Andrew Orlowski

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'President Zuck' fundraiser opens for business

A fundraising vehicle to help get the world's fifth richest man Mark Zuckerberg elected as President of the United States will now take your money. The Super Political Action Committee (PAC) is called (inevitably) 'Disrupt for America' and describes itself as "a progressive advocacy group focused on pragmatic, grassroots …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Ouch! Latest Qualcomm sueball comes from ... its own shareholders

Qualcomm's own shareholders have added to the barrage of lawsuits being fired at the mobile chip giant. The latest salvo puts the company's management in the crosshairs - blaming it for hardball tactics which subsequently attracted antitrust suits. In January, the FTC filed a complaint (pdf) alleging that Qualcomm had abused …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017

El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2

Real World Test Back when Captain Scarlet was still fresh, in the 1970s, I wanted a watch that made phone calls. I think I might have drawn one on my arm with a Biro. This has been a sci-fi staple since Dick Tracy in the 1950s. Now I’ve got one, I wonder why I ever wanted it. After using Huawei’s Watch 2 every day for over three weeks, I …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017

EU pegs quota for 'homegrown' content on Netflix at 30 per cent

The European Parliament has set content quotas for OTT video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime even higher than the Commission originally wanted. 30 per cent of the services' catalog must be European works, Parliament has decreed. The Commission asked for a 20 per cent quota. Some member states already operate a quota, …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2017

Nokia's retro revival 3310 goes on sale and disappears immediately

If you blinked, you missed it. Nokia's "new" 3310 went on sale on 24 May, 17 years after the original, and was promptly cleared out. The retro-styled 2G handset has created extraordinary demand, something Nokia is struggling to fulfil. "We have been working with our partners and can confirm the 3310 will be available again …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2017
Oracle acrobatics in the cloud

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

Analysis The final lap nears in Oracle's epic seven year battle with Google over Java. It's reached the Federal Appeals Circuit, where Oracle is confident that three appeals judges with a strong track record of upholding IP will decide in its favour. In many ways, it's a surprise that Big Red didn't win ages ago, with the two warring …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2017

Google now mingles everything you've bought with everywhere you've been

In a move with echoes of the fictional internet giant described in Dave Eggers' The Circle, Google's has begun trawling through billions of personal credit card records, matching them to your browser, location and advertising histories. In The Circle, the eponymous company achieves birth-to-death information dominance, or " …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 May 2017
Fuel pump

AI-powered dynamic pricing turns its gaze to the fuel pumps

Analysis "AI" could soon be making petrol more expensive at times of peak demand like the start of a bank holiday weekend or the school run. Danish data analytics company a2i touts fuel pricing as an ideal implementation of its learning algorithms. The company claims that PriceCast Fuel, its dynamic pricing product, can improve fuel …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 May 2017

It's just 'Pro' now, guys: Microsoft gives Surface a subtle resurfacing

Microsoft has revamped its Surface tablet, which at last includes a SIM card slot. The 2017 iteration of the boutique but highly profitable fondleslab loses the numbering – it's now just a "Surface Pro". Cosmetically there's little difference: the tablet retains the 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI) display and 786g weight (for the i5 and …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 May 2017
Handshake

Nokia, Apple lawyers make peace over nasty IP wrangle

Nokia and Apple have made peace after a brief but vituperative legal stand-off. The two settled all their outstanding issues over intellectual property rights, with an unspecified lump sum heading from California to Finland, as well as royalties. Nokia filed a bunch of lawsuits against Apple in the USA and Germany in December …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 May 2017
Smartphone showing Chinese flag

China's phone quartet is shouldering its way into Western markets

Huawei is breathing over Apple's shoulder as Chinese brands make inroads into Western smartphone markets. But it's also a testament to China's regional economic policy as it reaps the rewards of selling into emerging economies that neighbour the mainland, Gartner's Anshul Gupta told us. In Gartner's latest quarterly survey …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 May 2017
shutterstock_popcorn_cat

Pioneer Kodi plug-in unplugs

Developers of the popular Kodi plug-in Navi-X have pulled the plug on further development, citing the "current legal climate" around its work. The developers of the plugin, which first appeared a decade ago, state that they're no longer able to host Navi-X programme guides: "Hosting Navi-X playlists is no longer something we …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2017

No nudity please, we're killing ourselves: Advice to Facebook mods leaks

A large quantity of Facebook's advice for its English-language content moderators* has been obtained and published by The Guardian newspaper, giving insight into how it handles material on the site. Facebook, which earned $27bn last year, has 4,500 human moderators and recently said it would add another 3,000. They decide …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2017

Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

Review Towards the end of his long career as an expert summariser on Test Match Special, Fred Trueman would declare: "I just don't know what's going on out there," and light his pipe. Just what you want to hear from an "expert summariser". But sometimes I sympathise. Like when a company suddenly makes lots of phones that compete with …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2017

Huawei spied, US federal jury finds

A jury has agreed that Huawei committed industrial espionage in United States, ordering the Chinese giant to pay $4.8m in damages. Three years ago, T-Mobile USA sued Huawei, claiming that the latter stole trade secrets about a phone-testing robot Big Magenta used, called Tappy, which mimics a human user to improve testing of …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 May 2017
watching smut on a smartphone. Pic by shutterstock

AI smut-finder is now an Android app

The developers of Miles Deep, the porn AI editor we wrote about last year have made an app called MelonDream. Miles Deep’s AI can be used to classify adult material, or to identify and remove sequences to make a video “safe”. The developers claim it is far more sophisticated than Yahoo!’s open source flesh detector AI, “NSFW …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2017
Android Nougat

The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

Analysis Nothing in the new version of Android O, revealed for the first time at Google's annual developer conference yesterday, is as significant as the changes to the way Google releases code to phone makers. Put simply, Google has a problem. Seven months after the first Nougat phone shipped in volume, 92.8 per cent of the installed …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2017
Woman uses card reader at coffeee shop. Photo by Shutterstock

Why being late isn't fatal for Samsung Pay

Samsung has finally launched its mobile payments service, Samsung Pay, in the UK. The chaebol acquired the technology by buying LoopPay and launched the service in South Korea in August 2015. It seems odd that you still have to swipe a Nectar card separately after you've done your contactless payment thing with your phone or …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 May 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?

Review The Galaxy S8+ is like a nine course meal of desserts – tiramisus, trifles, ice creams, one after another – that you have to eat with chopsticks and a straw. As you should expect from a phone that’s almost £800, much of the technology is sensational. The edge-to-edge display is not just pretty, it’s practical too, and the …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 May 2017

Do we need Windows patch legislation?

Poll Microsoft has got off remarkably lightly from WannaCry, as the finger pointing between Whitehall and NHS trusts began. But that might be beginning to change. The NHS had 70,000 Windows XP PCs, but only after the ransomware hit did Microsoft issue a patch. Officially, support had ended in 2014, spurring an upgrade cycle. In a …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 May 2017

MP3 'died' and nobody noticed: Key patents expire on golden oldie tech

Key patents held on the MP3 audio format expired last month – and it's taken three weeks for anyone to notice. And the Fraunhofer Institute has declined to renew the intellectual property it owns on the MPEG Audio Layer III technology – as well as terminating its licensing programme. So yup, now you can use MP3 encoding in …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 May 2017

HTC's 2017 flagship U11 woos audiophiles and bundles Alexa

Hands On It made everyone's favourite Android just three years ago, the "Alfa Romeo of phones", but today finds HTC like Sony, hanging on in the market despite shareholder pressure to bail out. The wraps came off HTC's flagship for 2017, the U11, this morning. Don't expect too much change from previous years, which provided a solid …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 May 2017

DeX Station: Samsung's Windows-killer is ready for prime time

Review Well, no one saw this one coming. Samsung has succeeded where Microsoft and HP have struggled (so far) in turning a phone into a PC. When Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 last month, its new multimode capability DeX (for "desktop experience") barely got a mention. With a new dock, the DeX Station, the Galaxy could plug into a …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 May 2017
boot

All that free music on YouTube is good for you, Google tells music biz

Google wants you to believe that free music on YouTube doesn't deter people from paying for the same music somewhere else. Pull the other one, it's got bells on, the music industry has replied. Google commissioned RBB Economics to produce a report, which we've seen in full, examining the effect of cannibalisation on paid music …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 May 2017
Robot talks unto robot photo via Shutterstock

Google buys developers of VR goof-around Job Simulator

Google has acquired VR games company Owlchemy Labs, makers of Job Simulator. The witty cross-platform VR role-playing game is set in 2050. You're invited to strap on your goggles and engage in now-forgotten activities such as booking a meeting room, finding the office stapler, or other drudgeries associated with early 21st …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 May 2017

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