Personal Tech > More stories

Mini excavator with narrow bucket for laying fiber-optic cable line

UK good for superfast broadband, crap for FTTP – Ofcom

Blighty is one of the top countries when it comes to superfast broadband but one of the worst for full-fibre connections, according to an in-depth report by Ofcom comparing the UK with 16 other nations. Superfast broadband is available to more than nine in 10 UK households, making it one of the top countries for 30Mbps, …
Kat Hall, 18 Dec 2017

Peak smartphone? iPhone X flunks 'supercycle' hopes

Anyone hoping that the 10th anniversary iPhone hype – including the revolutionary 3D poo emoji – would reinvigorate consumer interest in the product line may be disappointed. First-month iPhone sales are slower than last year, one analyst surmises, and for good measure the major Chinese Android vendors have cut stock orders by …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Dec 2017

Microsoft's 'Surface Phone' is the ghost of Courier laughing mockingly at fanbois

The handful of fans anticipating a Microsoft "Surface Phone" should brace themselves for disappointment. Just-published patents filed by Microsoft look back rather than forward: back to Courier, the code name for a booklet-style, hinged dual-display tablet product that Microsoft canned in 2010. The "new" claims, filed in …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Dec 2017
BlackBerry Priv. Press pic

BlackBerry won't kill BB10 until 2020, pulls regular Priv updates

BlackBerry has announced "continuing support" for the legacy BB10 OS phones it once made – but won't be updating its first Android phone, the Priv, regularly any more. "Support" means many things, and though owners of phones like the BlackBerry Passport will be relieved that the BB10 app store will continue to remain open for …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Dec 2017
scrrengrab of iphone x face id from apple's website

Erase 2017 from your brain. Face ID never happened. The Notch is an illusion

Apple is said to have made a virtue out of a necessity with its iPhone X – creating the notorious "Notch" to house a sophisticated facial-recognition system, Face ID. Arch-rival Samsung didn't do away its fingerprint sensor, but perched it awkwardly on the rear of its Galaxy S and Note models. Both companies had made these …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Dec 2017

Voda customers given green light by Ofcom to ditch contracts

Thousands of Vodafone customers have been given the green light by UK comms watchdog Ofcom to ditch their contracts, after the mobile phone provider hiked international roaming fees to £5 per day. Earlier this year, Vodafone introduced a roaming charge for customers travelling in 60 countries outside of the EU. This means that …
Kat Hall, 14 Dec 2017
The Essential Phone

No one saw it coming: Rubin's Essential phone considered anything but

Andy Rubin's ambitions to create a new consumer electronics ecosystem are floundering at base camp. Sales of Essential's phone, which forms a key part of the strategy, are tepid. Google Play reports a mere 50,000 download of Essential's Camera app so far, the Android Police blog notes. This doesn't paint the full picture, but …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Dec 2017
Facebook Wow Sad Angry

Hey, we've toned down the 'destroying society' shtick, Facebook insists

Facebook has taken the unusual step of responding to comments by former VP Chamath Palihapitiya that the social media giant was "destroying how society works". Palihapitiya said that executives ignored cautionary instincts when creating Facebook, and he now regretted the consequences. The Sri Lanka-born investor who grew up in …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Dec 2017

Netflix silent about ridicule as it discusses punters' viewing habits

A tweet sent in jest from Netflix's official Twitter account on Sunday evening has called the company's data practices into question. "To the 53 people who've watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?" a company representative said, via the social media and election-swaying service. To the …
Thomas Claburn, 12 Dec 2017
Intel Pentium Silver and Celeron chips

Intel beefs up low-end line with Gemini Lake CPUs

Intel has released the successors to its low-power Pentium 'Silver' and Celeron lines. The new chips are based on the Gemini Lake architecture (Intel's successor to 2016's Atom-derived Apollo Lake) and will be largely aimed at low-cost markets like budget PCs, 2-in-1 tablets, and data entry boxes that don't require much muscle …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Dec 2017

Kentucky lawmaker pushes smut filter law (update: maybe not)

A state legislator in Kentucky, USA, wants to mandate porn filters on all PCs and mobile phones sold in the state. Rep. Dan Johnson (R-Mt. Washington) issued a proposal that would require devices sold with internet access to be shipped with software to block out "obscenity, child pornography, revenge pornography, and …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Dec 2017

Sky regulators brace for millions of Xmas toy drone sales

The Civil Aviation Authority reckons a million and a half consumer drones will be sold over Christmas – and the aviation regulator hopes new dronies will read and obey the law of the skies. The CAA, whose Dronecode app summarises the dense legalese of the Air Navigation Order into plain English that anyone can understand, …
Gareth Corfield, 07 Dec 2017

Inside Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 for PCs, mobes: Cortex-A75s, fat caches, vector math, security stuff, and more

Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip will include an isolated security core for handling sensitive personal information, among other new features. The California chip designer showed off its upcoming 845 component at a tech summit in Hawaii on Wednesday, promising the silicon will power 2018's high-end Android …
Chris Williams, 07 Dec 2017

Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return

Review HMD's efforts to put the Nokia brand over what we call the "Shenzhen generics" formula haven't exactly set the world on fire yet. But in all honesty, you'll struggle to find anything better for £399, the revised price of the Nokia 8. China's supply chains and market maturation have caused a great levelling in the phone …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Dec 2017

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander

Pics Qualcomm, Microsoft, Asus, HP Inc and Lenovo today talked up their upcoming Arm-compatible, Snapdragon-powered three-in-one Windows 10 PCs. "Three in one" because they combine a laptop, a tablet, and smartphone-like connectivity in one. The laptop is the base unit. It's also a tablet because the display is a touchscreen and, …
Chris Williams, 06 Dec 2017
youtube_648

Tech giants at war: Google pulls plug on YouTube in Amazon kit

Google is trying to stop Amazon Echo Show devices from streaming YouTube videos – and from January, it will block Amazon’s Fire TVs from accessing the vid service, too. It appears the ad giant is killing off access to the YouTube app on Amazon's gadgets. From today, opening the YouTube application on an Echo Show or Fire TV …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Dec 2017
Qualcomm

Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

Analysis Qualcomm conquered the high-end smartphone world with its top-end Arm-compatible Snapdragon chips powering more than 120 smart mobes models globally. Now it's got a new quarry in its sights: the Windows 10 PC, and the x86 processors that typically power them. And also crappy Wi-Fi networks. Qualcomm wants to take smartphone- …
Chris Williams, 05 Dec 2017
Raspberry, image via Shutterstock

Vivaldi Arms onto Raspberry Pi

The power user’s browser Vivaldi has come to the Raspberry Pi and other Linux Arm boards. The Chrome-based browser will run on all three generations of the Pi, as well as the CubieBoard and ASUS’s Tinker Board, Vivaldi said today. Vivaldi has supported Linux (and Mac) since it made its debut, but this is the first Arm port, a …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Dec 2017

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: The unfashionable estate car wants to go to town

Review The Mate is Huawei's phablet range, but Huawei has traditionally taken a different approach from Samsung with its Note. The Note was an upmarket Jag and the Mate was what Americans call a station wagon, and what we call an estate: a dependable, but never fashionable, workhorse. While flagships got thinner, more beautiful and …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Dec 2017
zombie_648

From the graaaaaave! WileyFox's Windows 10 phone delayed again

WileyFox's Windows 10 Mobile – yes, you read that correctly – has been delayed again, and will now bump into Santa doing his rounds early. The catchily named "Wileyfox Pro with Windows 10" phone was announced in August, and WileyFox is sure that it can profit from Microsoft's neglect of its Windows phone customers. Over at the …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Dec 2017

Android Wear hardware boss bails

The engineering chief and public face of Google's wearables efforts has bailed. Belfast-born David Singleton was previously described as "the Engineering VP leading the Android Wear, Google Fit, Android Essentials apps and Google Store teams." He's joining digital payments company Stripe. The operation, started by two bright …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Dec 2017

Is Oomi the all-in-one smart home system we've been waiting for?

Review Typically when reviewing new electronic products – especially if it's a system of interacting components – you start from a very positive place. You imagine you could have in your hands the next big device – the thing everyone will be getting excited about in a few months' time – and then slowly, as you find its bugs and flaws …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Dec 2017

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the failest mobe of all?

Ten times as many Android users experience performance issues than iPhone users, although twice as many iPhone users report signal issues. Then again, Android apps crash one seventh as often as iOS apps, with Facebook's apps filling three of the top-four crash rankings. The figures come from Blancco's quarterly "State of …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Dec 2017

The plucky local Mom 'n’ Pop phone maker faces death

People are spending a little more on their phones, squeezing local and niche phone manufacturers. “The market is consolidating around bigger players. Small players with low price propositions are really struggling,” Gartner’s Anshul Gupta told us, reflecting on the Gartner’s latest numbers. Gupta has seen the trend of higher …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Nov 2017
Apple ARKit demo scene

Win 10 creators update offers new reality opportunity

Microsoft’s recent release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, with virtual and augmented reality built in, is a big moment. Microsoft was one-half of the duo with Intel – nicknamed Wintel - that during the 1990s made business computing a mass movement. Windows headsets paired with x86 PCs also promises this mass-market for …
Tim Anderson, 30 Nov 2017
LG EC970V OLED UHD TV

Want a new HDMI cable? No? Bad luck. You'll need one for HDMI 2.1

The HDMI forum has released the HDMI 2.1 spec, and promised it can deliver 48Gbps if you buy new cables that support the jump from HDMI 2.0s 18Gbps. But while the organisation has probably delighted gamers and 8K video watchers with that headline number, they'll have to wait until deep into 2018 to get their hands on kit that …
Phablets

Dawn of The Planet of the Phablets in 2019 will see off smartphones

Analyst outfit IDC has predicted the smartphone era will soon end, with 2019 to see the dawn of the phablet age. That prediction, made by the folks behind the firm's new Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker, relied on a definition of a smartphone as a device with screens up to 5.5 inches and a phablet as possessing a screen of 5.5 …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Nov 2017

Why does no one want to invest in full fibre broadband, wails UK.gov

The UK government has launched a review to figure out what’s holding back investment in "full fibre" and 5G networks and how policies could help the telco market. The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review is part of efforts to push fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and 5G networks in the UK, and follows last week’s Budget …
Rebecca Hill, 29 Nov 2017

You mean Google updated its smartwatch OS and nobody noticed?

Google has quietly brought improvements to its wearable OS that users have been asking for three years. And without much fanfare. With Android Wear 2.6, the text size of notifications now adjusts according to how long they are. It adds new connection status indicators for Wi-Fi Bluetooth and mobile network connectivity. Google …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Nov 2017
Maurice Moss IT crowd

Apple embraces El Reg! iOS 11 is now biting the hand that types IT

Call it a bug, call it a spellcheck quirk, or call it a wonderful bit of wishful thinking; iPhone owners are all about the IT department these days. Thanks to an apparent error in the latest version of iOS, some Apple fans see the word "it" autocorrect to "I.T." when typing messages. Similarly, "is" is autocorrected to "I.S." …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Nov 2017

iPhone X Face ID fooled again by 'evil twin' mask

Video Security researchers have once again claimed a simple mask can hoodwink Apple's Face ID authentication system, which graces the tech giant's $1,000 iPhone X. Earlier this month, bods at Bkav, based in Vietnam, demonstrated it was possible to bypass the face-recognizing login mechanism using a $150 3D-printed mask, effectively …
Iain Thomson, 28 Nov 2017

Huawei's Honor 9: The only mobe of its spec asking 'why blow £500?'

Long-Term Test It's become a bit of cliché that in recent years low-cost Chinese phones have been "disrupting" a market that belonged to high-margin, high-cost flagship makers like Samsung and Sony. But what happens when a Chinese phone vendor "disrupts" itself? That's what Huawei did with its Honor 9 – a summer debutant we're revisiting now …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Nov 2017
Pokemon toys

Pokémon GO caused hundreds of deaths, increased crashes

Pokémon GO killed at least two people and spiked rates of car accidents and injuries, according to a study of the game's impact on just one United States city. “Death by Pokémon GO” (PDF), by a pair of researchers from Purdue University's Krannert School of Management, says the game caused “a disproportionate increase in …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2017

Yahoo! Groups! Go! TITSUP! for! Days!

Administrators of Yahoo! Groups have complained that the service has become unstable and unreliable. Members of the Yahoo! Groups manager's forum have reported groups going offline, posts that fail to appear, disappearing graphics and other TITSUP* incidents. “Okay, after four days, we're back up and running. No explanation …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2017

10 years of the Kindle and the curious incident of a dog in the day-time

Something for the Weekend, Sir? A little worse for wear after the first Christmas party of the season, I stagger up the driveway to be met at my own front door by... a Kindle. The Kindle is tapping one foot while gauging the weight of a rolling pin in its hands. It is furious. It demands: "And what time do you call this?" That throws me. My dad used to ask …
Alistair Dabbs, 24 Nov 2017
Microsoft SurfaceBook 2

SurfaceBook 2 battery drains even when plugged in

Microsoft's acknowledged an embarrassing issue with its SurfaceBook 2 laptop – its battery can drain even while plugged into its power pack. Microsoft's billed the laptop as offering “Powerhouse performance” thanks to the presence of NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs in most models. Redmond's also promoted the machines as offering …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Nov 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018