Tech News

Best cloud orchestration software of 2019

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:11

If your company uses cloud-based services to manage backups, run apps and so on, each bit of data and every system resource is precious. It's easy to feel overcome by the sheer amount of information generated. This is why all sensible SMB owners employ cloud orchestration tools. These are designed to consolidate information on your various public or hybrid clouds such as the cost of running certain apps and services.

In this guide, you'll discover some of the very best cloud orchestration tools on the market today. All of these providers use an API and/or dashboard to monitor your services and provide useful information. Many also allow you to automate policies and raise alerts if there are any issues.

  • 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.

Image credit: BMC

BMC Software produces software and services that assist businesses in moving to digital operations. These include IT service management, data center automation, performance management and cloud computing management.

The software has a self-service portal where users can request configurable services across infrastructure, platforms and applications. The solution has tools for automated provisioning, governance and management of cloud services.

Users can apply compliance checks and then automate remediation to stay secure.

The service health management features allows users to monitor service health through an intuitive dashboard. The platform is fully scalable.

BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management allows users to automatically apply policies for regulatory and security compliance requirements.

Interested clients need to contact BMC directly for pricing.

Some users have complained of difficulties with integrating the platform fully with public cloud services.

Image credit: Juniper

AppFormix is part of Juniper Networks, founded in 1996.

The solution is a cloud operations management and orchestration platform which provides end-to-end visibility for your multi-cloud environment. 

The solution can convert raw data into an easy to read format through its monitoring and intent-based analytics. 

Users can monitor real-time performance for data center and campus networking devices using OpenConfig and the Junos Telemetry Interface. It supports a mix of bare metal systems in private cloud, virtual machines in OpenStack and containers in “Kubernetes” environments.

AppFormix can also track and analyze programs which are operating in public clouds such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

The platforms user interface is easy to navigate. It includes automated in-service installation and operation alarms. It can connect into existing Nagios plug-ins.

AppFormix allows users to set business outcomes. The platform can identify issues and automatically implement corrective actions based upon them.

Potential subscribers need to contact Juniper Networks for pricing.

Image credit: IBM

IBM Cloud Orchestrator serves the cloud management needs of enterprises. It was launched in 2014.

The platform is designed to automate the provisioning of cloud services using policy-based tools. Users can configure, provision, deploy, integrate and add service management. Users can utilize the interface to manage, monitor, backup and secure applications.

Users can use the tool to view how resources are being utilized and the costs associated with using them.

The self-service portal can be extended through API’s and augmenting tools. Users can deploy in multi-node applications. The platform offers insights on virtual and physical infrastructure along with chargeback costs so as to ensure you do not go over budget.

IBM Orchestrator is available in two custom priced packages. They both offer a customizable self-service portal, advanced orchestration platform, IT processes automation, support for VMware and multi-cloud management. Users need to contact IBM directly for more information.

Some reviewers have noted reporting issues but these are by far the exception.

Image credit: Cloudyn

Microsoft Azure Cost Management is licensed by Cloudyn, a subsidiary of Microsoft.

It is a cloud spend monitoring platform. It allows users to monitor, allocate and optimize cloud costs. Users can collate cloud usage and billing data through API’s from Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Users gain insights in relation to cloud resource consumption and costs across different cloud services from one location.

Azure Cost Management ensures that users do not go beyond their budget by monitoring expenditure in real-time. It also offers users access to a forecasting feature which reads historical data to improve accuracy.

Users can allocate costs to teams and projects. Azure Cost Management also allows users to create budget thresholds which raise an alarm when a project is at risk of going over budget.

Azure Cost Management is free to existing customers and partners.

Image credit: Morpheus

Morpheus is a unified multi-cloud orchestration platform aimed at connecting developers to self-service infrastructure. It was founded in 2010. Clients listed are HSBC, Arris and McDonalds amongst others.

The platform offers users analytic features which provide insight into cloud spending. This allows users to compare costs as they use various cloud infrastructures and resources.

Users can build service catalogs, complex multi-cloud structures and access stack visualization tools. Users can also govern and control access to cloud-resources using multi-tenant policies. Users can connect service catalogs to ServiceNow, create policies for workflows and keep track of configurations management activities.

Morpheus enables teams to set policies for handling service requests, scheduled automated clean-up activities and pause services during off hours.

The platform integrates with developments tools which manage source code, executing, deploying code and monitoring app performance. Users can access repositories from GitHub and Git. They can also deploy containerized applications using tools such as Kubernetes.

Users can request a demo and pricing information directly from Morpheus.

Online commentators have complained that customer service is not always up to scratch.

Image credit: Pixabay

Other cloud orchestration options to consider

Advances in cloud technology have led to a profusion of cloud service providers. Sometimes the biggest difficulty is finding one that fits, especially if you need to manage legacy IT infrastructure while migrating services to the cloud, or if your company is having to manage multiple clouds and hybrids. Here we are highlighting some additional companies worth looking at if you need help orchestrating your cloud IT needs.

Embotics is a leader in Gartner's magic quadrant for cloud management platforms, providing services to companies such as NASA, and data center outfit Flexential. Its main offering is vCommander, which offers both easy deployment as well as extensibility to fit an enterprise's unique needs. 

Cloudbolt offers enterprise hybrid cloud platforms which aim to make self-service and scalability easy. It's especially geared towards orchestrating diverse IT infrastructures, particularly where legacy services need to be integrated into existing and future-planned platforms, not least using multi-cloud and hypervisor management.

RightScale offers a simplified cloud platform to manage existing or new workloads across any cloud or server. It boasts a very wide range of support integrations, including AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, VMware, and OpenStack, to name just a few. Even better, not only can RightScale offer managed and professional services, but also worldwide implementation.

VMware's vRealize Suite is another hybrid cloud management platform for orchestrating multiple clouds, not least major cloud systems such as AWS, Azure, and Google. It provides native integrations across the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) elements, for computing, networking, storage, and management. 

OpenStack isn't so much a cloud management provider as an open source software solution for creating public and private clouds. This means that rather than rely on a third-party to try and simplify the process for you, you can work with the code directly to customize a solution that works for your specific needs. Naturally, bear in mind that you will need the relevant expertise to achieve this.

Categories: Tech News

Windows 10 May 2019 Update hits worrying stumbling block with USB drives

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:49

Those trying to upgrade to the latest update for Windows 10 are finding their PC is being blocked from making the move if they have an external USB device or an SD card plugged into their machine.

Why? It seems that the May 2019 Update – which is still in the final stages of testing, ahead of an expected release in May, naturally enough (probably later in the month) – is suffering from a problem whereby all drives can be inappropriately reassigned different letters if USB devices or SD cards are connected to the PC.

As you’re probably aware, Windows gives every drive attached to a computer a letter, whether that’s an internal hard drive or SSD, optical drives, or indeed external drives such as USB sticks.

And when upgrading to the May 2019 Update, it’s possible that these drive letters can be changed, with potentially nasty side-effects.

Microsoft explains: “Example: An upgrade to the May 2019 Update is tried on a computer that has the October 2018 Update installed and also has a thumb drive inserted into a USB port.

“Before the upgrade, the device would have been mounted in the system as drive G based on the existing drive configuration. However, after the upgrade, the device is reassigned a different drive letter. For example, the drive is reassigned as drive H.”

Internal hemorrhaging

The real sticking point is that this reassignment of drive letters isn’t limited to removable hardware such as USB devices, but internal hard drives can also be affected. In that case, you can imagine the potential damage when the PC is looking for files on a certain drive which are no longer there because it has been reassigned a different letter – or indeed if your system drive succumbs to this fate, heaven forbid.

So you can understand why Microsoft has blocked upgrades in the case of computers with such USB devices attached. Those who wish to upgrade their preview version of Windows 10 can currently get around the block simply by unplugging any external USB devices or SD cards, and restarting their machine, whereupon the May 2019 Update should become available.

Presumably, the issue whereby internal drives are reassigned a different drive letter can’t occur if there are no external devices plugged in.

Of course, this problem should most definitely be solved (we would hope) by the time the May 2019 Update is released to the general computing public. The last thing Microsoft needs is another disastrous issue like the file deletion problem which hit the infamously bug-plagued October 2018 Update, particularly as Microsoft has vowed to get things right this time around.

Microsoft observed: “This issue will be resolved in a future servicing update for Windows 10. For Windows Insiders [preview build testers], this issue is resolved in build 18877 [which is still to be released] and later builds.”

Via The Register

Categories: Tech News

Google Pixel 3 Lite release date, price, news and leaks

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:42

Update: Yet another Google Pixel 3a leak has shown up online, giving us another glimpse at what the handset may look like when it does launch.

The Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are the heavily rumored, mid-range variants of the search gaint's Pixel line of smartphones.

Set to come in at a more affordable price point, but still will a focus on the great photography skills of their pricier, more powerful siblings, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL launch could be just weeks away.

There are plenty of Google Pixel 3a leaks floating around the web, with specs and images of the device (along with the Pixel 3a XL) giving us a pretty good idea of what we may be able to expect when they do finally arrive.

Originally rumored as the Google Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite, the handsets would break the trend of exclusively high-end devices bearing the famous brand's name, with the latest installments to date being the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL.

We've collected all the latest news, leaks and rumors here and will add to this article whenever new information emerges. So read on for all the information so far on the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, when you might see them, and what they might cost.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Mid-range variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
  • When is it out? Launch could be in May at Google I/O
  • What will it cost? Maybe $400-$500 (roughly £315-£390, AU$550-AU$690)
Google Pixel 3a release date and price

Hottest leaks:

  • Pixel 3a launch date: rumored for May 7
  • Pixel 3a price: could be $400-$500 (around £315-£390, AU$550-AU$690)

The only real release date rumor comes from reliable leaker Roland Quandt, who, back in June 2018, said that a mid-range Pixel device was scheduled for launch during the first half of 2019.

However, that does co-inside nicely with Google's I/O conference which runs from May 7 - May 9, and a much more recent leak from Evan Blass shows an image of the handset with May 7 on screen - a potential nod to the Google Pixel 3a launch date.

It's a date that makes sense for another reason too, as Google is unlikely to launch it too late in 2019 or it could clash with the Pixel 4 range. Though of course it's always possible that it could land alongside those phones as the Pixel 4a.

As for what the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL might cost, the earliest rumor there puts the smaller variant at between $400-$500 (roughly £315-£390, AU$550-AU$690). We've since heard another rumor that puts it at €450 (roughly $500 / £385 / AU$715), so the two rumors more or less line up.

That adds up, especially as it’s obviously going to undercut the Pixel 3, which starts at $799 (£739, AU$1,199).

The Pixel 3a price should be a fair bit less than the Pixel 3 (pictured). Image Credit: TechRadar

However, there’s an outside chance that you won’t be able to buy it, as an early report suggested that the phone was aimed primarily at emerging markets like India.

But that report is old and didn’t specifically say that the phone wouldn’t get a global launch. With such a big name attached to it we’d think it would probably be widely available.

Google Pixel 3a design and display

Hottest leaks:

  • A 5.56-inch 1080 x 2160 screen
  • Similar design to the Pixel 3
  • A plastic build

There's been a high volume of Google Pixel 3a leaks, and a video apparently showing the handset from various angles gave us a good look, before it was removed from YouTube.

The video claimed that the Pixel 3a is made of plastic and you can see that it has a 3.5mm headphone port and that the speaker is on the bottom edge rather than the front.

The video also says that it has a 5.56-inch, 1080 x 2160 screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of roughly 434 pixels per inch.

While there video may no longer be viewable, a number of leaked images supposedly showing the Pixel 3a have also emerged over recent months, such as those in the gallery below, which show it alongside various other handsets.

You can see from these that it’s smaller than the Pixel 3 XL, bigger than the iPhone XS and around the same size as the iPhone XR. You’ll also note that while there’s no notch there is a sizeable bezel both above and below the screen.

It's a design that leaves the Pixel 3a looking a lot like the standard Pixel 3 from the front, while from the back it has a two-tone color scheme like the rest of the Pixel 3 range, in this case in two shades of white (though another source has said to also expect black and iris/purple shades). It also has a rear fingerprint scanner.

Another leaked image shows the Google Pixel 3a next to the standard Google Pixel 3. They look similar, though the Pixel 3a is possibly slightly bigger.

That’s no surprise, as according to an earlier leak which included both images (shown below) and specs, the Pixel 3a has a 5.56-inch screen, which is slightly bigger than the 5.5-inch screen of the Pixel 3.

Though the Google Pixel 3a apparently uses LCD rather than OLED. It’s also said to have a 1080 x 2280 resolution, a 444ppi pixel density (much the same as the Pixel 3) and a plastic rather than glass back. 

It’s seemingly codenamed Sargo and, as you can see in the images below, appears to have a 3.5mm headphone port.

While we’d take these leaks with a pinch of salt, the photos all look convincing and all match up with one another, as does the video, so there’s a good chance this really is the Pixel 3a that we’re looking at.

They also line up with the most recent Google Pixel 3a image leak, from reliable Twitter leaker Evan Blass who posted the following shot.

Google Pixel 3a camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • The same 12.2MP rear camera as the Pixel 3
  • A single-lens 8MP front-facing camera
  • A 2,915mAh battery

From the images and video above, you can see that the Google Pixel 3a has just one camera lens on the back and one on the front. That’s different from the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, which both have two front-facing cameras.

However, the Pixel 3a is rumored to pack the same great 12.2MP lens on the rear as the rest of the range. We’ve also seen camera samples supposedly taken using the phone, which you can see below.

The same source as those samples says that the phone has an 8MP front-facing camera. This is likely the same lens as one of the selfie cameras on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The source doesn’t say which lens the Pixel 3a is lacking, but we’d expect it will be the wide-angle selfie lens that’s absent.

However, there’s more at play in photo quality and camera modes than just the lens. The Google Pixel 3a is sure to have a less powerful chipset than the rest of the range and therefore also a lower-end image signal processor (ISP).

So don’t be surprised if its camera isn’t ultimately as capable as the snapper on the Pixel 3. That said, the same source had previously said that the camera on the Pixel 3a would be just as good as on the rest of the Pixel range. Though it’s not clear whether they’re just talking about the lens there or about the whole experience.

As for the battery, that’s supposedly 2,915mAh, which would make it exactly the same size as the one in the standard Google Pixel 3. We’ve heard that size from two sources now, with one adding that the longevity of the phone is also similar to the Pixel 3.

Google Pixel 3a OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A Snapdragon 670 chipset
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB of storage

The earliest Pixel 3a leaks pointed to a Snapdragon 710 chipset, an assertion backed up by a possible Geekbench score for a larger XL model of the Pixel 3a, though a recent rumor said it would get a slightly lower-end Snapdragon 670. These are both mid-range chipsets though.

We’ve also heard rumors of 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and – unsurprisingly given this is a Google device – no microSD card slot. Having said that, a newer rumor suggests there will be 64GB of storage, and that there probably won't be a 32GB model.

In any case, being a Pixel handset this is sure to run pure Android 9 Pie (assuming Android 10 isn’t out by the time this launches) and get day one updates to new versions of the operating system.

Categories: Tech News

Most targeted platform: Microsoft Office facing cyber threats

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:30

Among the many operating systems (OS), Microsoft office is the leading platform being targeted by cybercriminals when carrying out attacks. The number of cyber attacks has increased, and Kaspersky Lab researchers stated it in the annual conference, Security Analyst Summit held in Singapore.

Among the few, Alexander Liskin, Boris Larin and Vlad Stolyarov projected that the threat has increased in the past two years and have highly pressured users to keep their software up-to-date and to avoid downloading and opening files from untrusted sources to reduce the risk of virus and malware infections. 

The report claims more than 70% of the entire attacks Kaspersky Lab caught are targeting “Microsoft office,” amongst which only 14% take advantage of browser issues. Not long ago, it was the opposite as Web-based loopholes accounted for 45% of the total attacks while Microsoft had a smaller share of 16%.

However, Researchers state that hacking browser has been a difficult task and browser creators are putting extra effort into different security options to keep Microsoft safe. Researcher Liskin further said, there are more reasons why the cybercriminals opt to attack Microsoft as it offers and supports different kind of file formats, that is rooted in the “Windows” operating system.

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities

When the giant Microsoft introduced ‘Office,’ the design was not based on the security aspect; instead on the feasibility. The researchers also pointed out that the worst exploited issues present in the past two years were not included in the MS Office but in the smaller components of it. 

Two major vulnerabilities included: 

  • CVE-2017-11882 
  • CVE-2018-0802

These two bugs are the worst of their kind found in the Equation Editor. Cybercriminals use them because these are found in majority of the ‘Microsoft Word’ released in the past decade. Also, exploiting these vulnerabilities does not require extensive knowledge and skill as the Equation Editor binary lacks current protective methods. 

Image Credit: Flickr

Utilizing Internet Explorer to penetrate Office

In light of the issue occurred, there is another surprising vulnerability which is (CVE-2018-8174). This particular vulnerability was present in the Internet Explorer but was found in the “Microsoft Office files” that made it very unusual. Larin said, the shady file was sent as an obfuscated RTF document, and the first ever hack that used Internet Explorer to hack Microsoft Office. 

The process of this serious infection goes through three steps:

First, the victim of the process opens a malicious file. Right after opening the file, the victim enters the second stage as the file is downloaded that contains the HTML page infected with VBScript code. The third stage is the “use after free UAF” vulnerability that uses shellcode. 

UAF bugs is a common memory corruptor that has previously been successful in exploiting browsers and injecting malware into it. This process works by ‘referencing memory’ after it has been opened (freed) that ultimately causes the browser software to crash which gives room to the hacker to inject the code. This is a cruel way to harvest and takes control of the browser which makes it dysfunction while running.

There is a common dilemma which users fail to understand. Every search that we make on the browser is recorded in the form of a cache or cookie. These cookies are at the back end of the browser which can be seen and used against the user to target ads. Users are advised to avoid the above habits and to consult online privacy and security settings to make sure they know what they are getting into. 

This can also help in preventing fraudulent issues in the Microsoft Office. 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Cybercriminals taking advantage of Microsoft vulnerabilities

Larin, Liskin, and Stolyaroz emphasize on the cases they have studied because it's alarming how the cybercriminals operate and hack Microsoft Office. A majority of the incidents start with one of Microsoft Office Suite “zero-day.”  As soon as the hack goes public, the exploit later appears on the Dark Web as well. 

With the CVE-2017-11882 code, the process becomes faster as it was the first Office Equation Editor that was found by the Kaspersky Lab researchers. Unless Microsoft comes with a solid fix, the Microsoft Office vulnerabilities will become persistent and common in the future as more hackers will target the platform. 

As a solution, it is always advised to continually keep a check on the software updates and keep automatic updates switched on. The update will allow fixing the loopholes present in the browser in the form of bugs and malware. 

Further, keep a close eye on suspicious files received through email as opening those email or email attachments will inject a malicious virus in your browser. Just as Gmail hosts a feature where it automatically notifies suspicious emails, users need to be sure before opening a link if that source is trustable or not. 

The future of the Microsoft Office remains uncertain as the issues discovered by researchers pose a significant threat to files and services connected and linked to “Office.”

Terry Higgins, Marketing Director at AllBestVPN

Categories: Tech News

Ford's self-braking shopping cart will stop your little ones ramming strangers' shins

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:29

Ford has created a shopping cart with automatic braking to stop kids ramming it into shelves, signs, and other customers.

You were probably guilty of doing it yourself – getting a good run-up, then leaning on the handle of the cart and coasting along like a supermarket superhero. Great fun, until you collide with an elderly shopper or a stack of cereal boxes you were too short to see.

The futuristic looking self-braking cart is fitted with sensors to detect obstacles, and automatically slows down to avoid hitting shoppers and shelves.

Safer shopping

The cart is the latest in a series of concept designs that pluck Ford's driving aids from its cars and put them to use elsewhere. Past projects have included the lane-keeping bed, which detects when your partner has strayed onto your side and shifts them back, and the noise-canceling kennel, which blocks out loud noises like fireworks that could alarm your pet pooch.

In this case, the design is inspired by Ford's Pre-Collison Assist technology, which is available in most models and uses a forward-facing camera and radar to detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in the road. When a person is detected, the system warns the driver and applies the brakes automatically if they don't respond in time.

The cart is only a concept for now, so it won't be appearing in stores just yet, but it's interesting to see other ways in-car tech could be used to solve problems away from the streets.

Categories: Tech News

BioWare has delayed Anthem's Cataclysm event

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:03

BioWare may have just released the latest big patch for Anthem, adding a new Stronghold and implementing some much-needed quality-of-life improvements, but every rose has its thorn. 

In a Reddit post titled 'Update on Anthem from the Development Team', BioWare addressed what the team has learnt from Anthem's rocky launch and announced the delay of some upcoming features - including the Cataclysm event.

"We have learned a lot since the game went live," BioWare wrote in the post. "We have heard a lot of feedback from all of you, and we have been working diligently to improve as many things as we can in the short term.

"We’ve fixed a lot of bugs and made changes which we believe begin to point us in the right direction for the future. That being said, we know there is a long way to go before Anthem becomes the game we all want it to be."

However, working on bug squashing and general improvements has meant that BioWare isn't on track to hit its goals for its Act 1 Calendar. 

"We have been prioritizing things like bug fixes, stability and game flow over the new features of Act 1," BioWare wrote. 

"We set aside time for this work, but the reality is there are more things to fix and improve than we planned for. While this is the best thing to do for the game, it means some items from the calendar will be delayed."

So what is being delayed?


According to BioWare, the following features are being delayed: Mastery System, Guilds, Legendary Missions – Phase II, Weekly Stronghold Challenge, Leaderboards, some Freeplay Events, and Cataclysm. The exact details of some of these new elements remains to be revealed, too, and it now seems we'll have to wait a little longer to see exactly what they entail.

BioWare hasn't revealed when we will be seeing these delayed features, instead saying it's talked about things "too early".

"The only thing we can say is this – We Believe in Anthem," BioWare wrote. 

"We believe the game will be great, but we recognize getting there will take a lot of hard work. We want to do that work and we want you all to join us on the journey to get there."

Categories: Tech News

Fan of the Alien movies? Then you really need an Audible audiobook subscription

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:03

If you're a fan of the Alien film franchise, you've probably been lamenting its demise ever since James Cameron's Aliens hit cinemas way back in 1986. The films since that classic sequel have...not been good. To put it mildly.

Things could have been oh so different though – acclaimed sci-fi author William Gibson wrote a script for the divisive Alien 3 that was never produced, but has lived on in infamy as having actually been rather good. That version of Alien 3 may finally be getting the recognition it deserves, and it's all down to audiobook subscription service Audible.

The Amazon-owned service is, according to Bloody Disgusting, working on an audiobook version of William Gibson's script as part of the franchise's 40th anniversary celebrations.

Fan service done right

It's not looking like a simple cash-grab either, with the production set to include the voice work of Michael Biehn. Fans of the series will recognise him as Corporal Hicks, a fan-favorite character who is cruelly...sidelined when the silverscreen version of Alien 3 kicks off.

William Gibson's version of the story gives Hicks a much larger role, with it focusing on the survivors of Aliens, including Ellen Ripley, holed up in something like a space commune, where they learn about the threat of a corporation looking to make an army of the evil Xenomorph creatures.

Audible is lining up the Alien 3 audio play for a May 30 release, and can be pre-ordered now. If you can't wait for that, Gibson's script has also recently been turned into a comic book series – you'll have to do Michael Biehn's cool-as-ice voice in your own head though.

Categories: Tech News

Xiaomi launches Redmi 7 and Redmi Y3 in India

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 06:45

Xiaomi has announced entry-level Redmi 7 alongside the selfie-centric Redmi Y3 in India. While there's little difference between both the phones, they cater to a wide range of audience. Redmi 7 is for the everyday user who's a bit on the budget whereas the Redmi Y3 aims to provide the best selfie in its segment.

Redmi Y3 specifications, price and availability

Xiaomi claims to have sold more than 7 million units of Redmi Y series in India. The series was unveiled almost two years back and the Y3 builds on it.

Redmi Y3 features a 6.26-inch HD+ IPS panel with a u-shaped waterdrop notch on the front. The screen is topped by a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection. Xiaomi has gone forward with its new gradient design that we have previously seen on its Redmi Note 7 series. The back panel also curves a bit towards the sides and merges into the chassis of the Y3.

It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset with an octa-core CPU and runs on MIUI 10 which is based on Android 9.0 Pie. 

Coming to the camera department, the Redmi Y3 has a 32MP front-facing camera which is double than what the Y2 offered. This makes the sensor almost 22.5% larger than the previous one. Xiaomi has also worked on its artificial intelligence-based optimizations for pictures and the Y3 comes with AI Beautify 4.0. In addition, the selfie camera on the Y3 supports Auto HDR, Full HD video recording supported with EIS, 360-degree face unlock and screen flash. The front also offers an 80-degree field of view, allowing users to capture a wide frame with more people.

On the rear, the Redmi Y3 has dual camera setup which consists of a primary 12MP sensor assisted by a 2MP depth sensor. The back camera is able to detect 33 different scenes and optimizes the picture according to preset functions. It can also record Full HD videos at 60 frames per second and supports EIS. Additionally, the camera app has built-in Google Lens but it is not known whether it will be seeded to more phones.

As for the battery life, the Y3 has a 4,000mAh battery which can easily power the phone through the day and then some. Xiaomi claims that the Redmi Y3 can easily run YouTube for 9.5 hours, Instagram for 10 hours and play Asphalt 8 for upto 9 hours on a single charge. To avoid damage by regular splashes of water, the Y3 has P2i hydrophobic coating and watertight seals along with all its ports.

Xiaomi has announced two variants of the Redmi Y3- 3GB RAM + 32GB storage priced at Rs 9,999 and 4GB + 64GB model at Rs 11,999. The first sale is scheduled for April 30 from 12 noon on Mi India Store, Amazon India and Mi Home.

Redmi 7 specifications, price and availability

Image Credit: Xiaomi India

The Redmi 7 is an entry-level smartphone by Xiaomi which has almost the same hardware as the Redmi Y3 except for the selfie camera. It has an 8MP selfie camera and flaunts a new gradient design, taking cues from the Note 7 series.

As for the price and availability, the Redmi 7 will be available in two variants- 2GB RAM + 32GB storage priced at Rs 7,999 and a model with 3GB RAM priced at Rs 8,999.

Redmi 7 goes on sale for the first time on April 29 at 12 noon across Mi India Store, Mi Home and Amazon India.

During the announcement, Xiaomi also revealed that it has successfully inaugurated 1,000 Mi Stores across 19 states and 300+ cities in India. To further increase their offline sales, Xiaomi announced Mi Studio stores in Bengaluru and Mumbai that essentially provide a mini Mi Home experience to customers. Xiaomi aims to open over 10,000 offline stores in India by the end of 2019. 

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft Paint hasn’t been canned – will remain a default Windows 10 app

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 06:37

Fans of Microsoft’s age-old Paint application can breathe easy, because it has been confirmed that the program will remain included as part of the default raft of apps in Windows 10 – at least for the time being.

This is according to Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager in the Windows Insider team, who shared the news in a tweet.

The ‘1903’ referred to simply means the next major update for Windows 10 – the May 2019 Update – so Paint will remain a part of the operating system with that upgrade, and presumably for some time into the future (whatever ‘for now’ means).

Change of heart

This was kind of expected, since just a couple of months back (in February 2019), one observant Windows 10 tester noticed that the warning that Paint would “soon be replaced with Paint 3D” disappeared from the preview versions of the operating system. That quickly prompted speculation that Microsoft had changed its mind, which has proved to be the case.

Previous to that, Microsoft had listed Paint as a deprecated app, and the idea was to drop it from the line-up of Windows 10 default apps, encouraging users to adopt Paint 3D instead (but still offering the original Paint as a download from the Microsoft Store).

Those who appreciate the streamlined and straightforward nature of Paint – which has been present in Windows since 1985 – will doubtless be pleased to see official confirmation that it’s still incorporated by default in Windows 10, at least in the immediate future.

The old app doesn’t have the bells and whistles of Paint 3D, of course, but for some, those trimmings just get in the way, and the more lightweight Paint app can be fired up to perform simple jobs in a quicker fashion.

Via PC World

Categories: Tech News

Our contradictory relationship to data privacy

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 06:30

For some time now, governments have been blurring the lines between privacy and national security. In 2013, ex-CIA systems analyst Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA, a US intelligence agency, was collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. 

As Snowden’s leaks continued, it soon transpired that as part of its Prism surveillance programme, the NSA was tapping directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Microsoft and Google to gather intelligence on Americans’ behaviour and interactions. What’s more, Snowden further revealed that the UK’s intelligence organisation, GCHQ, was also using Prism to gather similar information and was able to monitor up to 600 million communication a day.

Since then, the abuse and misuse of communications data are believed to have been instrumental in affecting the outcome of both the 2016 US presidential election and the Vote Leave Brexit campaign, and have been an important contributory factor in establishing stringent data privacy legislation such as GDPR. 

All of this is public knowledge. But despite the extensive column inches these stories have received, most have yet to change our habits, continuing to carry at least one device capable of listening to our conversations, broadcasting our exact locations, and tracking us as we move. And many of us willingly allow them to do so in trade-off for the convenience and benefits they offer. So just how concerned are we about the use and abuse of our personal data? 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Signing away our privacy

Earlier this year, we conducted a survey of 4,000 consumers across the globe to measure their confidence in their own privacy and security practices, as well as those of businesses. The report, ’The Blinding Effects of Hubris on Data Privacy’, found that 87 percent of people don’t feel confident sharing their personal data online. Social media platforms are especially distrusted, with 95 percent of the survey’s respondents expressing some concern. And it’s numbers like this, as well as the threat of criminal action, that have led tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Apple to increase their security provisions when it comes to protecting user data.

However, despite the majority of people having such obvious reservations around allowing online companies to collect our personal data, particularly when we’re unsure what they intend to do with it, most of us are doing little to actually prevent them from doing so. Indeed, we’re more than happy to agree to sign our privacy away in exchange for the services they offer rather than read all 20 pages of an End-User Licensing Agreement (EULA). This thesis was proven in a 2017 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which found that “whereas people say they care about privacy, they are willing to relinquish private data quite easily when incentivised to do so.”

Complex and contradictory

We clearly have a complex, contradictory relationship with privacy. Whether it’s pizza, as in the case of the MIT study, or something more esoteric, such as the results of a personality quiz, we appear to be all too willing to share our personal information in exchange for some form of incentive. Indeed, it was through such a quiz - ‘This Is Your Digital Life’, a third-party app on Facebook – that Cambridge Analytica was able to illegally harvest the details of over 87 million users, many of whom were simply friends of the individuals that took the quiz and had not actively opted-in to the data sharing disclosure that quiz-takers had. 

Given our apparent willingness to exchange our personal data for even menial rewards, we have to consider whether we’re actually getting a fair deal. Moreover, if platforms such as Facebook and Twitter purport to be free, should we even have to give them anything in order to use them? And if we don’t, are we prepared to endure the increasing number of ads they post in order to make up for the revenue they’re missing out on by not selling our information? Fundamentally though, there is a huge gulf between our intentions and our actions. We therefore need to ask ourselves whether, despite the majority of consumers expressing concern, people actually care that much about their online privacy. 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Challenges and opportunities

Recent events such as the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal, the high-profile data breaches that continue to hit the headlines, and the introduction of GDPR, have resulted in data privacy becoming as much of a boardroom issue as cyber-security. 

But while certainly a challenge for businesses, data privacy can also present a significant opportunity to improve the customer experience they offer. After all, given the level of mistrust expressed by consumers with regard to the way large corporates handle their data, those businesses that can be seen to be protecting their customers’ data, and communicating precisely how it will be used, will be viewed far more favourably, like Apple, for example. And, of course, in the long run, consumers are likely to be significantly more loyal to a company that’s seen to be taking responsibility for their online privacy, rather than one with a more laissez-faire attitude.

Looking to the future

Whatever steps businesses take to manage it, the issue of data privacy is unlikely to become any less complex in the foreseeable future. The quid pro quo nature of our relationship with social media platforms especially, means it’s virtually impossible for a typical user to remain completely anonymous online. The onus is on all businesses, therefore, to be mindful of the way they use and store the data they collect, how this can impact their customers, and the importance to society of ensuring they respect and protect that data. This may become a key differentiator when it comes to the ethos of companies and their corporate social responsibility efforts. 

We can’t know what the future holds. Facebook, for example, has only been around for 15 years and its use of data has already rewritten the rulebooks many time over. 

Generations Z and Alpha are digital natives – exchanging data for incentives is second nature for them. But for how much longer? Might one of these be the generation that puts its money where its mouth is, and takes back control of its privacy? Businesses of all sizes must remain aware of this very real possibility, and start taking steps to ease the process for everyone concerned.

Adam Kujawa, Director of Malwarebytes Labs at Malwarebytes

  • Help protect your privacy online with the best VPN
Categories: Tech News

Huawei Mate X reportedly still on track for June release despite Galaxy Fold issues

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 06:15

The issues surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Fold could well be a cautionary tale for other phone manufacturers looking to launch a foldable phone in 2019, but apparently the Huawei Mate X is still on track.

Huawei's first foldable phone is, according to sources inside the Chinese firm who spoke to MyDrivers, still on track for a June release - although the firm is yet to give us an exact date in the month for the handset's arrival.

The insiders were reportedly responding directly to rumors which suggested Huawei would delay the launch of the Mate X until September in light of the problems of the Galaxy Fold, but they claim this is false.

Folding into first place

If Huawei does put the Mate X on sale in June, it could steal Samsung's thunder by being the first foldable phone you can actually buy and take home - although it also runs the risk of struggling to convince consumers to part with a huge amount of cash (it's €2,299, which is about $2,600, £2,000, AU$4,700) for a form factor that's already run into trouble with the Galaxy Fold.

The Huawei Mate X is arguably a more attractive and appealing device however, with its bendable display folding around the outside of the handset, rather than folding in on itself.

It does raise questions about durability, with nothing to protect the screen when folded away, which means Huawei may have to do a big push on the reliability of its first foldable phone.

We have contacted Huawei for comment on its plans for the Mate X release and we'll update this article once we know more.

Via PocketNow

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Fold’s failings could be hard to fix

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 06:05

You’ve probably seen by now that the Samsung Galaxy Fold seemingly has a durability problem, and enough of one that Samsung has delayed shipping the device to give it time to fix the issues – but a new report suggests the issues might not be easy to fix.

iFixit (a site with plenty of experience of taking apart and repairing phones) has posted some theories as to why the Samsung Galaxy Fold might break so easily, and one of things it notes is that OLED screens – which are the only kind that can be used in a folding phone – are inherently very fragile.

That’s a problem which doesn’t sound easy to solve, and it’s not the only potential issue, with the site adding that OLED can react to “prying, moisture, oxygen or nearly anything”, and that the design of the hinge likely allows dust to interfere with it.

Another, more avoidable, issue is the removal of the protective covering on the screen. It’s a cover that Samsung didn’t intend people to remove, but perhaps the company didn’t make that clear enough. However, iFixit notes that it’s not just the absence of the cover that could cause problems, but the pressure applied in removing it.

iFixit also theorizes that the robots Samsung used to fold the phone thousands of times as part of its testing process would likely do so in the same way every time, whereas humans will be using differing amounts of pressure and hold the Galaxy Fold in different positions.

Finally, there’s seemingly no pre-scored line down the middle of the display, the absence of which potentially helps it look like one big screen rather than two separate panels, but on the flip side this means that pressure from folding could be applied to many areas, rather than a single thin crease, which could cause issues.

A foldable problem

It’s worth noting that all these theories are simply educated guesses. iFixit doesn’t have a Galaxy Fold of its own to test them out on, but it does have the expertise to make these sorts of guesses.

And if it’s right then that could be a problem for Samsung, and for folding phones in general. Many of these issues sound like they may not be fixable without substantially changing the design of the Galaxy Fold, while others may be tricky to fix on any folding phone.

Hopefully Samsung finds a solution, or our folding future could get off to a bumpy, breakable start.

Via AndroidAuthority

Categories: Tech News

Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge steps down

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 06:01

Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge will step down as CEO on June 11 and will be replaced by Lutz Schuler.

New Zealand-born Mockridge had held his position since Liberty Global acquired Virgin Media back in 2013 but now wants to return to Italy with his family. Mockridge had been chief executive of Sky Italia between 2003 and 2008 and his wife is an Italian citizen.

Under his tenure, Virgin Media has embarked on the single largest network expansion in the company’s history and has transformed Virgin Mobile into a ‘thick’ Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that gives it more control over the service.

Virgin Media Mockridge

“I want to thank Tom for his tireless commitment to transforming Virgin Media since we acquired the business in 2013,” said Mike Fries, Liberty Global CEO. “Under Tom’s leadership, operating cash flow increased 35% and Virgin Media is now recognized as the leader in ultrafast broadband, the best entertainment and superior quality of service.

“While he will be spending more time in Italy, I’m sure he will remain close to the action in our industry for a long time to come.”

“It has been a privilege to lead Virgin Media over the past six years,” said Mockridge.

The succession plan appears to have been in place for some time, with Schuler joining Virgin Media as chief operating officer in September 2018. Previously, Schuler had spent eight years running Liberty Global’s cable interests in Germany.

Schuler’s priority will be to oversee the completion of Project Lightning as well as the possible transformation into a wholesale communications provider. It had been reported that Liberty was considering a move into wholesale but there are no concrete plans to do so.

“I am thrilled to be leading Virgin Media,” said Schuler. “After seven months working in our operations, I am more excited than ever about our continued growth potential with the customers and communities we serve in the UK and Ireland.”

“Lutz is an outstanding leader and operator,” added Fries. “During his eight years in Germany, Lutz led a talented team and created significant value. Since joining Virgin Media last year, he has made an immediate impact, uniting the team around a clear strategy for continued, best-in-class growth in the UK and Ireland. Tom, Lutz and I have prepared for this moment for some time now, so Lutz will hit the ground running from day one.”

Categories: Tech News

The iPad could finally get mouse support with iOS 13

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:03

As much as Apple has tried to position its iPad Pro range as a laptop alternative, there are some areas where it really can’t compete, and one is the absence of mouse support – but that could soon change.

According to developer and leaker Steve Troughton-Smith, mouse support is in the works for the iPad as an accessibility feature. The claim came in response to a similar claim from MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci, who on his Connected podcast recently claimed that mouse support was coming.

Viticci talks specifically about using a USB mouse connected to the iPad Pro’s USB-C port, but it’s not clear whether the feature would be limited to iPads with said port (which would be quite restrictive, as only the iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) have such a port).

And if the feature is made available for other iPads, it’s also not clear whether it will be just the iPad Pro range that gets it, or whether the likes of the iPad Air (2019) will as well.

Troughton-Smith, for his part, has tweeted that he doesn’t think Apple would limit support to USB mice, which may suggest the feature also won’t be limited to the latest iPad Pro models.

Of course, the feature itself is just a rumor for now, but with two sources claiming it’s in the works there’s a fair chance it'll happen.

The biggest question in that case is when. It’s likely to arrive with a major iOS update, so we may see it land with iOS 13, which is expected to be announced at WWDC 2019 on June 3 – though the final public launch probably won’t be until September.

However, neither of these sources have given a time frame for the arrival of mouse support, so we might be waiting longer.

Via: BGR

Categories: Tech News

Tesla boosts Model X and Model Y with improved range and faster charging

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:02

New versions of the Tesla Model S and X are entering production, with upgrades including improved range and faster charging.

The updated Model S Long Range can travel 370 miles on a single charge, while the new Model X Long Range can keep going for 325 miles using the same 100kWh battery pack.

As the company explained in a blog post, this performance boost is the result of new drivetrains that were initially designed for the Tesla Model 3.

"All Model S and X vehicles now benefit from Tesla’s latest generation of drive unit technology, which combines an optimized permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor, silicon carbide power electronics, and improved lubrication, cooling, bearings, and gear designs to achieve greater than 93% efficiency," it said.

The updated cars will charge faster too, achieving 145kw on V2 Superchargers, and 200kW on the new V3 Superchargers. Tesla claims this will let drivers juice up 50% faster.

Feeling tempted?

Tesla will also be introducing Standard Range versions of the S and X, which won't produce quite the same mileage after a charge, but will carry more manageable price tags.

If you've already bought a Model X or Model Y, you might feel a little frustrated to be missing out. To reward your loyalty, the company is offering an incentive to upgrade to the new Performance version of either car by throwing in the Ludicrous Mode upgrade for free. This option usually costs an extra $20,000 (about £15,000, AU$28,000), and enables the Model S to go from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds, and the Model X in just 2.4 seconds.

It's another example of what Tesla CEO Elon Musk meant when he described the company's cars as "an investment", though you'll only benefit if you have rather a lot of spare change burning a hole in your pocket.

Categories: Tech News

Mobile Industry Awards 2019: Shortlists revealed

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:00

With just weeks until the 2019 Mobile Industry Awards, we are delighted to announce the shortlists for all this year’s awards.

From Phone of the Year and Hottest New Phone for 2019 to Best High Street Retailer and Best MVNO, the Mobile Industry Awards look to recognise the top performers across the whole UK space.

Now celebrating its 17th year, the Mobile Industry Awards (#MIA2019) represents the highest standard of excellence in the UK mobile industry - from the boardroom to the grassroots.

This year’s winners will be collecting their trophy on the 6th June 2019 at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel - so who is up for this year's awards?

Channel & B2B

Innovation Award

Airtime Rewards

Crystalusion

Invisible Shield

IPCortex

Samsung

Sky Mobile

Tech as a Service

We Fix


Managed Service Provider of the Year

Brightstar

Mobliciti

Uplands


Best Unified Comms Dealer

Aerial Direct

Onecom

Uplands


Business Growth Award

Aerial Direct

Amazon

Argos

Colldorado

IP Exchange

SaltDNA


CSR Initiative of the Year

Genuine Solutions 

Onecom

The One Point

DISTRIBUTION 


Best Enterprise Service & Solution

Tech Data

Jerasoft

Metricell

SaltDNA

Statto Opencell


Recycling and recommerce award           

Brightstar

Exertis

Genuine Solutions

Redeem


Technology incubator of the year           

Brightstar

SaltDNA

Tech Data


Mobile distributor of the year   

Brightstar

Daisy Distribution

Exertis

Genuine Solutions

Tech Data

Westcoast

Retail

Best High Street Retailer

Carphone Warehouse

EE

O2

Tesco Mobile

Three

Vodafone


Best Online Retailer

Amazon UK

Mobiles.co.uk

O2.co.uk

Sky Mobile


Best Sim Free Retailer

Amazon UK

Argos

Envirofone


Best Repair Service

iSmash

O2

WeFix


Best Recycling Service

GSUK Recovery & Reuse Experts

musicMagpie

O2 Recycle

Network

Best MVNO

Sky Mobile

SMARTY

Superdrug Mobile

Tesco Mobile

Virgin Mobile


Best MVNO Partner

BT Wholesale

Lifecycle Software Ltd

Three Wholesale


Best Business Network

EE

O2

Vodafone


Best Consumer Network

EE

O2

Tesco Mobile

Vodafone


5G network pioneer      

EE

Samsung

Three

Technology

Best Manufacturer Field Marketing Team

Alcatel

Huawei

Samsung


Best Value Phone (< £200)

Honor 10 Lite

Honor 8X

Huawei P Smart 2018

Moto G6

Samsung Galaxy J6

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite


Best Mid Range Phone (< £450)

Honor View 20

Huawei P20

iPhone 7

Nokia 8.1

Oneplus 6T

Samsung Galaxy S9


Best Ruggedised Phone 

AGM X3

Blackview BV9500 Pro

Cat S61

Doogee S90

Land Rover Explore 

Zebra TC75x


Best Mobile Accessory

Apple Airpods

Belkin Qi Wireless Charger

InvisibleShield Glass+ Visionguard

Mophie Powerstation

Samsung Buds

Tech21 impact shield


Hottest New Phone for 2019

Apple iPhone Max S

Honor View20

Huawei Mate X

Huawei P30 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G


Accessory Manufacturer of the Year

Anker

Belkin

Incipio

JBL

Tech21

Zagg


Smartphone Manufacturer of the Year

Apple

Honor

Huawei

Motorola

Samsung

Sony


One To Watch

Doro AB

HMD Global

Honor

Oppo

TCL

Xiaomi


Phone of the Year

Apple XS Max

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung S9 Plus

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

For all awards updates, visit the Mobile Industry Awards 2019 site - we look forward to seeing you on the June 6th 2019! 

If you have any questions or queries about how to attend or enter, get in touch at mark.fermor@futurenet.com

Categories: Tech News

Oscars won't make it harder for Netflix to win an award

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:00

The board of directors at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which distributes the film industry's coveted Oscar awards, has decided not to extend the minimum period eligible films need to be screened in a theater.

The Academy's board of directors ruled in favor of its existing guidelines, which require a seven-day run in a Los Angeles theatre to qualify for an Oscar nomination.

The issue was put to a vote over concerns that streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime were eating at the viewership numbers of traditional cinemas, with some calling for the minimum run period to be extended. 

Even veteran director Steven Spielberg emerged to criticize Netflix's Oscar ambitions, saying that "TV movies" shouldn't be considered in the same category as traditional cinema experiences.

The Netflix-produced Roma managed to scoop three awards for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Cinematography at the Oscars last year, despite being released simultaneously through Netflix's own streaming platform and seen in larger numbers in people's homes.

Business as usual

Nothing seems to have changed for now, but we're only going to see more films from streaming services winning awards down the line, and it makes sense that quality titles are rewarded, even if there's disagreement over who should qualify for what.

The seven-day requirement exists to ensure that any nominated titles have had a theatrical release, but an extension could also limit the exposure received by smaller budget or foreign-language titles, which don't always see a lengthy run in US theaters.

In a statement, Academy president John Bailey stated that “We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions."

Via Reuters

Categories: Tech News

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been a massive, massive, massive hit

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:59

Take a guess what the best selling game of the year so far is? No, it's not the big budget shooters Anthem or The Division 2. It's not even the critically acclaimed revamp hit that is Resident Evil 2.

Nope. It's the charming, colorful Kingdom Hearts 3.

Square Enix's Disney-meets-Final Fantasy role playing sequel is the US's top seller for 2019, not only outselling regular chart fixture Red Dead Redemption 2, but even its much-loved original game in the series. 

While Kingdom Hearts 3's overall tally will be hard to precisely track due to platform holders keeping digital sales a closely guarded secret, it managed to ship five million copies in its first week alone.

A worldwide hit

It's been equally successful around the globe. In Japan it's managed to hit 800,000 units sold, making it the best selling game of the year in the country, with it also topping the European charts.

In our four star Kingdom Hearts 3 review, we called the game "a charming and action-packed adventure, marrying the fantastical nature of Final Fantasy with the magical familiarity of Disney in worlds that are almost indistinguishable from the films they depict."

However, we also felt that "the convoluted story and slow-burning intro could be enough to deter new players from giving the series a chance."

The sales milestone accompanies the news that Kingdom Hearts 3 is also getting a new tough-as-nails Critical Mode DLC update, rolling out now. 

Will the game retain its lofty position? It's set to be a tough year – we're still waiting on the release of a new FIFA 20 game, Pokemon Sword and Shield and a big-budget Star Wars game in the shape of Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. But it's off to a flying start.

Categories: Tech News

Google Pixel 3a leak shows us the cut-price handset once again

Latest Tech News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:46

The Google Pixel 3a looks almost certain to launch in May – probably at Google IO 2019 – and yet another leak regarding the affordable Pixel 3 variant has added more fuel to the rumor fire.

The latest Pixel 3a leak comes to us via reliable phone tipster Evan Blass, who posted an official-looking press shot of a handset he says is the Google Pixel 3a.

It matches up with previously leaked images of the handset, which bears a clear resemblance to the standard Pixel 3, launched back in October 2018.

Pixel 3a release date reveal?

This latest Google Pixel 3a leak may also give us a hint of the launch date for the handset, with May 7 shown on the phone's screen – that's the first day of Google's IO conference.

Other Pixel 3a rumors suggest the handset will have a 5.56-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 670 chipset, 4GB of RAM and a 12MP rear camera.

Whatever the Google Pixel 3a turns out to offer, we're likely less than two weeks away from its official unveiling, so we could know the exact details very soon.

Categories: Tech News

The UK will let Huawei build selected parts of its 5G infrastructure

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 23:37

British Prime Minister Theresa May has today made the surprise announcement that her government will give Chinese telecommunications provider Huawei the go-ahead to help build 5G infrastructure in the UK.

The decision comes despite warnings from both the American and Australian governments about the potential threat posed by deploying Huawei equipment. Britain's western allies have both voiced fears that the Chinese manufacturer has close ties to the Chinese government, and that its telecommunications  could, therefore, be used as a vehicle for state-sponsored espionage.

With most developed nations currently racing to set up 5G cellular networks, Huawei is one of just a few providers of the technology required for the next generation of mobile connectivity.

The American and Australian governments have both banned Huawei from providing components to build 5G networks in their countries, with a former Australian Prime Minister lamenting that the Five Eyes nations – that is, the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – have not developed the capability to roll out 5G networks 'in house'.

Despite recent reports suggesting that the potential security risks posed by Chinese-made equipment can be mitigated, the bans in the US and Australia remain in place  and both countries continue to push allies to likewise ban Huawei from building their own 5G networks. 

You’ve been warned

While today's announcement could potentially strain the UK’s relationship with the US and Australia, Britain’s National Security Council has only agreed to allow Huawei access to ‘non core’ parts of the country's 5G infrastructure, according to The Telegraph. And although it isn’t a blanket ban, the decision is not likely to please either the Chinese government or Huawei.

A recent study claimed that if the UK completely banned Huawei from building the country’s 5G mobile network, it could cost the British economy as much as £6.8 billion. Another report, which was commissioned by industry body Mobile UK, has said the exclusion of Huawei would delay the widespread availability of 5G in the UK by 18-24 months.

However, the ban on Huawei equipment hasn’t stopped telcos from the US and Australia from rolling out 5G networks locally. AT&T has switched on 5G in some US cities, while Australia’s biggest telco, Telstra, has done the same Down Under.

Categories: Tech News

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