Tech News

Ori and the Blind Forest comes to Nintendo Switch – along with other indie hits

Latest Tech News - 2 hours 28 min ago

If there wasn't enough in the Nintendo Switch game library to keep you occupied, the iconic publisher took to the internet with a live stream featuring its own favorite indie games coming to the console this year.

While most of the presentation was concerned with new indie games, or those that hadn't found a huge audience on other platforms, we did get a couple of incredible announcements of ports coming to the Switch before 2019 is out – with a sly mention of an Ori and the Blind Forest port at the end of the live stream, coming September 27.

Ori and the Blind Forest is one of Microsoft's most high-profile indie games, and has until now been exclusive to the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC platforms. The port will be the Definitive Edition that "delivers a multitude of new areas, difficulty options, and gameplay upgrades that should appeal to both new and seasoned Ori players" (according to the Xbox website).

Nintendo and Microsoft have been playing nice in recent times – with rumors that even Xbox Games Pass could be coming to Switch – and seeing more Microsoft titles land is a huge boon to Nintendo fans.

Wait, there's more!

That would be exciting news by itself if it wasn't for two other red-hot indie titles now being ported to Switch.

The first is the time-bending shooter Superhot, and the second is the Hotline Miami Collection – appearing on Nintendo platforms for the first time. Both are now available on the Nintendo Switch eShop.

The latter announcement is all the more incredible for how notable its absence from Nintendo consoles previously, with the first Hotline Miami game releasing in 2012. But there's an incredible reason for it: Shigero Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Star Fox franchises at Nintendo, hated the music to the games.

Past grudges aside, we have some great indie titles coming to the Switch this year, and we couldn't be happier about it.

Categories: Tech News

72 hours with Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: ongoing camera review

Latest Tech News - 2 hours 47 min ago

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 camera stands with the best camera phones, or at least that's the conclusion I'm drawing ahead of TechRadar's full review this week.

I've already unboxed the Note 10 and offered details about the size, performance, and a select few camera samples. Now it's time to unleash a full gallery and demo the versatility of the four camera lenses and the Plus-exclusive depth sensor.

Samsung's Note 10 is outfitted with a 12MP regular lens that features a variable f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, meaning the space through which light passes physically changes depending on the lighting conditions. That's fairly sophisticated for a smartphone.

What stands out even more are the 12MP f/2.1 telephoto and 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lenses that offer photos at varying perspectives. I captured scenes in new ways: up close without distortion via the 2x zoom telephoto lens, and cramming more in frame with the wide-angle lens – without having to back up to get everything in the shot.

After a weekend of testing, I'm ready to share the good, the bad, and the sometimes slightly out-of-focus.

Ongoing Note 10 camera review (gallery)

This is my favorite set of Samsung Note 10 camera samples so far, because it shows how the three rear cameras depict a scene differently, especially the 16MP wide-angle lens.

You can't even see 42nd Street and the iconic yellow New York City taxi cab in the other two photos. And yet, if you wanted the Chrysler Building on its own, the telephoto lens is there to get the best shot of its perched gargoyles.

My second-favorite Note 10 camera photo set is this one, and it again demonstrates how useful the ultra-wide camera can be in certain situations.

The first photo you see here is the 'finished product' – it was taken with the ultra-wide lens, and has had some edits – some basic Lightroom fixes and cropping. I used the ultra-wide lens because the Note 10's regular lens didn't do this reflection justice (photo 2) – the building is cut off at the top, and at the bottom in the reflection.

Because I didn't want to get splashed by the nearby traffic (you can see a bunch of yellow taxis almost staring me down), I didn't have enough time to back up and reframe the shot. With a quick switch to the ultra-wide camera (photo 3), I was able to snap a more inclusive photo and crop it later (photo 4); the image was then edited to produce photo 1.

Color Point was my favorite camera mode when reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the S10 Plus, and it's debuting on the Note series with the Galaxy Note 10.

This renders the background and portions of foreground in back and white, but keeps the main subject in color to make the person or object really pop from the scene. It's not always perfect – you can see that part of the red tomato is in color and part of it isn't, and the glass is also in color. A couple of adjustments from the photo taker and several attempts to be safe (just hammer that shutter button until it works) usually fixes these issues.

It's a really fun way to capture a scene, and Samsung does it better than anyone else (especially Motorola, which has tried the same thing with lackluster results).

Here's another great example of a Color Point mode image alongside an all-color regular photo. I don't want the people in the background of the shot (sorry, folks), and the Color Point Live Focus mode makes them far less distracting.

The all-color shot is taken at an f/1.5 aperture (it's a bit dark in the restaurant), and so is the black-and-white Color Point photo. What's interesting is that Color Point mode (and all Live Focus modes) allow you to switch between the regular lens and the telephoto lens (the latter is always the default).

This... needs more testing. I used Samsung's newish Night Mode on the Note 10 (it appeared in the S10, S10 Plus and S10e via a software update after those phones launched).

The first photo shows what Samsung cameras do in dimly-lit settings – they amp up the exposure, and smooth, smooth, and smooth again. This looks like my skin went through an old-school family portrait-editing session. Samsung's Night mode (photo 2), further increases the exposure, but grain can be seen everywhere, especially in the curtains. It's definitely brighter, though.

I threw in a Google Pixel 3 photo taken with that phone's famed Night Sight mode. It does a better job of keeping detail and tamping down the grain, but it's also noisy in the end. This is a dark photo, which means the Note 10 camera requires more testing in bars. "Drink, please!"

I did say I'd highlight the good, the bad, and the sometimes slightly out-of-focus. Trying to get color point or even the regular and telephoto camera to focus on subject can be difficult. I gave myself permission to eat a donut for this test. One donut was harmed in the making of this Note 10 photo gallery.

Color Point gets all of the attention, and for good reason. It's Samsung's best new camera mode and the first time we get to try it on a Note camera. But there are other Live Focus modes besides this one.

There's Spin (photo 1) and Zoom (photo 2), a normal blur effect, and the new big Big Circles filter that makes lights in the background blurred and bulbous in shape (seen in the next photo set).

Here's a good example of the Big Circles using the 10MP front camera – as well as trying out the remote shutter using the S Pen. 

Samsung's S Pen has always been a useful stylus, but it became a Bluetooth camera remote shutter with last year's Note 9. That feature returns along with other gesture controls for swiping through camera menus and zooming in and out. Color Point appears in (photo 2) along with a cropped selfie (photo 3) as Samsung's front camera auto-crops vs the wider selfie (an un-cropped version) that you can select instead.

More Note 10 photo samples incoming

I tested the Note 10 camera for an entire weekend. That's not enough to put a stamp on the review, but I'm closer after 72 hours (well, a little more time after writing and uploading photos – Samsung's photo transfer software leaves a lot to be desired, which I'll nitpick in the review).

The camera analysis isn't done. Too often reviews don't take into account the video capabilities of smartphones, and that's what I'll be doing Monday and Tuesday. The Samsung Note 10 image stabilization has been enhanced, according to Samsung, and I'll test that out in side-by-side comparisons. Stay tuned for more updates as the week goes on and the Note 10 flexes its multi-camera muscle.

Categories: Tech News

Apple CEO Cook makes case against US-China tariffs

Latest Tech News - 3 hours 16 min ago

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he believes he presented US President Donald Trump with a “good case” that planned tariffs on Chinese-manufactured goods would have a negative impact on the company.

Devices such as the iPhone famously have ‘Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China’ on the back, meaning the cost of the Cupertino-based company’s products would be affected if the tariffs were introduced.

Tariffs on several product ranges, including AirPods, Apple Watch and HomePod are set to come into force in September with the MacBook and iPhone set to follow later in the year.

Apple in China

Cook argued these tariffs would not only affect Apple’s economic contribution to the US, but would also give chief rival Samsung an advantage because it would not be subject to the same tariffs.

“I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I’m thinking about it,” Trump was quoted as saying.

In a timely reminder to the US President, Apple published new claims last week that it supported as many as 2.4 million jobs in the US and is on pace to directly contribute £350 billion to the American economy by 2023.

Across its supply chain, Apple says it deals with 9,000 supplier in the US, spending $60 billion and supporting 450,000 jobs. It says 1.9 million jobs rely on the app economy partly stimulated by the iPhone.

In addition to its financial contribution, the firm claims it pushes innovation and quality standards across the board because of its high demands.

Via Reuters

Categories: Tech News

Celebrate World Photography Day with 50% off photo books and more from Mixbook

Latest Tech News - 3 hours 39 min ago

Whether you're a seasoned pro, eager amateur or selfie snapper, World Photography Day is here to mark one of the world's most democratic art-forms. Everybody can take a photo these days, and now's the time to get those stunning shots and fond memories down on something more permanent than your camera so you can impress your friends and family.

Our favorite US photo book service is offering up to 50% off its entire site. To be more specific, that's a saving across photo books, calendars and a whole range of other products with photo book expert Mixbook.

Simply head over to the site, load up your cart with all of the customised goodies you want and enter the code FTRPHOTO19 to immortalise all of your hard work into a physical format this World Photography Day.

The discounts you will be getting are 40% off everything on site or, 50% off when your basket comes to a price of $149 or more. But with this sale coming to an end on August 31, you only have a couple of weeks to bring your photos to life at a reduced price.

Mixbook's design tool lets you create customized photo books, photo cards, albums, calendars, and so much more. Mixbook allows you to create the perfect gift with personal photos that add a special touch.

You can see this offer in full down below, allowing you to win over a loved one, celebrate someone's birthday or even just show off your photography abilities to everyone you know.

Mixbook's World Photography Day discount:

See more photo book sites with our list of the best photo book services online.

Categories: Tech News

Go big on storage with these 512GB Samsung S10 deals for the price of 128GB

Latest Tech News - 4 hours 47 min ago

Are you one of those people who doesn't really trust the intangible notion of the cloud? Do you prefer to 'own' the media on your smartphone rather than stream it?

If that sounds like you, then you're probably also somebody that likes to have a mobile phone with plenty of storage to keep your songs, snaps and films in your pocket at all times. And you inevitably also know that can get pricey, with manufacturers adding on big chunks of cash to the RRPs if you want the luxury of the extra space. Well Mobiles.co.uk is here to help, especially if you like the idea of grabbing a Samsung Galaxy S10 deal.

For the next few days, the award-winning online retailer is giving free upgrades when you purchase a Samsung Galaxy S10 on contract. So the normal price of a 128GB model, gets fast-tracked all the way up to 512GB. That's a huge amount of storage for all the entertainment you need for your commute or travels, and on one of the world's best handsets too.

We've gathered up three of our favourite 512GB tariffs from Mobiles.co.uk below. Or you can head to our dedicated Samsung S10 deals page to give yourself even more choice from a range of retailers.

These big storage Samsung S10 deals in full: Why go for the Samsung Galaxy S10? 

Fitting perfectly between Samsung's affordable S10e and its mammoth S10 Plus and Note 10 devices, this phone is the perfect middle ground. You're getting a high-quality screen, in-screen fingerprint scanner and a powerful battery/processor combo. A quick glance at our best smartphone guide shows we currently rank it as the third best phone in the world.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 review here

Mobiles.co.uk - Best Online Retailer award winner

Not sure if Mobiles.co.uk is the right retailer to buy from? Having won Best Online Retailer at the Mobile Choice Awards last autumn, you can rest easy knowing Mobiles.co.uk is a safe bet.

With some of the market's best pricing, fast delivery and excellent reviews - you can see how they managed to bag that title.

Read more:

Categories: Tech News

Hackers can work out passwords by listening to you type

Latest Tech News - 4 hours 49 min ago

New hacking methods would allow criminals to work out passwords by listening to the sounds made when typing, experts have warned.

Reports have claimed that hackers listening into typing habits using a smartphone would be able to decode passwords with high levels of accuracy.

The detection could be completed in a matter of seconds, and can even be carried out in noisy or crowded public spaces.

Always-on

The news was revealed by researchers at Southern Methodist University in Texas, who found that smartphones can pick up the sound waves produced when users type on a computer keyboard.

When processed, these acoustic signals can be analysed to allow anyone with the right tools to decipher which keys were struck and in what order. In their experiments, the researchers were able to decode nearly half of what was being typed by using commonly-used keyboards and smartphones, even in noisy environments where multiple people were talking and typing.

Overall, the team were able to work out what was being typed at 41 percent accuracy, a rate that they said could be improved if they looked to focus on the top 10 most commonly typed words.

"We were looking at security holes that might exist when you have these 'always-on' sensing devices - that being your smartphone," study co-author Professor Eric Larson said.

"We wanted to understand if what you're typing on your laptop, or any keyboard for that matter, could be sensed by just those mobile phones that are sitting on the same table. The answer was a definite yes."

"A successful interception of this sort could potentially be very scary because there's no way to know if you're being hacked this way."

Via The Telegraph

Categories: Tech News

AR and VR have potential to become disruptive technologies

Latest Tech News - 5 hours 15 min ago

Virtual reality and augmented reality have been the next new things for the last many years but still have not taken off and will it have the same fate as the short-lived 3D-TV fad.

Industry experts say “no”.

“Mainstream success, however, depends on how much viable content are produced and are easily accessible and not just improvements to the hardware. 3D TVs saw challenges for the very same reason – lack of content – and the perception that 3D was simply an add-on feature but in of itself wasn’t compelling enough value proposition to justify the hike in pricing,” Nabila Popal, senior research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), told TechRadar Middle East.

Moreover, she said that VR technology is still relatively new and is expected to gain traction in the coming years.

“VR represents a confluence point between entertainment, communication and the internet in a way that only mobile phones have been in recent history,” she said.

However, Akash Balachandran, senior research analyst at IDC, said that AR and VR certainly have the potential to become disruptive technologies due to its numerous potential use cases and relevance beyond mainstream gaming.

Realistic apps are being tested

“We have seen realistic applications currently being tested and used in education (both in schools and for employee training), medicine (exposure therapy and analysing doctor response/performance) and retail (visualisation of retail spaces and in customer experience) to name a few. 

“As adoption becomes more mainstream across both consumer and commercial segments and prices (especially for consumer devices) drop further – which have already started, this will in turn cause developers and consumer-facing industry leaders to create more genuine use cases leading to disruptions in the industry, similar to the impact of apps like Airbnb (for hospitality industry) or Uber (for transportation industry),” Balachandran said.

While disruptions caused by VR on a global scale is still upon the horizon, however for this region, Popal said that it may take 3-5 years.  

However, she said that VR will continue to face some obstacles as the technology is refined further.

“VC [venture capital] exuberance need not necessarily be indicative of the market performance in technology segments – where innovation in the last decade has become increasingly iterative and incremental. Both the hardware required and the existing software is in their nascence and even presently, most commercial and capable VR headsets are not only quite expensive but also requires a powerful PC and significant setup,” she said.

It is clear that the value proposition for purchasing a VR headset isn’t in the standard consumers' favour currently, she said, but prices are expected to drop significantly over the coming years which will drive adoption and allow for growth in the VR industry landscape.

Plenty of AR apps available for smartphone

The recently released Oculus Quest ($399) is a significant next step in standalone devices by providing immersive visuals at a reasonable cost.

Part of the reason for a growth in the hype related to AR, Balachandran said is undoubtedly due to AR not presently requiring mass adoption of specialised hardware and there are plenty of AR apps already available for the smartphone.

Furthermore, he said the interest in the mainstream has been driven through some compelling apps – like Pokemon Go and Snapchat.

“In many ways, AR in its present state represents a better return on investment in terms of funds spent on marketing and exposure for businesses over VR, especially for current commercial use cases,” he said.

The Middle East and Africa region saw year-on-year growth of 7.1% in the first quarter of this year for AR/VR headsets due to good performance by tethered devices like the Playstation VR which has maintained some mainstream popularity.

Standalone headsets to gain traction

Popal said that screen-less viewers will continue to decline while standalone devices are expected to showcase the greatest growth by a significant margin, especially with devices like the Oculus Quest being well received.

With 5G coming in, she said that it will help commercial use cases first with VR.

However, she said that eventually, with significantly higher bandwidth as well as virtually no lag, 5G will aid VR growth as a communication device – this is particularly notable with Facebook owning Oculus and HTC with its Vive.

Furthermore, she said that 5G has the potential to allow VR devices to engage in server-side computing/ cloud computing. This will allow headsets to be lighter, smaller, less battery intensive while still providing high-end visuals.

 

Categories: Tech News

Huawei US ban set for 90-day reprieve

Latest Tech News - 5 hours 39 min ago

Huawei could be given another 90-day window to buy components from US suppliers in order to serve existing smartphone and telco customers.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Commerce effectively blacklisted the Chinese mobile giant on national security grounds, preventing American firms from doing business with the company.

The ruling limited Huawei’s access to important components and to the Android operating system as well as Google applications.

Huawei in the US

Washington did however give some wiggle room, allowing Huawei to procure technologies from certain suppliers in order to serve US rural operators that use its equipment. These agreements are set to expire, and reports suggest the government could extend a temporary licence for another three months.

The extension would only apply to existing products and deals and Huawei would still be prevented from procuring components for new projects.

The development would add another layer of intrigue to a fast moving situation. The Huawei debate takes place a time of trade tensions between the US and China, with speculation that the company’s relationship with America could form part of any deal.

American technology firms have been lobbying the US government to reconsider its approach, with several set to lose significant revenue streams if they can't supply Huawei.

The pressure appears to have paid off, with the US confirming some vendors will be able to do business with Huawei – so long as there's no national security risk. It’s unclear which product categories are deemed to be safe, and it’s worth pointing out that the ruling is still effective, meaning it could be enforced once again if trade talks stall.

Huawei has persistently denied any accusations of wrongdoing, while the US has never produced any evidence to support its claims that the company’s networking equipment represents a threat to national security.

Via Reuters

Categories: Tech News

Best cheap VPS hosting deals of 2019

Latest Tech News - 5 hours 49 min ago

When it comes to web hosting, VPS hosting bridges the gap between shared and dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is where your account is one of many small accounts sharing a web server. A dedicated server is where you rent the entire server, so that it is dedicated to your business. 

VPS hosting offers a mix of both worlds, where only a handful of VPS accounts share the same server, but come with all the software management responsibilities you would get with a dedicated server - hence the name, Virtual Private Server (VPS). 

This offers a number of advantages, not least that more resources are available to your account under a VPS that wouldn't be available with a shared hosting account. Additionally, shared hosting accounts tend to be rigid in their software outlay, which means they often cannot cater for customized server or software settings - something that isn't a problem at all with a VPS hosting account.

Even better, because you are only renting a fraction of a web server, you only pay a fraction of the price. So you have the benefits of significantly more resources and customization options, all at a competitive cost. So while VPS costs more than shared hosting, it's not often by much, and VPS hosting is almost always cheaper than dedicated hosting.

However, if you worry that server management is beyond your IT skills, have no fear - many VPS hosting companies provide both managed and unmanaged options. This means you can pay a little extra to ensure your VPS server settings are looked after after the hosting company's system administrators, so you don't have to get your hands dirty.

Here we'll look at some of the cheapest VPS hosting deals out there.

  • Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.
The best cheap VPS hosting deals are:


Starting from only $5.17 per month with no gimmicks, you will be very hard pressed to find a cheaper VPS deal with managed hosting. Hostwinds doesn't do half measures when it comes to VPS and while you will be able to get more cores elsewhere, Hostwinds' offer feels more balance.

You get one core, 1GB of RAM, 30GB SSD storage space, 1TB bandwidth with a 1Gbps port (which allow for burstable traffic) plus 99.9999% uptime guarantee, the highest we've ever seen at this price, which translates into a maximum downtime of 31.56 seconds.

You do get root access and a huge choice of Linux distros (and versions). Unlike some cheaper competitors, you do not have to pay for a few essential things (WordPress daily backups and cPanel) and you still can enjoy free website transfers, and a long 60-day money back warranty.


Ionos brings a European flavor to the lower-end of the VPS market with its Virtual Server Cloud M offering. At $5, it is one of the cheapest on the market, although note that the price increases by 100% after the first 12 months.

You get one virtual Intel Xeon E5 core, 1GB of RAM, 50GB of SSD grade storage and unlimited traffic over a 100Mbit connection (that’s 30TB per month). You can choose the location of your data center (US, Spain or Germany) and you have a choice of Linux distro (albeit more limited than VPSCheap); Windows is also available as an option.

As expected you get full root access, snapshot backup as an option, an SSL Wildcard certificate, Plesk Onyx control panel and the web host guarantees a ‘four-nines’ uptime (99.99%), not bad for such a cheap hosting package. You get one IPv4 (but not IPv6) address and 500GB storage spread across 250 email boxes.


As the designated data center partner for the Olympics committee, Alibaba Cloud happens to be the biggest cloud provider in China and its ECS (Elastic Compute Service) – which is its take on the VPS concept – is being aggressively marketed online as a compelling alternative to Amazon’s more expensive Lightsail VPS.

With 19 data center regions located worldwide and a starting price of only $4.50 per month, it is one of the cheapest VPS deals around. You get one vCore CPU, 1GB memory, 40GB of SSD storage, 1TB of data transfer plus a free anti-DDoS Basic service, automatic snapshots, and triplicated backups.

The data is far lower than the competition which means that the ECS starter pack is ideal for non-bandwidth hungry applications.

As with other rivals, it uses Intel Xeon E5 processors and SSDs, paired with Linux. It is also the only provider that serves the billion-plus Chinese audience directly (although you will need to apply for an ICP license to deploy your website).


Hetzner might not be a well-known brand outside its home country (Germany) but this internet web hosting company punches above its weight despite having only 200 employees. It uses Skylake Xeon processors rather than the older Broadwell models and bundles 20TB of data with all its tiers. You pay by the month and there’s no minimum contract period.

Even the cheapest tier (CX11 for €2.49, about $2.82) comes with 2GB of RAM, 20GB of drive space (NVMe SSD), and one vCPU, with data centers located in Germany and Finland, which is great if you like strict European data protection regulations.

Hertzner manages to keep prices low by offering only core features with its own proprietary cloud console. You have to pay for everything else including backup snapshots (€0.01 per GB per month) and IP address (€1 per month).


OVH is the third European company in our list and the only one of that trio from outside Germany. At $6.87 per month (for the annual plan) for the VPS SSD 2 package, it includes local RAID-1, 40GB SSD space, one vCore and uniquely for this price, 4GB RAM, which is four times what Alibaba Cloud or Ionos provides.

Five European data center locations are available plus one North American. Uptime guarantee is 99.95%, slight worse than, say, the Ionos package, and OVH is good at communicating what is available in its bundles.

Unlimited traffic over a 100Mbps port is included, as is anti-DDoS protection, KVM, root access, IPv4/IPv6 IP and free ready-to-go packages like WordPress, PrestaShop or CozyCloud.

LiquidWeb offers managed VPS services, so if you want mopre resources and power than a normal shared or reseller hosting plan, but don't want the hassle of command line management of your own server, this could be ideal for you.

While a lot of companies aim to provide the lowest priced hosting, this can often come at the expense of poor or limited support, which can cause frustration in the event of a problem. LiquidWeb is one of the companies that prices in the mid-range but provides top range support, so in the event of any issue you can usually be assured of a fast response.

Their VPS plans are priced according to the resources you want, such as the number of processors, RAM, harddrive space, etc. and all come with 10TB of monthly bandwidth, DDoS protection, WHM/Cpanel, and SSD storage.

You might also want to check out our other website hosting buying guides:

Categories: Tech News

McAfee sues Dixons Carphone in software dispute

Latest Tech News - 5 hours 52 min ago

Dixons Carphone is being sued by security firm McAfee following claims that the former violated an exclusive software contract.

The high-street technology giant is facing a major payout after failing to honour a deal to promote McAfee's security offerings.

Instead, Dixons Carphone advertised rival offerings from Symantec after signing a seperate deal with the company, as well as promoting its products as an add-on purchase.

Displayed

According to the Sunday Times, the two parties signed a four-year deal back in 2017 that would see McAfee software highlighted in stores across the country.

The paper reported a company memo which saw Dixons tell staff to “ensure all McAfee anti-virus products are only displayed in the McAfee software bay and nowhere else.”

There had been reports that McAfee's products were incompatible with Microsoft's Windows 10S platform, which had been suspected as being behind the ban. However McAfee says that this should not have led to Dixons Carphone failing to support its services.

Following McAfee's protest, the High Court granted an interim injunction earlier this month requiring Dixons Carphone to continue promoting McAfee’s software, as well as paying £100,000 in costs.

Neither company has commented on the ruling, but Dixons Carphone has until the end of the week to submit its defence.

Via Sunday Times

Categories: Tech News

Minecraft gets free ray tracing support

Latest Tech News - 5 hours 56 min ago

Nvidia announced at Gamecom 2019 that Minecraft will be getting support for a form of ray tracing known as path tracing for the Windows 10 version.

This is a big win for ray tracing (and Nvidia, which is pushing the tech in its RTX 20 series of graphics cards), as Minecraft remains one of the most popular games in the world.

The free update will bring more realistic shadows, lighting and colors to Minecraft.

Of course, Minecraft isn’t the most graphically-impressive game out there – in fact, its simplistic retro graphics are part of its charms – so many people may be wondering why Minecraft is getting the feature.

It could be because the Super Duper Graphics Pack, which was supposed to drastically update the graphics for Minecraft, has been cancelled – with Microsoft claiming that it was “too technically demanding to implement as planned”.

Ray tracing support might have been part of that, and even with the Super Duper Graphics Pack being cancelled, we could imagine that companies with a vested interest in ray tracing (Nvidia) would want to make sure that feature did come out.

It could also be a way of softening the blow of the Super Duper Graphics Pack’s cancellation. Nvidia has released several interactive images that show the difference that ray tracing makes to Minecraft, and despite the limited graphics of the game, the effects are still impressive.

A new trailer has also been released, which you can view below.

Matt Wuebbling, head of GeForce marketing, said that “Minecraft will expose ray tracing to millions of gamers of all ages and backgrounds that may not play more hardcore video games,” and that “the world’s best-selling video game adding ray tracing on PC illustrates the momentum that ray tracing has built.”

More ray tracing games incoming

Nvidia also announced a range of games – both already released and upcoming – that will feature ray tracing. These include Synched: Off-Planet which will use ray-traced reflections and shadows, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare remake, which comes with ray-traced shadows and new downloadable content for Metro Exodus called The Two Colonels.

The upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion will also get ray-traced reflections, and Dying Light 2 will get real-time ray tracing.

The fact that many upcoming games are only using ray tracing in certain aspects of the game (such as shadows or reflections) hints at how intensive ray tracing is to implement – another reason why Minecraft might have been selected to show off the possibilities.

  • Want to know more about future tech? Check out our IFA 2019 show hub
Categories: Tech News

Meet the SUV that can detect and monitor rocks as you drive over them

Latest Tech News - 6 hours 16 min ago

Most new advancements in cars are related to safety tech. Automakers want to keep us safe on the road, so several new Cadillac models will keep the car centered in the lane automatically, and a recent test of a Ford pick-up revealed how a safety shield protects you from rear-ending another car if you happen to look away from the road for too long.

It’s obviously a good trend, but technology can help us in many other ways.

In a 2020 Range Rover Evoque, there’s a feature designed for pure fun – and maybe a little peace of mind since this stylish SUV costs $42,650 (about £35,000, AU$63,000).

Using a camera mounted under the vehicle, ClearSight Ground View shows a real-time view of the under-carriage so you can look for rocks, tree limbs, and other obstructions. It’s one of those tech features that makes you look twice, realizing it is happening in real-time and that no other vehicle has anything like it (at least that I’ve tested).

Rock star

In my tests, I found a rocky side road near my house. To use the cameras, you press the camera button in the dashboard and then select the viewing angle you want. The Evoque has a few options for camera views.

What’s unique about ClearSight Ground View is that it is really helpful in an all-terrain setting with mud and dirt. I was able to find a tree limb in the road and inched toward it just to see if the under-carriage monitoring is actually helpful.

It is, although we’re not talking about the ability to automatically raise the vehicle or stop if the tree limb will cause damage. I only inched close enough to see it without driving over anything. There’s a good chance it wouldn’t have been a problem, but I wasn’t about to risk that.

If the owner of this vehicle decided to do some light off-roading, the viewing angle is handy because you can look for minors dangers like ruts, limbs, and rocks. I could also see using this in an area where there are potholes, ridges in the road, and other obstacles you’d want to avoid.

Off-road autonomy

That said, I did find think of other ideas for improving ClearSight Ground View. For now, it is only forward facing, but in the future I could see adding more angles looking behind the vehicle and underneath, or to the side to avoid some brush. Someday, the 2020 Evoque will be an actual off-road vehicle people will take on dirt paths and up mountains – say in 2035. It would be cool if the cameras were able to stop obstructions and veer away from them for those future drivers.

That’s the interesting thing about automotive tech to me. This is an innovative feature, one I have never seen before, and but shows Range Rover is trying new things. We all know the time is coming when drivers will want to see every possible angle around the vehicle, including underneath, to the side, above, and possibly even a zoom angle showing other cars.

On The Road is TechRadar's regular look at the futuristic tech in today's hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who's been writing about cars for 12 years, puts a new car and its cutting-edge tech through the paces every week. One goal: To find out which new technologies will lead us to fully self-driving cars.

Categories: Tech News

Google Play Store will no longer rush app approval for unproven developers

Latest Tech News - 6 hours 50 min ago

The Google Play Store is the main hub for Android apps, but spend a few minutes on it and you can easily stumble across malicious apps containing adware or worse. It looks like Google is making it harder for this kind of software to slip through its nets, however, with news that its app approval process will take a lot longer.

This news comes courtesy of a blog post from Choice of Games, a prolific app developer with over 100 apps on Google Play Store, which says that new apps submitted via the Android developer interface now face a three-day approval time, which is a significant increase on previous apps, which were often approved within a day.

Choice of Games' blog post points to an Android developer support page, which confirms that "for certain developer accounts, we’ll take more time to thoroughly review your app(s) to help better protect users. You’ll receive a notification on your app's Dashboard about how long this should take."

It's not clear what 'certain developer accounts' means, although presumably it's dependent on the developer's popularity and trust – but since Choice of Games, who have many games, are still seeing this wait period, it seems that the bar would be pretty high.

We've reached out to Google for clarification on this point, and will update this article if and when we hear back.

This news has split Android fans – while it should make users safer, it gives Android developers a big hurdle to overcome.

How does this affect Google Play Store users?

Good news for Google Play Store users, is that this change should make downloading apps on the service a lot safer. While the majority of the platform is safe to download from, a small but dangerous number of apps still slip through the cracks on a regular basis.

There's still an abundance of adware apps and stalker apps on the Google Play Store, as well as apps that can steal your data or details in a range of ways (although in the era of Facebook and other big data companies, does anyone care any more?).

If the Google Play Store screening process now takes a lot longer, it means Google is taking the time to do its due diligence and make sure apps that are posted aren't going to put users at risk.

How does this affect Android developers?

Some Android developers have hit back at the news, however, for one valid reason – Google didn't announce this change.

Many app developers work on specific deadlines and schedules like, for example, Choice of Games with its 100-strong Google Play Store collection. However the Android app platform only lets developers know of the three-day approval time change once they've submitted the app.

This means many users who were expecting their app to be up in a day are going to have their schedules thrown into disarray. This could be a problem for big companies which use deadlines for financial and workflow reasons, and a huge issue for indie developers that rely on their apps' success as their source of income.

Google probably should have communicated with developers better to let them know of this change – but in the long run it's better for developers and app users.

Via XDAdevelopers

Categories: Tech News

Buttonless LG phone patented alongside one with a mysterious camera

Latest Tech News - 6 hours 55 min ago

If there’s one thing LG likes to do, it’s innovate, and two new patents point to possible future innovations from the company.

The first of these, spotted by LetsGoDigital, shows a phone that doesn’t appear to have any physical buttons at all. This isn’t a totally new concept – the Meizu Zero for example had the same idea, but there’s no widely available phone that doesn’t have physical buttons.

Why get rid of buttons? Well, the mechanisms take up internal space which could be used for other things, or freed up to make the phone smaller or thinner. Buttons can also slightly spoil the lines of a phone, so getting rid of them could improve the appearance.

The design in this patent also shows a quad-lens rear camera, which is less unusual but would be a first for LG, and the screen appears to be almost completely bezel-free, with just a small notch housing a single-lens camera on the front. The lack of buttons or any visible fingerprint scanner suggests this would be built into the screen.

The buttonless phone on the left, the strange camera (detailed below) on the right.

In another patent, LG shows a phone with a single-lens rear camera that has a ring around it. It’s not clear what purpose the ring serves, but this looks like a high-end handset as the bezels are minimal, so perhaps it’s a zoom lens.

Certainly, it seems the camera is the focus on this phone, as there’s also a button near the bottom of the right edge which we suspect is a dedicated shutter key given its position.

However, none of this is certain, and as with all patents we can’t be sure if or when these designs will become actual phones. So don’t count on the LG V60 ThinQ or LG G9 being buttonless.

Categories: Tech News

Tesla wants you to rent its solar panels – as hardly anyone's buying them

Latest Tech News - 6 hours 58 min ago

Would you rent a solar panel? That's the new business strategy that Tesla – through its subsidiary SolarCity – is using to target consumers after some sweet, renewable energy, with a push in the US before a Europe launch planned for 2020.

While SolarCity was one of the largest providers of solar energy in the US only a few years ago, its seen its share of the market decline since Tesla's acquisition back in 2016. Other providers now lead the way, with Tesla installing only 29 megawatts worth of solar panel technology in the three months it took competitor SunRun to install 103 megawatts.

Renting starts at $50 per month in the states of Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico – with an uptick to $65 in California.

Price-wise, it still makes sense to buy a solar panel outright rather than renting every year – especially given the $1,500 (around £1,230 / AU$2,210) cost of removing those panels if you do choose to stop renting. SolarCity's cheapest solar panel array costs upwards of $7,000 (around £5,700 / AU$10,300) with tax incentives, which you would reach after roughly 12 years of renting at the above rate.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also took to Twitter to say that "it's like having a money printer on your roof" – if you're in an area or state with high electricity costs.

Too much i' the sun

Solar power has got more of the limelight (sunlight?) in recent years, as governments look to renewable energy sources to help run national power grids, and as individual home owners find ever more methods of reducing their carbon footprint.

Sure, installing a solar panel might seem like a large expense now, but given the amount of energy it generates for you, the purchase becomes more cost-effective the longer you use it – if your roof actually gets any sun, that is.

If you live in the shadow of a high-rise building, we probably don't recommend it – but for those of you in the UK, the E.ON website has a handy tool for sussing out whether your home is suitable.

Via TechCrunch

Categories: Tech News

Google Drive is finally getting shortcuts – you'll never lose a file again

Latest Tech News - 7 hours 14 min ago

After years of user requests, Google Drive is finally getting a much-needed feature: shortcuts that point to files stored in another location.

If you use Google Drive frequently, you'll know how frustrating it can be trying to find a single file in a jumble of folders. Yes, you can search for its name, but the new shortcuts feature could make your life much easier.

You'll be able to create shortcuts pointing to files in other folders, or on shared Drives, without changing the original file's location.

Quick clicks

Unfortunately you won't be able to create a shortcut to any old file – you're limited to Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, PDFs, JPGs, Microsoft Office files and folders. No creating shortcuts to your amusing cat GIFs, then.

The feature will arrive for paying G Suite users in the coming weeks (admins can now sign up for the beta program to get it early) and we anticipate it trickling down to personal Google Drive users later in the year.

Via Ars Technica

Categories: Tech News

Possible Age of Empires 4 reveal teased ahead of Microsoft's GamesCom show

Latest Tech News - 8 hours 30 min ago

With GamesCom 2019 about to open its doors, and with it the floodgates to a whole wave of fresh gaming news, Microsoft is teasing a reveal that could be set to show off more on Age of Empires 4.

We've known that a sequel to the historical strategy series is on the way since GamesCom 2017, but after a no-show at E3 2019, Microsoft's head of gaming Phil Spencer promised that there'd be more to share before the year is out.

The time for more news appears to be upon us then. The Age of Empires Twitter feed promises "some exciting Age of Empires news" will be announced on Monday, August 19th at 17:00 CEST:

Battles to come

So what exactly will that news be? The Inside Xbox showcase could, of course, skip over Age of Empires 4 altogether, in favor of more news relating to the other Age of Empires game on the way, the remastered Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition.

Having been remastered once already, Microsoft is pulling out all the stops with this new version of the second game in the series, introducing four new playable civilisations, three new campaigns and enough gameplay tweaks and UI improvements to fill a medieval castle.

But it is Age of Empires 4 we're most excited about – a previous teaser trailer showed many historical timelines, spanning ages that saw Romans through to the Japanese samurai as well as the British Redcoats. 

  • Want to know more about future tech? Check out our IFA 2019 show hub
Categories: Tech News

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 and Redmi 70-inch TV to launch on August 29

Latest Tech News - 10 hours 8 min ago

Xiaomi is going to announce the Redmi Note 8 alongside its 70-inch Redmi TV in an event scheduled on August 29 in China. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun took to Weibo and revealed a poster for the upcoming Redmi TV 70-inch. 

A user seems to have asked him in the comments section whether we can expect to see the Note 8 on the same day, to which Jun had replied with a thumbs-up emoji.

While that's not an official confirmation, its most definitely a hint at the Redmi Note 8 series that has been said to be in development. Lei Jun has previously teased some of the key areas the company is working on the successor to the Redmi Note 7 series. These include advanced cameras, efficient battery performance and more screen estate to play around.

Xiaomi has also revealed earlier that they plan on bringing phones with 64MP camera sensor, so we could see that on one of the Redmi Note 8 phones.

Coming to the Redmi TV, we know through the details on the poster that it is going to feature a humongous 70-inch display. While it is still unknown, the TV would have to be 4K considering its size and will be powered by the PatchWall OS like other Xiaomi TVs. There are also rumours about a 40-inch Redmi TV, so we could also see that during the event on August 29.

We'll keep an eye out on the developments in this area and let you know as we head closer to the launch day.

Categories: Tech News

Three 5G goes live in the UK... but only for your home

Latest Tech News - 10 hours 20 min ago

Three has launched its 5G network in London in the UK, making it the third of the four major carries to make the next generation network available, but it's more limited than EE's and Vodafone's offering.

For now, Three 5G is only available as a home broadband connection. This means you'll be able to pick up a 5G router from a Three store and use it in your home to power all your devices.

Three's 5G router can support up to 64 devices and £35 per month will provide you with unlimited data.

By using a 5G home broadband router, you won't need to connect the box to a landline and thus, don't need to pay a line rental fee, with the router instead connecting directly to the 5G mobile signal to provide your home with internet connectivity. All you need to do is plug it into a spare power socket.

Limitations

Initially, Three's 5G home broadband network is only available in a few choice locations in Central London (Camden, Camberwell and Southwark), which means for many, this offering won't be much use right now.

Three will continue to roll out its 5G network over the coming months, and says that by the end of 2019 it plans to have 5G available in 25 towns and cities around the country.

The locations are: London, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.

For those Three customers waiting for the network's 5G offering to come to smartphones, we're told it'll be available before the end of the year, but there's no firm release date just yet.

Categories: Tech News

IKEA to "invest significantly" in its smart home future

Latest Tech News - 10 hours 49 min ago

Recently, IKEA teamed up with Sonos to launch a pair of smart home products – the Symfonisk lamp speaker and Symfonisk bookshelf speaker – but the Swedish furniture giant isn’t going to stop there.

In a public announcement, IKEA has revealed that its smart home division (called Home Smart) is formally becoming “its own business unit within Ikea of Sweden”, and that the company “decided to invest significantly in Home Smart across IKEA to fast-forward the development”.

While IKEA’s business structure is somewhat nebulous, this announcement essentially amounts to an explicit commitment to continuing to develop products in the smart home category.

In fact, considering the aforementioned products that IKEA and Sonos collaborated on are part of the Symfonisk range, it’s very likely that we’ll see other products with a similar focus join them if they prove successful.

The Home Smart project was first kicked off in 2012, although it wasn’t until 2015 that consumers started seeing its results, with its launch of a range of wirelessly charging furniture

Since then, a variety of other smart and not-so-smart tech-integrated furniture has been put out by IKEA, including the TRÅDFRI range of affordable smart lights that are able to communicate with Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

While no specific products have been hinted at yet, it’s fair to assume we can expect the frequency at which they arrive to increase, as the new Head of Home Smart, Björn Block says it is “just getting started”.

Categories: Tech News

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