Andrew Orlowski

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How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini

Exclusive Production begins in January on the first new computer form-factor since the iPad – Planet Computing's "modern Psion", Gemini. It has already picked up an Innovation Award from the organisers of the International Consumer Electronics Show next month, where a formal launch will take place. And the project reached $1m in …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Dec 2017

Microsoft Surface Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Bigger, badder, better

Hands On You have £3,000 burning a hole in your pocket. You're also an engineer, developer or manipulate visual images. You also absolutely must have a touchscreen portable workstation, preferably with a display that detaches so you can go home and watch Netflix. If you're in that most slender Venn diagram intersection, then lucky, …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Dec 2017

BlackBerry grabs trolley for spot of tech shopping

BlackBerry's stock rose to a 2017 high despite widening losses and lower revenues than a year ago. This indicates that against a backdrop of pain from shedding those lovely handset sales, the market is betting the sickly Canadian business has turned a corner. The books for Q3 of fiscal '18 ended 30 November showed turnover of …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Dec 2017
RelaxAcizor ad from 1968

Google Chrome ad-blocking to begin in February – but what is it going to block?

From February 15, Google's Chrome browser will begin zapping ads that don't conform with new taste guidelines. But what those guidelines mean exactly is anyone's guess. Google confirmed that blocking would begin in a developer blog post. Google is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads – a group launched last year to …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2017
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Windows Store nixed Google Chrome 'app' hours after it went live

Microsoft has bounced a Google Chrome Installer out of its Windows Store, just hours after making it available for download. Google's "Chrome" app was a minimalist offering – merely sending the user to the official Chrome download app. In a statement to the press, Microsoft said it had removed the Chrome Installer because it …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2017

HTC U11 Life: Google tries to tame the midmarket

Review We rarely single out midrange phones for special attention here. Most are me-too models that don’t bring anything new to the marketplace. Exceptions to this rule need a jolly good reason: the Honor 7 dramatically shook up the market in 2015, while the industrial chic BlackBerry Motion was a business-oriented phone (rare) that …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Dec 2017
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How Google's black box Knowledge Graph can kill you

Comment When Knowledge Graph – Google's apparently authoritative box to the side of the search results – sneezes, the world catches a factoid flu. This was vividly dramatised with a recent NYT article where writer Rachel Abrams found she had "died" four years ago – according to the Infobox. She then tried to convince Google she was …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 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

Google asks browser rival Vivaldi to post uninstall instructions

Google asked rival browser Vivaldi to add uninstall instructions on its website download page – something Google doesn't do itself – after deactivating Vivaldi's advertising account earlier this year. Vivaldi is among the many software vendors that advertise products with the search giant. AdWords customers appear at the top …
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
A TV aerial. Pic: Shutterstock

UK's map maker Ordnance Survey plays with robo roof detector

Britain's map maker is demonstrating that machine learning isn't all hot air – but has discovered just how much donkey work is involved. The Ordnance Survey set up an ML experiment to identify roofs from its remote sensing data (satellite and aerial imagery), and found the trial reached 87 per cent accuracy within a week, from …
Andrew Orlowski, 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
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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

Why is Wikipedia man Jimbo Wales keynoting a fake news conference?

Comment The co-founder of the website that has propagated some of the internet's most enduring falsehoods on an industrial scale will address a Westminster conference about "fake news". Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia will keynote a Westminster Media Forum entitled "Next steps for tackling fake news". Among the topics is "collaboration, …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Dec 2017

Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

Oracle's long-running legal battle to get what it believes is it's fair share from Google's Android reopened this week – the second time an Appeals Court on Federal Circuit has examined the issue. The first hour overran with a bumpy ride for Google. In under an hour we got an idea of the battle lines, and the judge's …

EU toys with Pandora's Box if it reopens e-commerce directive

Exclusive European policy makers are considering the unthinkable and reopening the EU's e-commerce directive, according to multiple sources. UK industries have been invited to contribute their thoughts, on the basis that the directive will be amended in the lifetime of this Parliament. The delicate balance enshrined in Directive 2000/31 …
Free range chicken and farmer photo via Shutterstock

Yes, Britain has an urban-rural 4G schism. This is what it looks like

Real world performance gleaned from thousands of British mobiles sheds light on how LTE in the boondocks performs outside major urban areas. And it may not be as bad as you think. Tutela, whose network performance measurements we highlighted earlier this week was able to determine how long users spend on LTE, or whether they’ …
Inside Google's Hyderabad office

OK Google: A stranger with stash of pirated films is spamming my Google Team Drive

Google seems powerless to stop its Google Drive file sharing service being exploited by a spammer who has linked other users to their stash of pirated movies, among other dubious files, users have complained. Team Drives is part of Google’s G Suite offering, aimed at businesses, education and other professional organisations. …

Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

Comment "Won't somebody think of the children!" Hur hur. It's the great, sarcastic war cry of the childless middle aged tech guy. For example, when somebody wants to restrict extreme smut. "Won't somebody think of the children?!?" cries Shed Man. Cackle cackle. Sure, let nobody think of the children, ever, and let's see what kind of …

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 …

EE drops packets but retains UK network champ's title

EE’s dominance as the best-performing UK mobile network has one or two surprising short comings in the No.1’s performance. Real-world data suggests Vodafone has the best network for 4G packet loss and EE the worst. We rarely see measurements for packet loss, jitter or latency on mobile networks and these come from Tutela, a …
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 …
penny slots in a cash register

Bring me your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to see behavioural advertising

Just because you earn a dollar a day shouldn’t mean you're lost to the behavioural advertising industry. Not to be confused with Android One, Google has introduced a featurephone-sized package of Android, called Android Go Oreo Edition, aimed at phone makers targeting emerging economies. And like Nokia’s short-lived Android …

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