Andrew Orlowski

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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 …
Johnny Cab

Total recog: British AI makes universal speech breakthrough

Interview SpeechMatics, the company founded by British neural network pioneer Tony Robinson, has made major advances in speech recognition. Speechmatics’ Automatic Linguist can now add a new language to its system automatically – without human intervention or tuning – in about a day, crunching through 46 new languages in just six weeks …

That 70s Show: Windows sprouts Sets and Timeline features

Microsoft isn't short of good ideas – but getting good ideas into Microsoft products, which then stay alive for a long time, is another thing. New builds of Windows 10 will feature a couple of these – and they're features that hark back to the utopian computer labs of the 1970s. One feature, Sets, yokes related documents …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Nov 2017

Ad-filtering fiend Eyeo: Morning has broken, like the first morning

Interview When I last interviewed Eyeo comms chief Ben Williams a year ago, the smell of gun smoke and scorched flesh hung in the air. Our piece was headlined: Adblock overlord to Zuckerberg: Lay down your weapons and surrender. But things are much calmer now. Over the past year, the use of ad-blockers on the desktop has levelled off, …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Nov 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
Group of young people yawning/looking bored. Photo by shutterstock

Can't wait for 5G? Don't then, Gigabit LTE will be around for ages

While 5G suffers the usual, protracted birth pangs, unfashionable Gigabit LTE is going to be how your mobile bits are delivered for ages. CCS Insight notes that 43 operators have either deployed Gigabit LTE already or are in trials to do so. T-Mobile says it has deployed the three key technologies?needed for Gigabit LTE – 4x4 …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Nov 2017
Android

The End of Abandondroid? Treble might rescue Google from OTA Hell

Google's attempt to cure the Android's ever-worsening fragmentation issue and slow updates might actually turn the tide. Updating existing handsets is one of the biggest challenges Google faces in the next decade. While Apple can update half of its user base to the newest code within two months, and almost all within a year, …
Andrew Orlowski, 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

'Break up Google and Facebook if you ever want innovation again'

If the tech industry wants another wave of innovation to match the PC or the internet, Google and Facebook must be broken up, journalist and film producer Jonathan Taplin told an audience at University College London's Faculty of Law this week. He was speaking at an event titled Crisis in Copyright Policy: How the digital …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Nov 2017
Chap in suit in slingshot

Three useless UK.gov 'catapults' put in Last Chance Saloon

The UK government’s network of "Catapult" innovation and technology agencies –?which fall under its under the R&D spending umbrella –?show poor governance and dubious value for money, a report by Ernst and Young has concluded. Three of the seven catapults have been put in the Last Chance Saloon - funding should be halted if …
Andrew Orlowski, 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
Trump

Team Trump goes in to bat for Google and Facebook

Donald Trump's former policy chief Steve Bannon wanted to limit the power of Silicon Valley's plutocrats, but US trade negotiations have just thrown a protective arm around them. Bloomberg reports that negotiators are limiting attempts to give ordinary people more power to sue Google and Facebook over their responsibilities …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Nov 2017

This is peak AI: Bot to guest edit Radio 4's Today programme

#F_AI_L The BBC has confirmed that Radio 4's Today programme will conduct an interview with a politician via an AI bot "modelled on Mishal Husain". The flagship current affairs show draws the station's biggest audience – and at Christmas brings in several celebrity "editors" as a gimmick. The AI bot will "guest edit" and interview a …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Nov 2017

Remember the 'budget' iPhone SE? Apple plans an update – reports

Apple hasn't forgotten its miraculous budget iPhone, the iPhone SE, after all. The ornate miniature looks set for an update next year, according to reports. Apple introduced the 4-inch iPhone SE in March 2016 last year but today's models still use the same components. Taiwanese channel site CENS suggests that the SE2 will be …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Nov 2017

Microsoft scoops Search UI out from the gaping black maw of Cortana

Microsoft is experimenting with taking Search out of Cortana and making it more Mac-like in the newest Windows 10 build. Searching currently is funnelled through the Cortana UI, whose emblem, appropriately?enough, is a black hole. Cortana bungs together many things besides search – tasks and notes and even bots. Cortana is …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2017

Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters

Comment According to an old Chinese proverb: "When a wise man points at the Moon, an idiot looks at his finger." Google may have been hoping that you were examining a finger, not reading a Quartz story yesterday, which reveals how Android phones send location data to Google without you even knowing it. Google received the data even if …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2017
Bored cat on computer, photo via Shutterstock

Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

SIM-only contracts are now the most popular kind of mobile deal in the UK, as punters step off the tedious upgrade treadmill. Retail watcher GfK estimates that SIM-only contracts now account for 29 per cent of the UK phone market. Almost half, or 44 per cent, stayed with their network, but moved from another deal to SIM Only ( …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2017

As Google clamps down, 'Droid developer warns 'breaking day' is coming

Mobile app developers are being forced to rewrite their code as Google attempts to tame Android's Wild West. The developer of the power management app Greenify has been given 30 days to alter its code by the gatekeepers at Google's Play Store, and stop using Google's accessibility framework. The framework is used by …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2017

Arm Inside: Is Apple ready for the next big switch?

One day we'll look back and wonder why it took PCs so long to move from RISC chips that had to pretend to be CISC chips to RISC chips that didn't have to pretend to be anything. From CISC to RISC The Apple Mac made its debut in 1984 running Motorola's 68k chips, then the most efficient in the PC industry. Apple switched to …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2017
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Back to the Fuchsia: The next 10 years of Android

Part Two In Part One we described how, after 10 years, Android was uncannily similar to Windows after 20 years. But similar is not the same. Android is like Windows in as much as it's dominant – and also anarchic, fragmented, insecure, with a user base that lags far behind the latest code. The platform owner is accused of all kinds of …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2017
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Nathan Barley blamed for global GDP slump

Nathan Barley, the insufferable "self-facilitating media node" of Charlie Brooker's TV series, may be a prime culprit for Britain's lack of productivity growth. Not Barley, personally, but as the number of self-employed has risen – particularly in media and tech – real output per hour has remained in the doldrums, notes Dhaval …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2017

OnePlus 5T is like the little sister you always feared was the favourite

Review OnePlus has settled into the groove of releasing two flagships a year, and this Christmas-time 5T reiteration may well piss off the fans who bought the OnePlus 5 released in the summer. It's better all round, sports the 6-inch 18:9 OLED that's a genuine flagship display... and it's the same price as before. So £499 buys you some …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2017

Why Boston Dynamics' backflipping borg shouldn't scare you

It's alive, it's terrifying, and it does perfect backflips! Boston Dynamics' gymnastic research robot Atlas has caused a minor panic on social media. With skills like this, surely humans are doomed? Here it is. Youtube Video And here's Boston's Mini Spot. Youtube Video But hold on. What could this be? It's one of Boston's …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2017

OnePlus 5 x T + five short months = Some p*ssed off fanboys

BBK Electronics' OnePlus venture rolled out its second flagship of 2017 yesterday, the OnePlus 5T going on sale just five months after its predecessor, the OnePlus 5 in June. While posing as a plucky startup, the real picture?is slightly more complicated. OnePlus is wholly owned by the biggest Chinese phone vendor, with around …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2017

US trade cops agree to investigate Apple's 'embrace and extend'

A patent lawsuit alleging that Apple froze out a third-party software developer has been given credence by America's International Trade Commission (USITC), which will investigate the complaint. Los Angeles-based Aqua Connect Inc claims to have created the market for a Citrix-like multiuser Mac desktop system, only to see …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Nov 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT ? 1998–2017

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