisation can increase security and free us from underlying complex hardware. Systems can be deployed in moments, and we're offered much better efficiency and flexibility. Which are all really good things, albeit things commonly associated with PCs and servers. But virtualisation would be …
Rupert Goodwins, 12 Dec 2013
smarty ring smart ring device

Smarty Ring promises technology at your fingertips

A new smart ring which displays the time and alerts from the user’s phone has been getting the interwebs all in a flutter this week. Smarty Ring was the brainchild of Chennai-based mechatronics engineer Ashok Kumar, according to CBC News. A flashy web site offering pre-orders explains that the smart jewellery is compatible with …
Phil Muncaster, 12 Dec 2013

Got a one-of-a-kind N9? Get ready to adopt Meego's baby Sailfish

The only Meego phone Nokia ever released, the now two-year-old N9, has been given a new lease of life today. Owners can now install the new Meego descendent Sailfish alongside the original OS. Sailfish is an open-source operating system developed by startup Jolla, and is a continuation of the work Nokia did on Meego before it …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Dec 2013
Apple Store Scottsdale

iSPY: Apple Stores switch on iBeacon phone sniff spy system

Apple has switched on its controversial iBeacon snooping system across 254 US stores. The fruity firm's iSpy network allows Apple to watch fanbois as they walk around an Apple store and then send them various messages depending on where they are in the shop. This might come in handy when visiting an Apple store, for instance, …
Jasper Hamill, 9 Dec 2013