Andrew Orlowski

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Judge gavel, photo via Shutterstock

European Court of Justice lays down the law on Kodipocalypse

Europe's highest court has made it easier for member states to halt the sale of media sticks with preloaded pirate streaming links and add-ons. The past few months have seen significant growth in pre-configured streaming boxes or USB sticks. These use the Kodi platform, an open-source player, configured by a vendor with add- …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Apr 2017

Come celebrate World Hypocrisy Day

Comment Thanks to the World Intellectual Property Organization, today is World Intellectual Property Day 2017. Perhaps this celebration needs a dark companion – World Hypocrisy Day. Here's why. In the 17 years World IP Day has been running, there's been a radical shift in corporate power. This has taken place most dramatically in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Apr 2017
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Spotify seeks hardware boffins

Spotify is seeking experienced hardware engineers to create “a category-defining product”, according to a (now removed) job ad. Spotify already has relationships with hardware companies, and has been embedding its music service into cars, speakers and TVs for years. But this calls for something more ambitious: “a category …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Apr 2017
The puppets from Team America: World Police gather at a bar for drinks.

Jimbo announces Team Wikipedia: 'Global News Police'

Comment When Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize against the backdrop of the US Air Force's secret bombings in Cambodia, the satirist Tom Lehrer declared that satire had become obsolete. If satire died that day, then Jimmy Wales has dug it up, exhumed the corpse, and is giving it a state funeral. The Wikipedia co-founder …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Apr 2017

Huawei P10 Plus: The bigger brother is the real contender

Review The P10 Plus is the big brother of Huawei’s 2017 flagship the P10. And as you’d expect, it's beefier, heavier and packing a bigger battery, a better camera and display, better antennas for faster LTE, and infrared. The review unit sported 128GB of flash storage, expandable, and 6GB of RAM. Missing from the Chinese rival to …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Apr 2017

Uber cloaked its spying and all it got from Apple was a slap on the wrist

Uber hid its fingerprinting of iPhone users from Apple – techniques that would have had any other app thrown out of Apple's store. Uber retained the information even after the Uber app had been deleted and the phone had been wiped. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick got a personal reprimand from Apple CEO Tim Cook, but the app stayed put …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Apr 2017
VR

While Facebook reinvents Sadville, we still dream of flying cars

Comment The researchers at the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan (UMTRI) sent me what may be the saddest opinion poll in the world. It asks the public: "Would you like a flying car?" If you think it's a question to which the only answer is yes, you'll be heartened by the findings [PDF]. Broadly, US men …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Apr 2017
Sparks, image via Shutterstock

Exploding femtocells: No need for a full recall, says Vodafone

Vodafone says that anxious customers of its home femtocell box are safe, despite experiencing continuing brownouts. Although Vodafone is replacing the Alcatel-made units on request, it has declined to carry out a full recall. Vodafone sells the Sure Signal V3 femtocell for £69 to help users with notspots in their home. But for …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Apr 2017
Obi wan droids

Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

iPhones maintain their resale value much better than Androids. That much you probably already know – but which are the worst droids to resell? A survey of over 100,000 eBay transactions provides some answers. The data isn't just a handy guide to flogging your unwanted upgrade, but also an indication of the "real" market value …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Apr 2017

Google's 'adblocker' is all about taking back control

The world's biggest digital advertising company Google is reportedly building an ad-blocker into Chrome – and it's already attracted the attention of Europe's most important competition regulator. The WSJ claimed the functionality could arrive in both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, although a final decision on …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017

What a To-Do! Microsoft snuffs out Wunderlist

If a week is a long time in politics, it must be an eternity at Redmond, where the strategy team is seemingly obliged to create a new one every few minutes. Here's another for you. On Wednesday Microsoft launched a new To-Do app, called er, "To-Do". If that sounds a curious move, it's because it is. Very. Microsoft also said …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017

HTC seeks salvation with squeezy design

Former critics' darling HTC will unveil its 2017 flagship on 16 May, hoping that a squeezy case will win back buyers. HTC's M8 won many "Phone of the Year" prizes in 2014, being dubbed the "Alfa Romeo" of the phone world. But its lacklustre 2015 successor added little new, and contributed to a dramatic fall in sales. – HTC had …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017

Apple's zippy silicon leaves Android rivals choking on dust

Steve Jobs once said that "innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have" – it's all about how you spend it. Despite spending a far lower proportion of its income on R&D* than Google, Apple's approach is paying off in one area in particular. The huge investment in proprietary, homegrown silicon is giving it …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2017
Nuclear War

Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Researchers from Princeton and Stanford University have developed an ad blocker that they claim could end the ad blocking "arms race" for good. You can put the claim to the test yourself quite easily – proof-of-concept prototype code can be downloaded in the form of a Chrome browser plugin. The researchers claim to have …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Apr 2017
Axe Cutting Wood

No, Microsoft is not 'killing Windows 10 Mobile'

Microsoft has scotched reports that it has "abandoned" Windows Mobile. Windows 10 is in perpetual beta, and on Thursday the software giant issued new versions for both PC and Mobile, accompanied by some ambiguous notes from Insider Preview manager Donna Sarkar. Then everyone went home for Easter. Sarkar had written: The …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Apr 2017
red fox. pic by Shutterstock

WileyFox disentangles itself from Cyanogen

WileyFox is rowing its users away from the wreckage of the Cyanogen disaster, with some help from Ricardo Cerqueira, Cyanogen Inc’s former director of engineering. Britain’s only mass market phone maker is engaged in a mortal battle with HMD’s Nokia brand at the low end of the market. Today, the former released an update to …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Apr 2017
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Take that! FCC will hand net neut to FTC – reports

Analysis Americans may get a less Google-friendly and less-politicised regulatory regime if America's trade watchdog, the FTC, adopts responsibility for "net neutrality provisions", as reports today suggest. But under Trump, will the FTC have any teeth? Both Politico and The Wall Street Journal report that Ajit Pai – chairman of the US …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
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Facebook's 'delightful' AI Clippy the Paperclip creeps into Messenger

Facebook's first practical attempt to implement machine learning blew up badly. After suffering a 70 per cent failure rate, the Messenger Bot was redesigned to provide a potentially useful menu driven service. This week Facebook introduced M, a Siri or Alexa-like AI assistant into Facebook Messenger, hoping it will fare better …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
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An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

Former Times editor and News International chief executive Robert Thomson has launched a precision attack on the "duopoly" of Google and Facebook. As debate rages around what role "fake news" played in electing Donald Trump, Thomson points out that whether news is "real" or "fake", Google and Facebook don't care. Either way, …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
An angry woman looking at her phone

RootMetrics finds provinces stagger to 4G

Mobile network sleuth RootMetrics has released some performance data on how well operators are faring in our top provincial cities. From data recently released by the company, we know that overall UK performance increased by 8 per cent, improving in both urban and rural areas. But this hides significant regional variations. …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Apr 2017
Dual lenses on the P10, co-designed with Leica, make the P10 a strong camera phone

Huawei mystery memo (and phone strategy) confirmed

Interview Last weekend Huawei’s flagship P10 (and P10 Plus) smartphones went on sale in the UK, with support from all four major operators for the first time. Huawei UK boasts that it was the only Mobile World Congress launch to get across-the-board support – something LG and Sony had failed to do. Huawei has been more or less the world …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2017

The beast is back: Reborn ekranoplan heads for the Arctic

Russia has posted pictures of a new ground effect vehicle, or ekranoplan. The new design is more modest than the "Caspian Sea Monster" that so alarmed Western intelligence during the Cold War, and can only be seen taxiing. Ground effect vehicles were pioneered by Russian engineers, and take advantage of the increased lift …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Apr 2017

Adblock Plus owners commandeer Pirate Bay man's tip jar Flattr

Eyeo, the German company behind Adblock Plus, has acquired Flattr, the online tip jar operation co-founded by Peter Sunde, of Pirate Bay infamy. The two companies already had a formal partnership. "Flattr makes micropayments automatic and effortless, thus it will be the most user-friendly payment solution on the internet. …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Apr 2017

Honor phone for paupers goes upmarket, assails flagships

Huawei launched its Honor brand to sell good value phones in the UK after experts at this sort of thing predicted Westerners would never be able to pronounce "Huawei". The experts at this sort of thing turned out to be wrong. Since its launch here in 2015 Honor has meant mid-market and budget, but things have got confusingly …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Apr 2017
trolls

Google opens patent pool for Android

Samsung, LG and Foxconn are among the founding members of a patent pool for Android phone makers under Google's benevolent eye. Google hopes the "community-driven clearinghouse" for IP sharing will fend off patent trolls. Google already operates a non-aggression alliance for Android phone makers called License on Transfer, …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2017

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