Tech News

First look: Panasonic Transparent OLED TV

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 14:40

Originally displayed at the Salone del Mobile furniture and lifestyle exhibition in Milan back in the spring, the intriguing prototype now looks even more impressive with much improved black levels.

The groundbreaking set has been developed in partnership with Swiss furniture brand Vitra and is a joint collaboration between Scandinavian based designer Daniel Rybakken and Panasonic Design Kyoto

Once switched on the set magically displays content much like a regular OLED TV, with the aforementioned objects behind the display completely obscured.

On first look the set appears to be a clear glass cabinet with a stylish, inch-thick wooden frame. With pictures and ornaments positioned behind the display during the demo, only a mild filtered surface belies the fact that the objects were in fact behind a TV display.

Once switched on the set magically displays content much like a regular OLED TV, with the aforementioned objects behind the display completely obscured.

Somehow all the prototype’s components have been cleverly and concealed within the wooden frame which doubles up as a stand. Also housed within the frame is a lightning element, which helps to further enhance the viewing experience.

Through the looking glass

Transparent displays are by no means a new concept - Samsung demonstrated both mirror and transparent OLED displays as far back as 2015, only to cease production a year later, while LG have also produced see-through OLED screens that were also flexible. 

While the picture was a long way short of delivering the true black levels we’d normally associate with a regular OLED set, the Panasonic prototype nevertheless impressed.

Both of those examples were dogged by poor contrast and black levels however, this is something that the Panasonic concept appears to have addressed to a great degree on the evidence of today’s demo. While the picture was a long way short of delivering the true black levels we’d normally associate with a regular OLED set, the Panasonic prototype nevertheless  impressed, thanks to an improved black dimming filter which helps to create greater contrast.

While no pricing or firm release dates were announced, Panasonic did confirm the OLED will developed further, with a production-ready model set to be ready in time for CES 2020 in January.

The Japanese company also unveiled the MegaCon, a display using a dual LCD layers to deliver black performance which rivals that of an OLED TV whilst also being capable of high brightness too. 

Categories: Tech News

Motorola One Zoom is Moto's attempt to make the best budget camera phone yet

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 14:31

The Motorola One Zoom is Motorola's latest, and most premium, handset in the Motorola One series, and it has its eyes set on the best camera phone crown – at least, the budget handset version.

Announced by Motorola at IFA 2019, the annual tech show in Berlin, the Motorola One Zoom follows the Motorola One, One Vision and One Action, the latter two of which were released in quick succession in the weeks leading up to IFA.

The One Vision and One Action are named for their particular camera specialities, and in the same spirit the Motorola One Zoom is so named because it has a powerful 8MP optical zoom lens as part of its camera array, which facilitates 3x optical or 10x hybrid zoom (and likely a pretty impressive digital zoom range too).

The other cameras on the device are a 48MP main sensor, a 16MP snapper with an ultra-wide angle lens, and a 5MP depth sensor. This is the first time Motorola has used four rear cameras on a phone.

Beyond its cameras, the Motorola One Zoom sticks closer to its affordable roots. There's a 6.39-inch OLED display, 4,000mAh battery, 3.5mm headphone jack, and Snapdragon 675 chipset – a decidedly mid-range processor. 

You get 4GB RAM and 128GB storage in the handset, which should be enough to store all the zoomed-in pictures you want to take.

So how do I buy the Motorola One Zoom?

Tempted by the Motorola One Zoom? Buying it may be a little complicated.

In the US, you can pick up the handset straight away, but only from motorola.com, where it'll cost you $449.99, and it'll only work with AT&T or T-Mobile.

In the UK, as well as Germany, Spain, Italy and France, you can also pick up the One Zoom immediately, but you'll only be able to do so from Amazon, where it's an exclusive. This version has Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built in, so if you're a fan then this version may be tempting for you. We don't have official word on the price of this just yet, though. There's no word on an Australian release as yet either.

Categories: Tech News

IMAX Enhanced is making Sony TVs even more cinematic

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 08:11

If you want to enjoy movies at home with the same kind of cinematic feel as, well, those in the cinema, you’ll soon be able to – on Rakuten TV, at least. 

At IFA 2019 we now have word that the IMAX Enhanced movie format, which uses an expanded aspect ratio and DTS mixed audio to imitate the feel of going out to the movies, will be coming to a select number of premium Sony TVs this month – as the first in the UK / European market.

The compatible televisions will be the Sony AG9 4K OLED, XG95 LED, and ZG9 8K TV, though these films will only be available on the Rakuten TV streaming platform.

A press release for the announcement said that "Sony's TVs have met a carefully prescribed set of performance requirements, set by IMAX, DTS engineers and Hollywood's leading technical specialists, to bring the highest-quality, sharpest 4K HDR images and powerful, immersive sound to the home."

What can I watch in IMAX Enhanced?

As of September 2019, viewers will be able to watch a small number of IMAX Enhanced movies on the Rakuten TV streaming platform, which allows you to buy or rent films individually. The films will include Venom, the last two Spider-Man films, and the 2017 Jumanji reboot – and presumably some others that aren’t as high-profile.

Not every film will have the 1.90:1 IMAX aspect ratio all the way through, though, as Spider-Man: Far From Home will only have 45 minutes of it.

We expect to see the format roll out to other Sony TVs, and those by other manufacturers at some point, as the catalogue gradually grows to include more films. With more than enough HDR formats running around, you may not want to have to think about another – but given the focus on bringing a cinema-like experience, IMAX could certainly offer something different.

Categories: Tech News

New version of Chromium Edge hints at how the web browser will challenge Google Chrome

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 08:08

Microsoft has released Chromium Edge Dev Build 78.0.262.0 for developers to test out before it gets made public, and the new version shows how the company aims to differentiate its new web browser from Google Chrome – its biggest rival.

Since the announcement that Microsoft was reinventing its unloved Edge browser to be based on Chromium – the same engine that Google Chrome uses – many of us have been wondering how Microsoft aims to take on Chrome when so much of the underlying technology is the same.

However, with this new version, which introduces a number of exclusive features for Edge, we’re beginning to get an idea.

New features

New features added to Chromium Edge include the much-anticipated Collections feature. Collections is an innovative way Edge users can collect and organise information while browsing the web.

So, if you’re browsing for a new laptop and find one you like the look of on Amazon, you could add the product page to a Collection. Then, you could head to our best laptops guide and add that as well, allowing you to build an easy-to-read collection of information from a variety of sources.

You can also export your Collections to Microsoft Word, and Chromium Edge will also support Windows 10’s native Share feature. It’s these two features that hint at how Microsoft aims to really differentiate Chromium Edge from Chrome, by tightly integrating it with Windows 10 and Office in a bid to win over Chrome users.

Other features introduced in the new version include updated user interface elements, various tools for emulating Internet Explorer (handy for older websites) and has enabled the built-in abusive ad blocker that was added to Chromium last year.

There has also been a large amount of stability fixes to help the browser run better. Microsoft has the full list in its release announcement, where the company also explains what happened with last week’s dev build, which was postponed.

As we mentioned, this new update is for people signed up to use early versions of Chromium Edge – but hopefully regular users will see these features in the final public version of Chromium Edge.

Via WinCentral

Categories: Tech News

Windows 10 redesign could be in the works going by new more colorful icons

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 08:06

Microsoft is apparently busy working on making new icons for various core Windows 10 apps – including File Explorer itself – and images of said icons have been spilled online, perhaps hinting at bigger changes in store for Microsoft’s desktop OS.

The icons were unearthed and shared on Twitter by Italian tech site Aggiornamenti Lumia (via Windows Latest), and comprise of redesigned versions of the likes of Groove Music, Films & TV, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Mail, and Calendar apps, as well as File Explorer (the name for the actual windows in which you browse through folders and files on the desktop).

As you can see above, the idea with most of these is to give them a lick of Fluent Design paint, some clean lines, and of course to add color (to the otherwise rather bland and flat-looking two-tone icons which are currently in place).

Although the File Explorer icon itself isn’t much different to the existing version, although it does spice things up with some different shades of blue highlights rather than just the one blue color.

Aggiornamenti Lumia reckons that the new icons will be rolled out to preview builds of Windows 10 (20H1) soon (the next major update due to land in the first half of 2020 – bearing in mind that the remaining update for this year is only a minor affair which is about tweaking things under-the-hood, not introducing big new features).

Lite wait

It’s assumed that these are new icons aimed for Windows 10 itself, although there is also the possibility that they could be destined for Windows Lite, Microsoft’s incoming lightweight spin on the OS (or even both of the aforementioned).

You may recall that fairly recently, back in July, Microsoft accidentally spilled a preview build of Windows 10 that wasn’t intended for public consumption, and this contained a stripped-back Start menu with no live tiles. So perhaps these redesigned icons will be tied in with the broader move to a fresh Start interface, and an overall more streamlined and colorful look for the operating system.

Hopefully Windows 10 preview builds in the near future should give us a more concrete picture of what’s to come.

Categories: Tech News

Sony Xperia 1 gets DualShock 4 controller support for ultimate gaming on the go

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 08:00

Sony has announced the new Xperia 5 and flagship Sony Xperia 1 now support DualShock 4 controllers. 

The announcement was made during Sony's conference at IFA 2019, where the company revealed its new compact smartphone alongside a host of other new tech.

The phone launch itself may have been the big news, but the fact you can now wirelessly connect your PlayStation's DualShock 4 controller to the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 means gaming on the go will be easier than ever. 

For those who already own the Xperia 1, compatibility will be added via an over-the-air software update.

Why should we care?

What's actually the benefit though? Apart from the fact you can use your existing DualShock 4 with your Xperia 1 or Xperia 5, and don't need to purchase a brand new controller, it also makes gaming easier overall. 

Mobile gaming can be a serious pain, and being able to use a proper gamepad with your device can seriously improve your control and your gameplay experience. It's like having a compact console at your fingertips.

Sony highlighted popular mobile game Fortnite during its announcement of the feature, with the close control provided by the analogue sticks far superior to any on-screen touch controls. 

It also means your hands aren't covering the screen during battle, giving you the best view possible - plus the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 have wide 21:9 aspect ratio screens, giving you a wider field of view when playing in landscape.

Best deals of DualShock 4 controllers

Not picked up a DualShock 4 controller yet? Don't worry, you can typically grab one for fairly cheap. We've included the best deals on DualShock 4 controllers right now below, so check them out:

Categories: Tech News

24-hour eBay voucher code knocks 10% off the top 15,000 merchants' deals

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:58

The summer sales are drawing to an end but this eBay voucher code could save you up to £100 on a huge range of items. Hurry though, as it expires at midday on Friday.

Unlike recent eBay voucher promos, this one has a fantastic selection of retailers that will let you use the new 10% off code, PACKED10. Instead of a list of around 20 merchants, most of which we've never usually heard of, today's code can be used at the top 15,000 sellers on eBay. 

This is ideal for tech fans (not to mention pretty much every category you can think off), as big brands like Currys PC World, AO, Argos, ShopTo and more are all getting involved.

There are a few caveats, to consider before you head on out. There's a minimum spend of £100 and a maximum discount of £100. Usually, these eBay code only require a minimum spend of around £20, but the maximum discount is then around £60, so we prefer today's offer of course so we can make an even bigger dent in prices of more expensive tech like laptops, game consoles and TVs.

  • Discount: 10% off
  • At: eBay.co.uk
  • Voucher code: PACKED10
  • Expires: 12:00 midday Friday September 6th
  • Minimum spend: £100
  • Maximum discount: £100

Let's take a look at some of the best offers we've found so far to use the eBay voucher code with. These are from big-name electronics stores on eBay. Currys, AO.com, ShopTo all have major eBay presences nowadays, usually with unique prices on new items not found on their regular websites.

Want to check out even more eBay deals? Then head on over direct to the sale page where you'll find category listings for clothes, sporting goods, computers, garden, mobile phones, home entertainment, music, DIY and much more. 

Or maybe today's the day you're going to get that overpriced internet bill nixed via one of our best broadband deals. If you're looking to treat yourself to a new phone, be sure to peruse our roundup of the cheapest contracts and SIM-free handsets in our best mobile phone deals guide- it's definitely better than going into a phone shop on the high street. 

And if you're looking to shore up your device's privacy and access region-locked content you'd be surprised just how cheap VPN deals are this week.

Categories: Tech News

Google Photos may soon let you order same-day prints through your phone

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:45

Google Photos may soon get a new feature that will allow you to order photo prints directly through the mobile app for same-day pickup.

It's been possible to order prints through Google Photos for some time (it's been able to design and order photo books for you since 2017), but an investigation by 9to5Google revealed that there's likely to be a much faster service on the way very soon.

A teardown of Google Photos 4.24 for Android revealed references to standard 4x6in photo prints for "same day pickup from CVS or Walmart".

No other companies are mentioned, so it seems safe to say that the service will be restricted to users in the US at first, but that may not be the case for long. Although its photo book service began in the US, Google soon extended it to Canada, Germany, the UK and France.

Canvassing opinion

The app also contains several mentions of canvas prints, which will be available for Google Photos users who want to mount their snaps on their walls. These will be available in three sizes: 8x8in, 11x14in and 16x20in, with a choice of either black of white wrap (to avoid the picture being stretched around the edge of the frame).

Google doesn't mention which company will be providing the canvas prints, but neither CVS nor Walmart offer them for same-day pickup so it seems likely to be the same supplier that handles its photo books.

These options aren't available in the app yet, and there's no guarantee that they will be, but teardowns like this often reveal features that are well into development. If and when they arrive, they'll be a handy way to get your favorite snaps off your phone and into a format where you can enjoy them every day.

Categories: Tech News

iPhone 11 early bird deal: pre-register now and claim £30 cashback when you buy

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:34

It's the 2019 smartphone release we've all been waiting for - the iPhone 11. Samsung has had its 2019 limelight, so has Huawei and now it's Apple's turn. And for those who just can't wait for the phone to launch, there's some good news. Pre-registers for the iPhone 11 are now live and one retailer is offering something quite special.

If you head over to retailer Mobiles.co.uk and pre-register your interest in Apple's latest device, the company will give you £30 in cashback. Obviously you do also have to buy the phone when it's released and you won't actually get your cashback until the purchase but with the phone not even announced yet, prices already being cut is an exciting prospect.

And, if you're a devotee of the high-street Carphone Warehouse, you can also pre-register with that retailer, too. Although that means you miss out on the cashback on offer, you could get the benefit of its trade-in savings, wide range of networks and award winning service.

Obviously, Apple has been quite quiet about what the iPhone 11 (or maybe the iPhone XI?) will be like. But, we've been working hard to find out what you can expect from the brand new handset.

Price-wise, it is likely to be around the £999 mark, we're expecting three models, a truly decked out triple camera system and a sleek innovative design. You can head on over to our iPhone 11 news and rumours page to find out exactly what to expect after you've pre-registered your interest.

How to pre-register for the new iPhone 11: Why should I pre-register for the iPhone 11?

There's a key point to remember with pre-registers, this doesn't actually mean you have to purchase the phone. So there isn't really any reason not to pre-register!  It just means you'll be sent info on all the best prices when pre-orders go live.

However, there are a few good reasons to go with Mobiles.co.uk.

  • Cashback: We've said it already but we'll say it again, £30 cashback is up for grabs.
  • Stay in the loop: Register your interest and Mobiles.co.uk can keep you in the loop on announcements, release dates, pricing and pre-order deals.
  • Plan ahead: You don't need to buy now but as soon as the phone lands, Mobiles.co.uk will keep you informed on what offers are available.
Categories: Tech News

Small hands rejoice! There's a new Sony Xperia Compact... sort of

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:24

It's been a long time coming, but smaller flagship phone fans rejoice... a new Sony smartphone has been announced at IFA 2019 - although it's not as compact as you may have hoped.

Called the Sony Xperia 5, it doesn't carry the "Xperia Compact" name we last saw in February 2018 with the launch of the Xperia XZ2 Compact, but those with smaller palms will be thrilled to learn that Sony has a new smartphone with flagship features that doesn't require you to have palms the size of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson to operate one-handed.

The Sony Xperia 5 boasts a tall 6.1-inch, Full HD+ OLED 21:9 display, which means it's less compact than previous small flagships from the firm, and also features HDR and Dolby Atmos.

Measuring 158 x 68 x 8.2mm it's shorter and narrower than the flagship Xperia 1, but no where near as dinky as the Xperia XZ2 Compact (135 x 65 x 12.1 mm).

There are triple cameras round the back with 12MP wide-angle, 12MP telephoto and 12MP ultra-wide angle lenses, plus there's supports Sony's Dualshock 4 input, allowing you to use your PlayStation controller for games on the Xperia 5.

Under the hood you get Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset and 6GB of RAM, providing you with cutting-edge power which should be able to handle everything you chuck at it.

There's a sizable 128GB of internal storage included as well, but if that isn't enough there's a microSD slot supporting cards up to 512GB in size.

The Xperia 5 comes with IP68 dust and water resistant, which means it should survive being briefly submerged, and has a 3,140mAh battery with fast charging capabilities.

The Sony Xperia 5 release date is set for October in Europe (Oct 4 in the UK), with pre-orders starting next week (Sep 18 from EE, Sep 19 from Carphone Warehouse in the UK) and prices starting at €799 (around $879, £715).

Categories: Tech News

LG’s rollable OLED TV should still release this year, but not for US or UK

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:22

If you’ve been waiting on the LG Signature Series OLED TV R television to finally invest in an OLED TV, we may have some disappointing news. While the innovative, rollable OLED set was originally scheduled for a late 2019 release, we now have word that the set has been pushed back to an unspecified date.

An LG representative on the IFA 2019 show floor told us that its initial release would likely be Korea, either in 2019 or 2020, but that no Western releases to the US, UK, or otherwise currently have a firm date planned.

That could mean UK and US viewers only have to hold out another year, but it could also mean they’re left waiting until 2021 or beyond.

Why are we waiting?

The Asian TV market tends to be more accepting of unusual or variable form factors – as with TCL, which launches much bolder TV designs in China, where the company is based, than in international markets.

It’s not impossible to imagine LG only releasing the set on home turf, given the large expense incurred for mass manufacture, and the difficultly in recouping those funds when shipping and marketing abroad – all of which costs more money. 

We're assured by Kenneth Hong, Senior Director at LG Electronics, however, that the Signature Series R is getting a global release – just not immediately.

"We are still focusing on end of the year release for some market," he says. "It's going to be somewhere."

The LG Signature Series R may be a limited edition model only a handful get to experience in their homes – though given the sleek nature of the hardware, and the international coverage it’s received, we're sure those following the rollable OLED will want it sooner rather than later.

Categories: Tech News

Trump won't discuss Huawei in trade talks

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:20

US President Donald Trump has claimed the US will not discuss on the ongoing status of Huawei in the country during ongoing trade talks with China.

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.

Trump Huawei

The US has also confirmed some US suppliers will be able to trade with Huawei – if there is no security risk – however it has not approved any of the 130 licence applications it is reported to have received to date. It is also unclear which areas the government deems not to be a security threat

Trump’s position on the matter has been fluid, with the President suggesting he would be open to including Huawei in any trade deal. The two countries have been engaged in a long-running dispute, exchanging tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s goods.

Talks between China and the US are ongoing, but Trump’s position appears to have changed again.

“It’s a national security concern,” he is quoted as saying. “Huawei is a big concern of our military, of our intelligence agencies, and we are not doing business with Huawei.

“And we’ll see what happens with respect to China, but Huawei has been not a player that we want to discuss, (that) we want to talk about right now.”

Washington has offered some wiggle room, allowing Huawei to procure technologies from certain suppliers in order to serve US rural operators that use its equipment – an arrangement it has recently extended. However the blacklisting is a major blow to Huawei’s bid to overtake Samsung and become the world’s second largest smartphone maker.

The situation has also had a significant impact on US vendors, many of whom will lose significant revenue streams if the ban persists. Of the $80 billion spent by Huawei on components last year, $11 billion was to American companies – including Qualcomm, Intel and Broadcom – who have petitioned for a relaxation of the restrictions.

Huawei has persistently denied any allegations of wrongdoing

Via Reuters

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 finally gets a key Apple Watch feature

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:16

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is almost here – and it's going to get a key new feature to help it rival the Apple Watch 4.

Samsung announced at IFA 2019 that its latest smartwatch will feature compatibility with Technogym treadmills, meaning you can run and run indoors and have accurate health info delivered to your wrist.

This is key for many fitness bods, as ordinarily when you're running on a treadmill you have to rely on a pretty inaccurate accelerometer in the watch to guess how far and how fast you're running, based simply on your height.

By synchronizing the smarter treadmills with your Watch Active 2 – presumably with a single tap using NFC to create a Bluetooth connection, in a similar vein to the Apple Watch – users will get far more accurate fitness data, and can build a better picture of their workouts.

What's actually on offer?

We're still waiting on more information beyond an on-stage confirmation from Samsung that the Technogym compatibility is coming – we don't know if it will appear on older watches, whether syncing with other fitness equipment like steppers or static cycles will be possible, and how many gyms are set up to support the feature.

If it's anything like the similar integration in the Apple Watch, a simple tap connects to the workout machine (although you still need to confirm your workout) even if you've already begun, so you can begin to track that sweet, sweet data on your wrist.

Apple's wearable supports many Technogym cardio machines, but not weights at the moment – it will be interesting to see if Samsung can leap ahead here and offer wider integration with all Technogym equipment.

We'll bring you more information as we get it from Samsung and Technogym – but this is a real boon for the South Korean brand's wearable as it looks to add more features to attract a wider audience.

Categories: Tech News

Why the iPhone 11 is Apple's most crucial product for India this year

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 07:05

What do you get when you combine the world’s most affluent smartphone maker with the second-fastest growing smartphone market in the world? Potentially, disruption. But for Apple, struggles.

Apple famously called India one of its top priority markets and one where it plans on staying for a “thousand years.” However, Apple’s stay in India has been far from a dream affair. iPhone sales have been at their weakest point in the last five years , which is appalling considering the fact that most of its competition has been able to successfully transform India into a key market and even climb the ranks and move more units over the same period.

Apple's struggles in India

But where exactly does the problem lie? If you know the Indian smartphone market, it’s not difficult to pinpoint the biggest snafu in Apple’s strategy- the price of iPhones. And looking at how the market winners have been functioning just affirm this axiom. With a market share of less than 1% in India now, Apple really needs a turnaround strategy.

Xiaomi entered India five years ago as a humble startup, and is now the market leader in the country. In those short five years, it was able to go from selling a few thousand to crores of smartphones a year. Xiaomi has figured out how to develop offerings for the price-sensitive Indian consumer, and doubled down on that by constantly reminding them about ‘honest pricing.’ As reviewers ourselves, offerings by Xiaomi, or Redmi in particular, have usually been easy recommendations owing to its incredible value-for-money proposition.

Agreed that comparing Apple and Xiaomi isn’t really a, well, apples to apples comparison. So we took the premium smartphone segment (phones priced at over Rs 30,000) in consideration, and again a considerably new player OnePlus predominantly rule this space, followed closely by Samsung. OnePlus’ call to fame was also bringing incredible value and flagship-grade specifications to a slightly lower price point. Moreover, OnePlus always aimed to focus on experience, which has been the key selling point for iPhones. Having mentioned that, the premium segment contributes to less than 4% of the overall smartphone sales in India, twisting the odds against Apple. 

iPhones are just plain expensive in India

A lot of Apple’s Indian woes would go away if the iPhone pricing is reconsidered. India has one of the highest iPhone pricing in the world. For context, an iPhone XS with 64GB is priced at $999 in the U.S. (approximately Rs 70,000) but retails for Rs 99,900 in India, which is significantly higher. There is a multitude of reasons for this price disparity, but there are also ample ways for Apple to bring that gap closer. 

The common reason often stated by Apple is the heavy import duty levied by the Indian authorities. That is true for the most mart, but when most other smartphone manufacturers could use this to their advantage, there’s no reason why Apple can not. Especially, considering the kind of cash Apple is sitting on

As per the ‘Make in India’ scheme, smartphone companies are required to have certain manufacturing capacities in India. Chinese OEMs such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have happily set up huge factories in the country, investing thousands of crores to make India their manufacturing hub for the future. Samsung, which is the global leader in the number of smartphones sold also has a manufacturing facility in India, which is also the biggest smartphone manufacturing unit in the world and is soon expected to even help Samsung export units to other countries.

In comparison, Apple only has a rather small plant in Bangalore in partnership with Wistron Corp. which only deals in the assembly of iPhones that are generations old. Foxconn is also said to be testing the Indian waters and hopes to manufacture newer iPhones in India, but there’s no word on when that will materialise. 

The Indian Government put forward a simple condition to Apple, which is basically meant to attract more investments to the country. This will not only help Apple price its products such as the iPhone more reasonably, but also help find its footing in India. Sure, setting up giant iPhone assembly lines is no easy task, but for a company as affluent as Apple, it shouldn’t take much long to get going on that part, especially when other brands have done it in a few short years.

Made in India iPhones?

Currently, all iPhones are manufactured in China. But that deal could get rough owing to the ongoing trade war between USA and China where Apple might be compelled to look at other destinations to set up the production. Moving to India might just kill two birds with the same stone. 

Last week, the centre also relaxed another norm that is bound to make Apple’s position in India better-- single-brand retailers will no longer be subject to FDI norms. Earlier, if Apple were to operate a store in India, online or otherwise, it would need a minimum localisation of 30%. 

Speculations also suggest that Apple will be investing up to Rs 1,000 cr in India to strengthen its retail presence. Along with an online sales portal, Apple Stores will also be set up in India starting with Mumbai. We’re unsure if this change will cause a change in the price of its products, but will at least let the company have better control over its channels. 

Expanding upon this topic, Apple added "We love our customers in India and we’re eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy. We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we’ll have more to announce at a future date."

The competition isn't far behind

Apple will have to act fast for a turnaround. Well-loved brands such as OnePlus are now encroaching upon the premium and ultra-premium segments, while Samsung has smartly brought slightly affordable variants of its top flagships to the market with the S10e and the smaller Note10, undercutting iPhones. And that’s been working out beautifully for these competitors. Statistics show that consumers are moving away from Apple towards the aforementioned Android alternatives is a big smack to Apple. Counterpoint analysts state that fewer than 2,20,000 iPhones were sold in India in the first quarter of 2019, practically indicating that a chunk of its loyal fanbase has also started to look out. 

Indians really want to buy iPhones, but the problem, they just can’t...

How Apple can bounce back

Until recently, the best selling iPhones in India were the iPhone 6 and the iPhone SE, both of which are about 3 generations old, plainly because of their price. Talking about the newer models, the iPhone XR sold much better than the XS counterparts, once again reminding Apple how elastic the demand is. Combining these pieces of the equation spells out what the company should do, going forward.

Next week, Apple will be taking the wraps off the new iPhones, potentially called the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and are supposed to be the spiritual successors of the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. For a market like India, the cheapest iPhone 11 is likely to be the most demanded model.

Demand is defined as the desire to purchase backed by a willingness to pay. There’s no doubt over the first bit, but the pricing usually renders the latter unachievable. 

Considering that the iPhone 11 will not be manufactured or assembled in India from the get, it is still going to be subject to the aforementioned import duty. If Apple can somehow bring the base variant of the iPhone 11 to a more localized price where it can go head-to-head against other ultra-premium offerings, this will be the impetus the company had been looking for in regaining its stronghold. 

Other strategies could include better financing options such as contracts, EMIs or even telco partnerships like we see in the western countries. This should go a long way in making the iPhones more affordable, if not directly cheaper.

It’s technically not directly possible for Apple to magically make the iPhone 11 more affordable without having an overall bigger effect. But if there’s ever been a time for Apple to put its foot down for its future, it is now, even if that means selling the iPhone 11 at a much slimmer profit margin in India. It’s high time Apple starts chasing volumes in India, and let the profits from other segments and markets offset this ‘loss’, and once again become the respected giant it once was.

Categories: Tech News

Why a balanced data strategy is key to success

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 06:52

The relationship between businesses and customers has transformed dramatically in the last few years, moving rapidly from one-way, one-time interactions, to brands looking to establish an almost daily connection with their customers. For consumers, frequent interaction is acceptable, but it must be on their terms and there needs to be something in it for them – it is, after all, their data that companies are mining to generate those opportunities to interact with them. 

To effectively engage customers, existing and new, brands need to interact with them in a personalized and authentic manner. Consumers today have come to expect this, and in order to meet that expectation brands need their data – and lots of it.  After all, the more you have, the better the insights you can derive, the better the experience design. 

The age of data

From product usage patterns, to individual preferences around particular services, brands can gain a detailed picture of what consumers want and how they like it delivered. It’s a treasure trove of information that brands have at their fingertips and something that if used right, can garner greater interaction and loyalty with consumers than ever before. Getting it right can be like walking a tightrope: A misstep could cause a small wobble in consumer trust but lose your footing here altogether and you could seriously damage your reputation and risk financial injury.

In order to use this data effectively, businesses need to be smart about how they interact with it, store it and share it through the organisation. This is where technology can play its part. Currently, many businesses are overwhelmed with the data they have and are either unable to gain the insights they need from it or are analyzing it within silos and not sharing it across the organisation.

Data management and AI

Adobe's recent Digital Trends research showed businesses are starting to see the need for change and to take more control over their data. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of IT professionals have made it a priority to improve their data collection capabilities and centralize all the information they collect onto a single platform.

To find their privacy/personalization equilibrium, businesses need to tap into the latest technological tools in data management and artificial intelligence (AI). Where internal silos and external ‘walled gardens’ stifle the data, data management enables the information to be collected in one place for each function of the business to use. Without this, it’s impossible to use the data effectively and gain the insights needed to deliver the personalized experiences that consumers crave.

Once the data is collated, analyzing it is easier said than done. This is where AI comes in. By implementing AI and machine learning, businesses can analyse the mountains of data they have at a much faster speed than doing it manually. Putting the right tools and AI platforms in place means data can be analysed and sorted as it enters the system, leading to almost instantaneous insights and immediate business decisions.

Making privacy an experience

There’s a growing awareness among consumers of the value of their data and how it’s being captured and stored. While they expect a tailored, seamless experience, it can’t come at the cost of dubious data collection and sharing practices. This shouldn’t be seen as a negative from a brand’s perspective, but more as a chance to make data privacy a competitive differentiator.

Implementing privacy at the start of any process will ensure a smoother experience while also ensuring customers are comfortable with the way the company is handling their valuable data. The more confident customers are that the companies they are sharing their data with are handling it responsibly, the stronger the relationship and the more they will be willing to share in future.

Effective advertising and marketing increasingly combine art with science, giving us a deeper understanding of customers than ever, and it’s up to brands to transform that insight into experiences that create powerful emotional connections. Take Sky for example and its use of data to understand customers’ favourite sports teams.  

Using that information to deliver tailored content builds a stronger connection with customers, who get an improved experience in exchange for their data.

Creativity, intelligence, and technology are the three pillars that separate amazing experiences from ordinary ones. Today, customer experience is the ultimate differentiator, and brands that can cut through the noise and inspire audiences at every stage of the customer journey will come out on top. 

Finding that balance between personalization and privacy needn’t feel like a precarious balancing act. With the right data, tools and a strong company-wide data culture, navigating this terrain will feel more like a walk in the park than a precarious balancing act.

 

Jamie Brighton is the Head of Product & Industry Marketing EMEA, at Adobe.

Categories: Tech News

World’s largest hard drive coming "within months"

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 06:46

Western Digital looks set to be first hard disk manufacturer to hit the 20TB barrier later this year with the release of the new Ultrastar DC HD650 hard disk drive within the next few months.

Little is known about the drive, but we do know that there’s nine platters, each with a capacity of about 2.22TB, a 5-year limited warranty and a 2.5M hour MTBF (mean time before failure) rating as well as SATA or SAS interface. The HD650 is likely to pack at least 256MB of cache, if not more.

The news comes almost four years after WD's subsidiary (HGST) unveiled the first 10TB drive. The HD650 uses helium gas to reach this capacity, along with host-managed SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording); the downside of which is that it requires system software modifications and is therefore not a drop-in replacements for traditional hard drives.

Seagate next?

Western Digital has yet to confirm pricing and whether these drives will be available in the channel. The bulk of these drives are likely to find their way to cloud and hyperscale data centers, such as those used by Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Alibaba.

Seagate has been relatively quiet since the 2017 announcement when it claimed that it has a 20TB HAMR-based drive on the market by the end of 2019 with drives bigger than 40TB available by 2023. With the fourth quarter of the year well under way, the countdown has begun for Seagate to deliver the goods.

Categories: Tech News

The Philips Hue lighting system now includes funky Edison 'filament' bulbs

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 06:43

Signify, the company behind Philips Hue, has unveiled a range of trendy Edison-style smart lightbulbs at IFA 2019 in Berlin. Each bulb contains a twisted 'filament' of LEDs, and emits a warm glow harking back to antique bulbs of yesteryear.

These bulbs are intended to give a strictly old-school feel, so you won't be able to adjust the color or temperature of the light. You can, however, control them through the Philips Hue app, Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, or any of the Hue system's various switches and sensors.

The funky bulbs will be available in three sizes – A19, ST19 and G25 – and will be available in the US from October starting at $25 (about £20, AU$35). Hopefully other territories will be able to light up their homes with some old-school cool soon too.

More bright ideas

There are also some new accessories in the mix: a plug and a button. The Philips Hue Smart Plug that lets you add any 'dumb' lamp to your smart lighting setup. Just plug in your gadgets and you're done. You aren't limited to lights, either – you could also plug in a fan or any other device. It will sell for a rather steep $40 (about £30, AU$60).

The new Philips Hue Smart Button is a tiny wireless switch that can be fitted wherever you like using a built-in magnet. It's simply a quick, easy way to control your Hue lights, which it connects to using either Bluetooth or Zigbee. Tap the Smart Button once to turn them off, twice to change to a preset 'scene', or press and hold to dim.

The Smart Button will be able to perform different tasks at different times of the day – so a double-press could make your lights warmer and dimmer in the evening, but brighter and colder in the morning, for example. It will cost $20 (about £15, AU$30).

Finally, there's an updated version of the Philips Hue Go – a wireless, bowl-shaped lamp that's intended for parties and outdoor fun. The second-generation Hue Go is a major improvement on the third as it can now be controlled via your phone using Bluetooth, rather than relying on a Philips Hue Bridge. That means you're no longer restricted to using it within a stone's throw of your house.

The new Hue Go also offers greatly improved battery life (up to 18 hours), is much brighter than its predecessor (up to 520 lumens) and can be dimmed to a mere 1.2 lumens when the party's over and it's time to wind down.

Via MacRumors

Categories: Tech News

AI key to securing business networks

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 06:25

Following a few tumultuous years of data breaches, cybersecurity vulnerabilities have been pushed to the front of the news agenda. However, despite cybersecurity budgets increasing, the threats and number of breaches continues to rise, highlighting that the current approach businesses are taking – particularly small and medium-sized businesses – to protect their networks remain insufficient.

So, why are businesses continuing to invest in traditional network security measures that don’t appear to protect their data, and how should they use emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to secure their networks?

With growing threats from cybercriminals, and legislation such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), businesses have had to change how they go about cybersecurity, and quickly. But the race in ensuring compliance, while keeping up to date on the latest threats, has left many security teams feeling stretched. Fortunately, one emerging technology may hold the key to helping secure these networks from internal and external bad actors: AI. 

Machines to the rescue?

When an AI system is given access to an organisation’s internal network and monitoring systems, it can act as a million extra sets of eyes for an existing IT department. For example, AI operating on a network can evaluate the usage patterns of individual employees accessing it, create a series of baseline activity profiles, and monitor all network activity for deviation from that, 24 hours a day. 

This could do a great deal to minimise the number of false alerts that are detected due to behaviour that, whilst atypical is not unpredictable, and enable IT teams to focus their energies on combating other potential threats and innovation.

While AI’s ability to filter threats is tremendously useful, the technology becomes truly invaluable once it starts to recognise threats based on miniscule signs that are invisible to the human eye. As an AI algorithm is fed more and more data, it becomes capable of maintaining a constantly evolving standard to judge potential threats by. 

IT teams are ultimately limited by the amount of data they can process in a day, as is AI, but the difference in the size of data an AI is able to process is significantly bigger. When it comes to processing data and spotting potential threats, the “brain power” of an AI system will give it a distinct advantage over human cybersecurity monitors.

Of course, AI has limitations too and the technology is ultimately only as good as the platform, code and tools at its disposal – If these are limited, then so is AI. As the AI itself cannot create these tools, it’s reliant on the input of humans to work effectively – this in turn can introduce bias which left unchecked can skew the potential benefits. 

In addition, the AI lacks the intuition to spot new threats; basing its analysis on existential data, it takes a human expert to identify the anomalies identified by AI and to realise them as emerging threats. With that in mind, AI will be most effective as a cybersecurity mechanism deployed alongside human experts.

AI for one, AI for all

However, as much as AI can help businesses secure their own networks, it can also be harnessed by hackers to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks against them. As we saw last year, vast botnets such as Mirai can help hackers deliver devastating cyberattacks. These botnet attacks are becoming harder to spot and trace as they coopt more and varied devices. AI incorporated into the hostile bots can help evolve their patterns, effectively going on the run from those that try to detect them, posing an even greater threat to businesses. 

The advanced and dynamic nature of an AI-enabled attack means businesses would need their own suite of AI tools to fight back – human cybersecurity experts would struggle to respond to such an attack alone. There is another advantage to an AI algorithm securing a network, that – given enough time, the attacks launched against a defending network, with AI incorporated, would teach it the methods necessary to protect itself. Put simply, the attacker teaches the defender.

There is a downside to this approach, though. While the business’ AI system is adapting and learning these new threats, it still needs effective defences to protect against other known attacks. If a dedicated AI botnet was attacking a network, a business may become vulnerable to a simpler, more direct attack such as phishing. This would be like fighting a war on two fronts, where a business takes its strongest forces to face the biggest army, or threat, leaving its flank vulnerable to surprise attacks. 

This is why it’s imperative that a business relies on the expertise of its human cybersecurity specialists, to help mitigate additional threats and support the AI system. Of course, with more resources available than hackers, a business could also employ more than one form of AI – one to tackle AI-based threats, and another to focus on other forms of attacks.

AI poses the potential to revolutionise both sides of the cyber battle, so it’s imperative that cybersecurity experts and businesses begin working together to better understand the technology and its implications now – before cybercriminals do. Whoever masters the technology first will ultimately have the upper hand when it comes to securing or accessing our data in the future.

Thankfully, the momentum is leaning the way of the security industry, which is using its vast resources and expertise to stay ahead of the hackers when it comes to implementing and developing these AI systems. But the industry should not rest on its laurels. Instead it should drive home the advantage that it currently has. If it doesn’t, hackers will be waiting in the wings to inflict damage that can be devastating to a business.

 

Richard Meeus is Security Technology and Strategy Director for Akamai's EMEA region.

Categories: Tech News

Canon unleashes the EOS C500 Mark II, a full-frame cine camera with 5.9K video

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 06:24

Hot on the heels of launching its EOS 90D DSLR and EOS M6 Mark II mirrorless camera, Canon has given its Cinema EOS system a shot in the arm with the new EOS C500 Mark II.

The EOS C500 Mark II arrives with a full-frame sensor designed and built by Canon, which appears to be the same one found inside the EOS C700 FF, and this is capable of recording 5.9K video. 

That's quite a step up from the Super 35mm sensor that starred in the original EOS C500, which topped out at 4K recording, although Super 35mm and Super 16mm modes are also on hand here.

The new sensor is partnered with a new DIGIC DV 7 processor, and that combination allows for 5.9K internal footage capture in the Cinema RAW Light format, a more efficient option than the standard Cinema RAW option.

Users are also able to record 4K footage using Canon's XF-AVC format with 4K 4:2:2 10bit, as well as 2K footage. Canon claims that the use of a debayering algorithm when oversampling 5.9K into 4K footage helps to suppress moiré and noise for "exceptional" image quality.

The EOS C500 Mark II is also the first Cinema EOS model to support the CFexpress format, with two CFexpress card slots on its side, as well a single SD-type slot next to them. CFexpress promises faster transfer rates than current CFast cards, and will eventually succeed the XQD format used in many current DSLR and mirrorless cameras, such as the Nikon Z7, Nikon D850 and Panasonic S1R.


Self-swapping mount

The new camera is the first Cinema EOS model to support five-axis Electronic IS, a feature that has starred in many current EOS DSLR and mirrorless cameras.  Another first for the line is the fact that the user can swap between the EF Cinema Lock and PL mounts, rather than having to have Canon to do this for them. 

The model also supports Dual Pixel CMOS AF, and with it, Face Detection AF and Tracking AF, together with the option to fine-tune AF tracking speed and response. 

Other features include the option to use custom LUTs and a built-in motorized Full Frame ND unit, which can apply 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 stops of filtration. That's useful for shooting in bright light, where a smaller aperture that might compromise creative possibilities may normally be required.

Users will be able to customize their models with a pair of expansion units, the EU-V1 and EU-V2. Both add the Genlock/Sync BNC interface, Remote B interface and an Ethernet interface for IP streaming or browser remote control operation among other things, and the latter also throws in two XLR inputs and a 12-pin lens interface. Two EVFs compatible with the model, namely the EVF-V70 and EVF-V50, will also be made available. 

The EOS C500 Mark II will go on sale for $15,999 / £16,999.99, and will start shipping from December. Pricing for Australia is yet to be confirmed, but the US price converts to about AU$23,500.

Categories: Tech News

Raspberry Pi strapped to a satellite takes stunning picture of Earth

Latest Tech News - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 06:15

A satellite company in the UK, SSTL, has sent a £50 (around $60/AU$90) Raspberry Pi Zero mini PC into space, where it has taken a stunning picture of the planet Earth.

SSTL attached the Raspberry Pi Zero to its Demonstration of Technology satellite (DoT-1), and the only modification the company made to the single board educational computer was that it swapped out the standard lens of the connected camera for a fish-eye one.

According to SSTL engineering director Rob Goddard, “We bought three (computers) and did some tests to see which one was performing the best – selected that and flew it... We put it in a metal box but fundamentally we didn't do anything to the Pi Zero.”

The results have been so impressive that the Guildford-based company is considering using Raspberry Pi computers (plus camera accessory) regularly.

One of the ways the Raspberry Pi attached to a satellite could be used is for taking selfies, allowing people back on Earth to inspect the satellite while it’s in space.

The image captured by the Raspberry Pi Zero

To boldly go

We're huge fans of the Raspberry Pi here at TechRadar, with the mini PCs proving to be incredibly versatile and able to be used in a huge variety of projects – from DIY security cameras to retro games consoles – as well as being fantastic tools for teaching children how to code, and this news proves just how capable those tiny PCs are.

This isn't the first time that a Raspberry Pi has been sent into space. The European Agency has already sent two specially-designed Raspberry Pi PCs to the International Space Station (ISS).

One of the reasons Raspberry Pis are so well suited for working in space is not only are they very cheap, but they are small and light as well, meaning that they can be easily attached to spacecraft without adding additional weight.

Via BBC

Categories: Tech News

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