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Aged 18-24? Don't care about voting? Got a phone? Oh dear...

The Electoral Commission has spotted two things: 18-24 year olds don’t vote and 18-24 year olds have smartphones. You'll never guess what's coming next. The commission, which is charged with getting the UK population out to vote, has employed Weve to peddle mobile voter registration to the youth market. Young adults will be …
Simon Rockman, 17 Mar 2015
Moments of perspiration

Tell us, do you enjoy the thought of BT-EE's sweaty fourplay?

The Competition and Markets Authority has written to telcos and media groups asking for their thoughts as it weighs up the implications of BT swallowing EE. Rivals, notably Vodafone, have already highlighted how much more radio spectrum the combined organisation will have than any of the other mobile phone networks. The telcos …
Simon Rockman, 16 Mar 2015

Siri, you're fired: Microsoft Cortana's elbows into iOS, Android

Microsoft is porting its personal-assistant software Cortana to Android and iOS to go head to head against Apple's Siri and Google Now. Cortana will be available as a standalone app available for download to phones and tablets running the Google and Apple operating systems, Reuters reports. Cortana will debut on Windows 10 …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Mar 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
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

ACLU files new lawsuits in hunt for police 'Stingray' mobe-trackers

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California has filed another two lawsuits on Tuesday as the organisation's campaign to bring information about StingRay cellphone surveillance devices into the public domain continues. The lawsuits against the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and the Anaheim Police Department …
Barney Rubble driving with Fred Flinstone

Cambridge Wireless scoops ex-UKTI man as new top dog

One of the most influential organisations in mobile is a non profit organisation. We are not talking about Sony Mobile but Cambridge Wireless. And it has a new boss: Bob Driver. Cambridge Wireless brings together the great and the good from the mobile industry, mainly from the research side. These include companies such as …
Simon Rockman, 11 Mar 2015
a coffee cup topped with cappucino foam with a wi-fi symbol sprinkled on top in powdered chocolate

Vodafone: Can't make calls on our network? Use Wi-Fi

Vodafone will launch Wi-Fi Calling and Voice over 4G (VoLTE) this summer. Both services require handsets that support the technologies, and Vodafone is keeping mum as to which ones it will be shipping. Wi-Fi Calling is a UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) service and for certain high-end handsets is an alternative to using the …
Simon Rockman, 11 Mar 2015
typing while standing

Would YOU touch-type on this chunk-tastic keyboard?

The TREWGrip keyboard is designed for butter-fingered mobile users who are keen to touch type as fluidly on their smartphones as they would on a desktop keyboard. The keys are positioned on the back of the pad, piano accordion style, allowing you to depress them with the outstretched fingers of your hand, which is firmly clamped …
Simon Rockman, 10 Mar 2015

MWC 2015 roundup: Strap on a wearable and cover your face in sickly VR goo

Yes – it's time for our Mobile World Congress 2015 linkfest! Here's The Register's full coverage of what was hot and plain old rot in Barcelona this year. Phabba-dabba-do: Samsung hypes up Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge – A built-in battery? Is your name Apple? Samsung Galaxy Note Edge HTC One M9 hands on: Like a smart M8 in a sharp …
Team Register, 8 Mar 2015
Ubisoft Driver San Francisco

United Nations: For pity's sake don't use your iPhone in your car

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU, the telecoms agency of the United Nations) has published a very short whitelist of mobile phones that are properly compatible with car kits. The phones have been tested to an exacting specification which defines the mechanical mouth used, the mechanical ear and brings scientific …
Simon Rockman, 6 Mar 2015
Barcelona brothel takes poster site

GSMA: Er, sorry about that MWC brothel ad with our logo

Mobile World Congress organiser the GSMA has issued an apology for the use of its logo on a website advertising a Barcelona brothel, but has been unable to do anything about a large poster which sits next to a Samsung advert. Visitors to Mobile World Congress are used to the route from the airport to the city imploring the 90, …
Simon Rockman, 6 Mar 2015
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: A side swipe at smartphone design

Review Edge. Get used to the word. From here on in, if the scuttlebut is to be believed, several flagship Samsung devices will be available with an Edge variant.  An Edgy version of the Galaxy S6 has already been confirmed.  A what? In simple terms with a bit of extra screen that curves around the right hand edge of the device. …
Alun Taylor, 3 Mar 2015
BlackBerry Leap smartphone

BlackBerry gets flirty with QWERTY IP, launches $275 Leap

MWC 2015 BlackBerry's CEO told The Register today that everything in the company’s IP portfolio is up for grabs, including hardware IP for BlackBerry’s hallmark QWERTY keyboards. “I’m not a big believer in holding on to all your secret sauces,” John Chen told us. “We have 53 per cent of staff employed in IP creation and engineering and …
Borg

Internet of Things? Pah! Biz bods, you're wasting your money

Mobile operators could be pissing away $46bn in their excitement over the Internet of Things and wearables. So says Syniverse, the company which forms the glue between mobile networks handling lots of interconnects and things like number portability. Of course being polite and American, it didn’t quite phrase the problem quite …
Simon Rockman, 3 Mar 2015

90% of mobile data eaten by TINY, GREEDY super-user HOTSPOTS

+Comment Usage of mobile data is extremely unevenly distributed. This is the conclusion of a report by the Location Intelligence business unit of a major communications equipment company. JDSU, which makes test equipment for mobile operators, looked at who is using the most mobile data and where they are using it. Its research found …
Simon Rockman, 3 Mar 2015
xperia m4

Chasing pennies, Sony, Microsoft and smartphone biz rivals retreat to mid-range

MWC 2015 Before you read this, or any phone news at all this week, keep in mind one statistic. According to Strategy Analytics, for every Great British pound of profit made in the entire smartphone industry, Apple pocketed 89 pence. Everyone else is left with 11.7 pence. Everyone. In an industry that generates $300bn in wholesale revenue …

Ericsson, Telstra and Qualcomm up the ante with 600Mbps demo

MWC 2015 Qualcomm, Ericsson and Telstra are set to demonstrate a new tri-carrier LTE-A solution capable of delivering 600Mbps over mobile at this week's Mobile World Congress. Nokia has already managed the same speeds using two carriers with a four-antenna MIMO. However, the Ericsson technology meets the specs of LTE CAT 11, and (so it …
Simon Rockman, 2 Mar 2015

HTC One M9 hands on: Like a smart M8 in a sharp suit

MWC 2015 HTC's One is like a tasteful band that has been the critics' choice for years but never quite breaks through from cult status to superstardom. It's by far the classiest thing on the market – but its distinctiveness and craftmanship hasn't been rewarded by runaway success. If only HTC could convert glowing reviews into dollars, …
Acer M220 Windows Phone

Acer enters Windows Phone fray with cheap Liquid M220 mobe

MWC 2015 Acer is entering the Windows Phone market, with a low-end model that will retail for just €79, making it the cheapest mobile in the vendor’s range. The Taiwanese firm announced the Liquid M220 today in Barcelona, on the eve of Mobile World Congress. It has a 4-inch display with 233 pixels per inch, 512MB RAM, 8GB storage, 1.2GHz …
Tim Anderson, 1 Mar 2015
Power lines

Ikea to start making electrified furniture. What could possibly go wrong?

MWC 2015 Ikea, having successfully branded Sweden as a country associated with family disputes and cupboards with wonky doors, has now taken on the challenge of improving how we all live through Qi wireless charging technology. From 15 April, American and European Ikea customers will be able to buy flat-pack furniture which integrates a …
Simon Rockman, 1 Mar 2015
Still from the movie Zoolander: Derek and a fellow model try to get the 'files' out of the Mac by smashing it to pieces. copyright Paramount Pictures

Barclays punts instant Twitter mobile payments app – best avoid while drunk

UK banking giant Barclays has confirmed plans to allow Brits and small businesses to use their, er, Twitter handle to make payments online. Customers who use Barclays' mobile payment service Pingit on Android phones and iOS slabs will be able to pay others via Twitter as of 10 March, the bank said. Barclays mobe banking boss …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Feb 2015
Panic button

SIM hack scandal biz Gemalto: Everything's fine ... Security industry: No, it's really not

Six days ago Gemalto, the world's largest SIM card manufacturer, was told that back in 2010 it had been ransacked by NSA and GCHQ hackers. Today the company gave itself the all-clear: no encryption keys, used to secure phone calls from eavesdroppers, were stolen, it claims. Yet the IT security industry is not so sure. Documents …
Iain Thomson, 25 Feb 2015

Nokia blasts Ericsson out of water, demos 600Mbps data speeds

In the arms race for faster data speeds, Nokia Networks has pulled out 600Mbps over Ericsson’s 450Mbps by using 4X4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology. A demo with South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom started with a mere 300Mbps using 20MHz of contiguous spectrum and then using carrier aggregation with LTE-A …
Simon Rockman, 25 Feb 2015
gagged spock

Microsoft cuts Facebook Messenger, Google Talk from Outlook.com

Microsoft is doubling down on Skype by killing integration with Google Talk and Facebook Messenger in Outlook.com. The software giant has begun emailing Outlook.com users, saying it is discontinuing support for Google and Facebook's chat apps in its free email service within the “next couple of weeks”. Microsoft blamed Mountain …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Feb 2015

Carphone Warehouse, RootMetrics ink data deal, declare customer love

Carphone Warehouse will use RootMetrics data – essentially network performance information – to help customers choose which networks they should be on. A deal between the high street super-power and the frozen frothy coffee-led research organisation will see staff in the shop look up the places where customers want to use their …
Simon Rockman, 20 Feb 2015
Long exposure shot showing patterns made my moving lightsabers

Wi-Fi beam-steering tech could KILL OFF fixed home networks

Analysis Veteran US antenna team Ethertronics has brought out what it describes as an active antenna system that can offer beam steering for Wi-Fi. The system sits in either the client end of Wi-Fi to stimulate the return path or in an Access Point and will work with any Wi-Fi chip architecture and boost performance by between 15 per …
Faultline, 20 Feb 2015
GCHQ slide

Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

The NSA and Britain's GCHQ hacked the world's biggest SIM card maker to harvest the encryption keys needed to silently and effortlessly eavesdrop on potentially millions of people. That's according to documents obtained by surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden and leaked to the web on Thursday. "Wow. This is huge – it's one …
Iain Thomson, 19 Feb 2015
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
Ericsson's pole dancer

We don't need no steenkin' cabinet: Ericsson hangs base stations off masts

A new design of mobile base station by Ericsson aims to do away with the traditional cabinet on the ground connected by a thick wire to an antenna on a pole. The Ericsson Radio System puts the gubbins behind the antenna into modules, which can be swapped in and out. The aim is to save operators the cost of having to buy or rent …
Simon Rockman, 19 Feb 2015
Photo of Jonathan Ive

Apple design don Jony Ive: Build-your-own phone is BOLLOCKS

Analysis Apple deity Sir Jony Ive claims that companies which offer mass customisation are "abdicating responsibility" for their design. While he hasn’t named names, Motorola appears to have taken umbrage and asked: “Are you looking at me?” In a long interview in The New Yorker, Ive says of an unnamed rival, “Their value proposition was …
Simon Rockman, 19 Feb 2015
Use google.com button

Google MENACED by Russian probe over 'abuse of dominance' gripe

Russia's answer to Google, Yandex, has filed an official complaint against the American ad giant to the Russian competition authorities. Yandex claims the US ad slinger is abusing its position and forcing mobile phone manufacturers to include Google search on the home screen of all Android devices. The complaint comes as Yandex' …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Feb 2015
Pushmi-Pullyu

BlackBerry's money-making QNX unit touts virty dual-OS devices

QNX Software Systems, the BlackBerry subsidiary that markets operating systems and tools for embedded systems, has released new virtualization software designed to allow device makers to deliver rich graphical UIs without sacrificing reliability or safety. QNX Hypervisor allows embedded devices to operate two OS instances at the …
Neil McAllister, 18 Feb 2015
LG Prada KE850 - model

Qualcomm, ARM: We thought we had such HOT MODELS...

The history of mobile device processors is that of two companies, Qualcomm and ARM, both with unique licensing models which many envy but few can successfully copy or compete with. As the growth in the wireless world shifts to embedded and larger-screened devices, and the mobile chip balance of power moves towards China and Wi- …
Wireless Watch, 17 Feb 2015
Obama

Obama administration ENDORSES Apple Pay during Tim Cook's White House LOVE-IN

U.S. President Barack Obama has backed Apple Pay – Cupertino's new payment system – after iThing chief Tim Cook was given a 15-minute-long ad spot at the White House on Friday. That endorsement means that the government will accept Apple Pay transactions for citzens who have federal-payment cards and are, for example, claiming …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Feb 2015

Meerkats helped Ofcom unlock White Space spectrum-hopping

A trial at London Zoo has paved the way for Ofcom guidelines on using the unused “White Space” parts of the radio spectrum in the 470 to 790 MHz frequency band. Three webcams were set up: two in the meerkats' home and one in the otters' enclosure. All three were linked to a web server using White Space radio as TVWS – TV White …
Simon Rockman, 12 Feb 2015
The radio dot uses CAT5/6/7 to link to the radio unit

Ericsson and Qualcomm in BONKERS 450Mbps 4G test lab demo

Combining frequencies to get more bandwidth is part of the LTE (4G) specification. Wireless boffins have now demonstrated the concept, achieving blazingly fast speeds in a test lab. Qualcomm and Ericsson say they aggregated licensed frequencies and unlicensed 5GHz spectrum to achieve very high bandwidths. Use of spectrum across …
Simon Rockman, 12 Feb 2015
Unlocked padlock

Let freedom RING! Americans can now legally liberate phones from axis of network evil

It's phone Independence Day as American mobe owners can now legally unlock their smartphones again from their network carriers – provided you've finished paying for them. Phone unlocking, allowing it to subscribe to a different network, was perfectly legal in the US until 2012, when the practice was banned in a review of the …
Iain Thomson, 11 Feb 2015
Paul Graham installs a Parallel Networks cell for EE in Cumbria

EE 'best' of the UK mobile network bunch, but how good is that?

Mobile network testing company RootMetrics has again hailed EE as the best network for speed, reliability, calls and text. Three comes second in all tests. Vodafone and O2 swapped third and fourth spots in various categories but O2 came out ahead overall. The latest figures cover the second half of 2014, so may well under-rate …
Simon Rockman, 10 Feb 2015

Alibaba splurges $590m on mobile-maker Meizu. Xiaomi the money?

Alibaba, which held the largest IPO in history after raising $25bn, has bought a minority stake in Meizu, the Chinese manufacturer of Android-based smartphones. While recent releases such as the eight core Meizu M1note run standard Kit-Kat (with Lollipop to come), it is expected that Alibaba will want to see devices with its …
Simon Rockman, 9 Feb 2015

UK mobile networks LOSE to France and Germany on data speeds

Mobile internet speeds are slower in the UK than in France and Germany, says yet another mobe coverage survey. This survey is crowdsourced by Aalto University and it has to be read with a little caution, as while the research has 1,250,020 data points, 1,144,213 of them were captured in Finland and only 10,298 in the UK. It …
Simon Rockman, 9 Feb 2015

Crap mobile coverage costs UK biz £30m a week, reckons survey

Comment Indoor mobile coverage is pants, says ip.access, a company which makes kit to improve indoor coverage. To quantify just how pants it is the Cambridge-based company commissioned a poll from survey outfit OnePoll. They carried out research in the form of an online survey, and then did some sums to come up with the claim, “UK …
Simon Rockman, 9 Feb 2015

Microsoft: Even cheapo Lumias to get slimmed down Windows 10

The “next chapter” in Windows is coming to Microsoft's cheapo, mass-market Lumia phones. Microsoft is working to get Windows 10 working on devices with just 512MB RAM, including the Lumia 520. The news was tweeted by Microsoft operating systems group vice president Joe Belfiore on Sunday. Just one catch: small memory means …
Gavin Clarke, 9 Feb 2015