Tech News

How cyber competitions are launching the next generation of our workforce

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:30

Despite being well-documented and well-researched, the projected cybersecurity skills gap remains a major challenge for the tech industry. Fifty three percent of IT professionals report that their organization is facing a skills shortage, according to a recent study from ESG.

With this in mind, tech executives, academics and government leaders need to do more than create programs to educate current workers on cyber topics. We must also offer work experiences and competitions to attract and engage our future cyber workers. I have been involved in cybersecurity for over 20 years and know that real-world breach simulations are where cyber defense skills are really put to the test.

This happens every year at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, an event during which I have served as a professional Red Team volunteer for the past two years. Presented by Raytheon, more than 230 colleges and universities compete each year to test their cybersecurity prowess, culminating in single-round eliminations at regional contests nationwide, with 10 finalists advancing to the national round. 

It’s an extremely exciting process for the students, and I’ve learned every year from my experience as a member of the Red Team that we need more of these types of events. Here’s why: 

Real-world experience cannot be matched in the classroom

Simply put, learning is not the same as doing. In a competition environment, teams are forced to think on their feet and identify solutions under pressure. This type of problem-solving and quick collaboration is learned through hands-on experience. Within the competition, students must operate and manage a network infrastructure similar to those run by commercial businesses.  Scoring is based on their ability to minimize system infiltration, keep critical services in operation and prevent sensitive data leaks.

By competing against a Red Team, composed of security experts from major tech companies and government organizations, students face off against skilled attackers and the stark reality of racing against the clock.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Working with the C-suite

Perhaps one of the most fascinating parts of the event doesn’t directly involve the attacks and defense at all. In order to move forward to the national competition and to eventually be crowned champion, these students must take on a task that many technical cyber experts struggle with: briefing a mock C-suite executive on the incident and proposed response. These mock interviews challenge the students to speak in layman’s terms while still conveying the appropriate level of urgency. 

An essential skill for all cyber experts, being able to articulate how the attack happened, and what is being done to resolve the issue, is a conversation that not only needs to happen with C-suite executives, but with corporate boards as well. Given the escalating number of attacks on major corporations in the past couple of years, boards of directors are also now getting more involved in cybersecurity measures. And this is a needed change, as a recent Raytheon study found that 68 percent of respondents say their boards are not being briefed on what their organizations are doing to prevent or mitigate the consequences of a cyberattack. Empowering students with this skill before they embark upon their careers ensures that they will have specific, real-world experience that many seasoned security experts lack today. 

Ready for hire

Today’s workforce – regardless of industry – needs to have a cyber-first mindset. Competitions like NCCDC give students an advanced skill set that makes them top candidates for hire at the world’s biggest tech companies and the public sector. It’s not just about limiting downtime, keeping firewalls up or creating tickets – it’s a combination of all those things with the added challenge of time constraints. Working against experienced cyber professionals, these students are gaining experience that goes beyond classroom training and sets them apart from other candidates. In fact, many NCCDC competitors have been hired by companies involved with the competition after watching them demonstrate their skills in practical, real-world circumstances.

As someone who works in the cybersecurity industry today, I see both the sophistication of attacks and the attack surface increasing. This requires not only more cybersecurity workers, but those who can hit the ground running, bringing an advanced skill set on Day 1. Competitions like NCCDC help develop skilled, technical and creative students that can easily translate their experience into value for any organization fortunate enough to hire them.

Julian Zottl, Senior Cyber Architect at Raytheon 

Categories: Tech News

Live stream the snooker World Championship 2019: how to watch from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:05

Well the 2019 World Snooker Championship hasn't disappointed so far, has it!? Big breaks a plenty, the first whitewash in decades and, of course, one of the biggest shock results in the history of the game. With this guide, you can find out how to get a World Championship snooker live stream from absolutely anywhere in the world you are so you don't miss another minute.

Cast your mind back one year ago when veterans Mark Williams and John Higgins battled out an epic 18-16 World Snooker Championship final in the former's favour. Almost 20 years after his first Crucible win, the Welsh Potting Machine lifted the trophy once again. Of the rest of the field, expect the likes of former champs Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and Shaun Murphy to challenge. Or will this finally be the year of Judd Trump or Ding Junhui?

But world number one and snooker legend Ronnie O'Sullivan won't be among them, having suffered a MASSIVE surprise defeat at the hands of 23-year-old amateur James Cahill in the first round. Astonishing stuff - Ronnie was the pre-tournament favourite for this year's crown.

The great news is that getting a snooker live stream of the 2019 World Championship is really easy, as the BBC has the rights to show it in all its glory. And even if you're going to be outside the UK keep reading as we’ll show you how to watch from wherever you are.

How to watch the Snooker World Championships for free in the UK Live stream the Snooker World Championship from outside your country

If you're not in the UK this fortnight and find the BBC coverage geo-blocked where you are, then there are still ways you can watch. Firstly, you can scroll down to see international viewing options.

Or, if you're still struggling, get out of this tricky snooker with a VPN. It's really easy to do - and even easier with our three step guide below.

Live stream the Snooker World Championship on Facebook

If you don’t happen to live in the UK, don’t worry as the 2019 World Championship is again being broadcast in more than 30 countries around the world for free on Facebook. The list of countries included features the US, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Colombia and more from the Americas and Asia.

All you need is a Facebook login to watch the live action, with your choice of which table to watch at any one time. Head on over to the World Snooker Facebook page to watch.

How to watch the Snooker World Championship in Australia

How to watch a snooker live stream in Canada

Categories: Tech News

The digital divide is worse than we thoughtful

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 07:30

On April 12th, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a $20 billion rural broadband fund intended to wire as many as four million homes and small businesses with up to gigabit speeds over the next 10 years to address America’s deeply-rooted digital divide. 

While this fund is a good start, much more needs to be done. Rural Americans continue to have few options for wired broadband internet service; the FCC currently estimates that 19 million rural Americans do not have access to wired broadband. Going one step further, access does not equate to affordability.

The lion’s share of discussion around the digital divide has centered around access, but the prices rural consumers are paying for the services available to them are worth paying attention to as well. 

According to our research, roughly 146 million rural Americans do not have access to a low-priced plan for wired broadband internet. That’s nearly 45 percent of the U.S. population. We define “low-priced” as a broadband plan with a monthly cost less than or equal to the 20th percentile of all plan prices, or around $60 per month. Rural homes are paying more for slower speeds, and it serves to illustrate that the issues surrounding the digital divide are worse than we perceive them to be. 

Mapping the pricing divide

Access to low-cost broadband is essential for millions of families across the U.S., but it would appear that those who need these services the most have the least coverage. States with a median household income of $60,000 or higher have 78 percent low-priced plan coverage on average, compared to only 37 percent for states with less than $60,000 incomes.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at two states, Massachusetts and Montana. In the former, the average household income is $77,385, and the poverty rate sits at 10.5 percent. There are low-priced broadband plans available to virtually 100 percent of the population serviced by a wired provider. In Montana, the average income drops to $53,262, with a 12.7 percent poverty rate. How many of these Montanans have access to a low-price plan? One percent. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Lack of rural competition keeps prices high and access low

Competition drives down prices, and less choice in rural areas appears to be a key driver of the digital divide. Urban areas are highly competitive and densely populated, encouraging investment from major providers. 

Rural areas can be lucky to have a single option for wired broadband, and population density is a key predictor of low-priced plan coverage. In fact, zip codes in the bottom 10 percent of population density pay up to 37 percent more on average for residential wired broadband than those in the top 10 percent nationally. It’s clear that there is more work to be done here. 

The road ahead

So, what can be done to improve the current state of rural broadband internet access? This is a complicated issue, and there isn’t likely to be a single, sweeping change that will bridge the gap on its own. Bringing better access and lower prices to underserved markets will likely only result from a multi-faceted effort on behalf of service providers, state and federal government, and communities around the nation. 

One immediate step toward achieving this goal involves improving the process by which coverage reporting happens. At current, over-reporting of broadband availability is a massive issue that disproportionately affects rural Americans. There are a number of initiatives currently planned to overhaul this process over the coming years, both within the government and in the private sector. 

Communities, for their part, can invest in programs that foster competition, such as municipal broadband operations and “dig once” policies. These allow individuals to help shape the services they have access to locally, and they empower municipalities to take matters into their own hands when it comes to getting their residents online. 

Finally, new subsidies are necessary in order to help bring vital infrastructure improvements to underserved (and unserved) areas. This is where the FCC comes in, and Chairman Pai’s proposed budget cap underscores the larger issue at play here. If we’re to bring robust connectivity to our underserved communities, we’re going to need to start building new bridges, not restricting the ones we already have.

Tyler Cooper, Consumer Policy Expert at BroadbandNow

Categories: Tech News

Three things to know about lane-keeping on the 2019 Ford F-150

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 07:22

A truck is the perfect candidate for cutting edge automotive innovations. Anyone who's used one will know they can be quite a beast to drive, lugging around a massive trailer, lumbering over loose gravel or thick wet mud, or just heading off to work on a windy day. I’m all for the flexibility they provide for people hauling one day and transporting tree stumps the next, but most of us aren't commercial-grade truck drivers. We need all the help we can get.

That’s why I decided to test out how lane-keeping technology helps on the 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercrew. It’s a five-seater with plenty of tech extras, including support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. I’ve tested lane-keeping in nearly all major makes and models, but not in the F-150 with the express purpose of finding out if it can help me drive a truck easier.

To get started, I loaded up the back with bikes and other cargo. I want to create a typical scenario where the truck bed is filled and adds some extra weight and objects to trap the wind. I also made sure I tested on roads with clear should markings, which helps the sensors. Here’s what I found out. 

The lane-keeping aids are subtle, and that’s a good thing

I liked how the F-150 doesn’t push you around on the road. When you drift out of a lane, there’s no hard nudge to get you centered again, but more of a slightly redirection. I tested this on multiple trips on a highway, a few country roads, and just around my neighborhood.

It’s a softer nudge than I remember on many Infiniti models and even on previous Ford SUV tests. On one highway test, the F-150 would ease me back gradually at times. When I purposefully inched over the shoulder markings, the truck countered my movement. Good so far.

You can configure the alerts and aids

Some lane-keeping systems only give you the option to enable or disable the feature. In the early days of lane-keeping tech, it was often a harsh nudge from the steering or by using the front or rear brakes, but it always felt too pronounced.

On the F-150, you can choose to receive only an alert when you drift out of a lane, an alert and an aid, or just an aid. I preferred to have only the aid enabled because I don’t like the constant blips and pings.

This will only get better

My main discovery is that the F-150 lane-keeping is better than I recall from previous vehicle test, even recently. I’ve noticed specifically that Ford lane-keeping is improving, slowly but surely. It’s obviously the most important step in making fully autonomous cars in all makes and models, and we know that’s on the roadmap for Ford vehicles by 2021.

Overall, lane-keeping is a smart addition on a truck and fairly new, so if you’re wondering if it is really worth the expense, it does have several benefits for keeping a beast of a truck on the road, no matter how much you are hauling behind you or in the truck bed.

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

Categories: Tech News

SpaceX: everything you need to know

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 06:47

SpaceX has changed what we all think about space. Its reusable rockets that land back on the launch pad are a thing of wonder, but by now, relatively routine. Its massive Falcon Heavy rocket recently completed its first commercial mission without a hitch, and Space is now on the cusp of taking US astronauts up to the International Space Station (ISS).

Add some talk about missions to the moon, and ultimately the colonisation of Mars, and it’s no wonder that SpaceX is credited with single-handedly reviving humanity’s interest in space exploration. 

What is SpaceX, who owns it and where is is based?

Founded in 2002, SpaceX is the creation of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, now its CEO and chief designer. Musk, who founded what became PayPal, is also CEO of Tesla.

SpaceX has 6,000 employees and is headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It has a factory and a launch site in South Texas, and launch facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (where it launches its reusable rockets) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (where it lands its reusable rockets) in Florida. It also has a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Are reusable rockets the key to making human life multi-planetary? (Image credit: SpaceX)

What are SpaceX's long-term goals?

The colonization of Mars. How does one company help achieve that goal? By vastly reducing space transportation costs, that's how. Cue a 15 year+ project to create a reusable rocket launch system where the physical first stage of the rocket lands back on the launchpad once the payload has been jettisoned into orbit.

Musk believes that reusability is the key to making human life multi-planetary, which is necessary for our species because Earth could be struck by an asteroid, or become uninhabitable after a third world war. Musk thinks we need a backup plan, and his idea is to create a self-sustaining colony of a million people on Mars in the next 40 to 100 years.

However, the basic 'land a first stage rocket booster and use it again' part of the equation, though astounding in itself, was achieved way back in December 2015. Since then, SpaceX has been trying to make more components recoverable and reusable, and much more often. It's now developed a first stage that can be reused up to 10 times. Next up: the second stage.

All this is for Mars. "It’s important to get a self-sustaining base on Mars because it’s far enough away from Earth that it’s more likely to survive [after a massive war] than a moon base,” said Musk at SXSW 2018.

"I’ve said I want to die on Mars, just not on impact," he once quipped, though whether he  will achieve his wish remains to be seen.

SpaceX's goal is to create a fully reusable launch vehicle that can go to Mars (Image credit: SpaceX)

Does SpaceX work with NASA?

Oh yes. In April 2019, NASA confirmed that it would pay $69 million (about £53 million, AU$97 million) to SpaceX to smash a Falcon 9 rocket into an asteroid as part of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission in 2022.

Crazy science projects aside, the US national space agency and SpaceX have been working together closely for almost a decade. SpaceX has held NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts since 2008, and has earned over $1.6 billion (about £1.2 billion, AU$2.2 billion) by taking cargo up to the ISS from US soil in its Dragon capsules launched atop Falcon 9 rockets. These flights began in December 2010 and are ongoing.

However, that's not where the lion's share of its funds come from. SpaceX has earned over $12 billion (about £9 billion, AU$17 billion) taking large satellites and military payloads into orbit, and has conducted over 100 launches, including a record-breaking 19 launches in 2018.

Falcon 9 in advance of a launch to the International Space Station (Image credit: SpaceX)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket

Don't confuse Blue Origin's reusable rockets with those of SpaceX. While Blue Origin's New Shepherd rocket lands back on the launchpad, it's merely a sub-orbital rocket. The SpaceX Falcon 9 (and the Falcon Heavy, see below) is orbital-class, and regularly takes satellites and cargo into orbit. Soon it could take astronauts. Each Falcon 9 costs $62 million (about £48 million, AU$87 million). 

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley plan to take Crew Dragon to the ISS (Image credit: NASA)

The SpaceX Crew Dragon reusable capsule

SpaceX won't accomplish want Musk wants until it can prove it's capable of carrying astronauts safely into orbit and back. That's what (along with Boeing) is contracted to do by NASA, which has been tasked with ending its reliance on Russia for taking astronauts to the International Space Station (which has been the case since 2011, when the last space shuttle was retired).

As part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, SpaceX has developed an astronaut-friendly version of its Dragon 2 capsule – which has already visited the ISS as an unmanned cargo-carrier – called Crew Dragon.

Designed to carry six or seven astronauts, Crew Dragon is an ultramodern version of the old Apollo capsules. A successful Crew Dragon flight test called the SpX-DM-1 mission took place on 2 March, 2019, when Crew Dragon was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket. It successfully docked with the ISS, then returned to Earth. Next up, scheduled for July 2019, is SpX-DM-2, when two ex-Space Shuttle astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will be inside Crew Dragon for a 14-day journey to the ISS and back. However, an unexplained explosion during Crew Dragon testing in April 2019 might delay things.

For now, Crew Dragon has to land on water and be recovered by ship, much like those Apollo capsules. In future expect to see a redesigned version of Crew Dragon that lands back on the launchpad.

The Arabsat-6A mission on April 11, 2019 (Image credit: SpaceX)

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy reusable rocket

If you thought the reusable Falcon 9 rocket was impressive, try watching three of them land at once. That's what happens with Falcon Heavy, SpaceX's biggest launch system and the world’s most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two. The Arabsat-6A mission on April 11, 2019 saw the first commercial use of its Falcon Heavy rocket, which was tested for the first time on February 6, 2018 when it took Musk's Tesla Roadster and a dummy astronaut called 'Starman' into an Earth-Mars orbit.

With a maximum thrust of 2550 tons, the Falcon Heavy is essentially three Falcon 9 boosters. The two side-boosters come back to land simultaneously on the launchpad about 10 minutes after launch, while the central core lands on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean a a few minutes later. It's quite a show. Each Falcon Heavy costs $90 million (about £69 million, AU$126 million).

Inside Crew Dragon, the SpaceX capsule (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX and space tourism

Despite being the most high profile name in the space industry, and arguably also in space tourism (despite never having actually done any space tourism trips), SpaceX isn't actually focused on taking normal folk into space.

Yes, it does occasionally mention bizarre-sounding missions to the moon and Mars for private citizens, but only because the company is now laser-focused on developing a larger and cripplingly expensive rocket called Super Heavy. If anyone wants to pay huge sums of money to help test that rocket, SpaceX will happily take the money.

SpaceX and orbital space tourism

If you want to see the curvature of Earth for a few minutes, and experience weightlessness, before returning to Earth, look elsewhere. SpaceX has only orbital launch systems and any future space tourism offering from the company will involve Crew Dragon, long missions, and astronomical price tags. Orbital trips are very much the second phase of space tourism; Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are only capable of taking people to the edge of space, not into orbit.

SpaceX is therefore likely to be about one-off and extremely expensive private orbital and/or lunar expeditions rather than space tourism. However, if the Bigelow Aerospace Private Space Station launches in 2021 then there will at least be somewhere for SpaceX to take space tourists to (NASA is not keen on having regular people stay on the ISS). Until then, there's only one other place for SpaceX to potentially take space tourists … around the moon and back again.

The Falcon Heavy could be used for ‘lunar tourism’ (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX and lunar tourism

Back in 2017 Japanese online fashion billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa wanted to reenact Apollo 8's dramatic first-ever mission to orbit the moon 50 years after that historic mission in December 1968. That would have meant using a Falcon Heavy rocket. However, the mission was cancelled early in 2018 so Maezawa could wait for SpaceX to develop a bigger rocket now called Super Heavy.

When that's ready, Maezawa and six artists (and probably a few astronauts) want to fly around the moon in 2023. That Dear Moon mission will last six days. However, it does require SpaceX to build a new rocket and spacecraft …

An artist’s impression of Starship (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX's Starship and Super Heavy

Formerly known as the Big Falcon Spaceship (BFS), and Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), Starship and a 387-foot rocket called Super Heavy is a reusable launch system that SpaceX is now working on. Ultimately they’re designed to carry 100 tons of cargo and between 100 and 200 passengers to the moon and Mars.

From reusable rockets and a busy schedule of commercial satellite launches to taking NASA astronauts to space and, eventually, creating interplanetary transport, it’s fair to say that Elon Musk’s plans for SpaceX are ultra-ambitious. So far, we’ve got no reason to doubt his determination, and SpaceX is, for now, the most exciting company in a new and growing space industry.

Categories: Tech News

Why metadata matters: stories from the real world

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 06:30

These days, data makes the world go round – maybe even more than money does. With data presented accurately and attractively, companies can attract investors, satisfy regulators, increase sales, save money, and operate as lean, mean efficient machines.

That, of course, presupposes that they know where there data is and can summon the right data for each purpose; the data needed for an annual report, of course is going to be different than the data needed for a marketing campaign targeting medium-sized customers. But getting at the requisite data isn't always simple; in most organizations, locating and accessing the appropriate data is far more complicated than pressing a few buttons. Data can be mislabeled, incorrectly stored, or otherwise be unorganized. 

Because of those metadata issues, data that should have high value to the organization is rendered far less valuable. As a result, reports could be missing data because it's difficult to find, and this could lead to confusion, missed deadlines, and even regulatory penalties. The key to preventing this kind of problem is to shore up metadata, ensuring data transparency and data lineage. Systems that can enable organizations to get control of their data can prevent those losses and problems, and ensure that organizations thrive.

Metadata – the data about data – can consist of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of tags, all used in data storage areas, including databases for different departments, customer information, databases for the entire organization, corporate documents, ETL tools, analysis tools, data storage units for social media information, reporting tools, etc. All these are sources of data and in order to be automatically searchable, all need to contain consistent metadata tags – which means that all members of an organization involved in collecting and recording data need to follow consistent conventions on what metadata tags to use.

Controlling data

The inability to control data – which is often due to poor metadata management – is quite common. According to one study, 85% of companies have taken significant steps to be data-driven, but only 37% say they have been successful at doing so. And being in control of data is crucial for some of the most important tasks businesses need to carry out. 

How do those 63% non-successful companies cope? With their business intelligence teams, of course. For example, in the case of an annual revenue report for the overall organization whose results don't match the results of each individual department when taken together, the organization's BI team would go through the databases and try to match up the corresponding information. It's in that largely manual examination that the BI team will discover and hopefully resolve the metadata inaccuracies. But doing that could take a long time, and cost the dealership a good chunk of money.

To solve that and other metadata inaccuracies, the organization needs  an automated system that can provide the tools needed to resolve those issues. The ideal system would be able to recognize from within the data itself to which metadata category it belongs. Thus, it would look at a metadata tag called “Expenses” with its corresponding data entry in one database, a tag called “Outlay” in a second, and a tag called “Costs” in a third. The automated system would be intelligent enough to realize that the numbers in all three relate to the same thing, despite the metadata differences.

Image Credit: Pixabay

The case for accurate metadata control  

The business case for this is obvious; time saved, both for BI teams who now have automated tools to help them do their job more accurately and efficiently, as well as time saved and more efficient operations for any part of the organization that depends on data (ie all of them). But besides making business hum along, resolving metadata issues can help solve regulatory problems – which with the advent of GDPR,  California's CCPR, new HIPAA regulations, and others that are likely to come down the pike, are now very much in the spotlight. 

The GDPR, for example, requires organizations to show that they are able to locate data on individuals, in order to be able to comply with rules on the “right to be forgotten.” Failure to even be able to demonstrate this is grounds for a fine under the rules. And without accurate metadata control – where information is tagged differently in the different data sources – rounding up all that data on a single individual (one of millions who may be in the organization's database) is going to be nigh-impossible.

Data is burgeoning. Already, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced worldwide each day; by 2020, there will be 5,200 GB of data for every person on Earth. And the IoT revolution, which is just beginning, promises to increase those figures exponentially. To expect that all organizations, devices, systems, databases etc. even within an organization are going to conform to a single metadata standard is probably wishful thinking. Automated metadata resolution has got to be a part of the data revolution for any organization that plans on using data (ie all of them).

Amnon Drori, CEO and Co-Founder of Octopai 

Categories: Tech News

Huawei revenue soars despite US allegations and restrictions

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 05:50

Huawei has revealed its first-ever quarterly results, once again highlighting major growth for the Chinese tech giant.

The reports, part of Huawei's continued push to be more open to the wider industry, show that first-quarter revenues rose 39 percent year on year to reach 179.7 billion Chinese yuan ($26.76 billion)

The growth was mainly fueled by focus on ICT infrastructure and smart devices as well as boosting the efficiency and quality of its operations.

Smartphones and more

The firm shipped 59 million smartphones in the quarter and added revenue of 179.7 billion yuan ($26.8 billion), despite still not being able to sell devices in the US.

Last year, Huawei, the third largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung and Apple, shipped 206 million units, inching closer to Apple’s 208.8 million units, according to research firm Gartner’s data.

Overall, Huawei’s smartphone shipments rose 33.6 per cent year on year in 2018, the fastest growth rate in the industry - in contrast, Samsung shipments declined eight per cent and Apple shipments by 3.2 per cent.

According to Huawei's financial statement, other business segments like PCs, wearables, and smart home also gained traction from global consumers for its leading, innovative products and user experiences.

The Chinese player is also a big name in the 5G network equipment supplier and it is entering the cloud and artificial intelligence market in a big way. Huawei is also one of the few smartphones manufactures, after Samsung and Oppo, to showcase 5G mobile devices.

Charles Yang, president of Huawei Middle East, told TechRadar Middle East, that Huawei will not be put off by the false accusations by the US and will push ahead with its 5G rollout and investments in the Middle East as well as globally.

Huawei has 283 global partners and 57 regional partners for 5G and expects to have one million bases stations globally by 2020.

Yang added that cybersecurity is a top priority for the company that has served three billion users in 170 countries (1,500 carrier networks) and never had any network security incident.

According to online market intelligence platform IPlytics, the Chinese company leads the race in the number of 5G standard technical contributions by a company. Huawei held 11,423 patents in 2018, followed by Ericsson with 10,351 and Nokia with 6,878, the other two big networks equipment makers.

With Huawei investing $15 billion in R&D in 2018 and ranks among the top five, it has a clear strategic positioning in the 5G race and has the capacity to mass produce 5G chips, 5G mobile routers and CPE (customer-premises equipment), a wireless router for home.

Categories: Tech News

Vodafone named UK's least favourite network yet again

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 05:41

Vodafone has once again been ranked as the UK's least popular mobile network.

The operator finished bottom of the latest survey from consumer watchdog Which?, marking the eighth year in a row it has achieved the unwanted title.

Giffgaff was voted the UK's best provider, with fellow small operators Utility Warehouse and Plusnet Mobile scoring highly, but EE and O2 filled the bottom three places alongside Vodafone, which has now finished bottom in all eight of Which?'s annual reports.

Value for money

Thirteen UK mobile network providers were included in Which's survey of 6,135 members. The watchdog says it aims to highlight the best network choice for consumers in the UK, including areas such as customer service and value for money.

Vodafone saw one-star ratings for customer service, value for money and technical support, with one in five of its customers telling Which? "customer service, including complaints handling and the way their queries were dealt with, was poor".

Vodafone apologised to users for its poor showing, saying it was sorry customers were unhappy and that it was, "working hard to understand the issue and what more we can do."

“We are determined to provide our customers with the best possible mobile service," the company said in a statement to TechRadar Pro. "We continue to invest in our network, our customer service and our products and last month saw our consumer satisfaction score reach its highest ever level.  We have also introduced a new loyalty programme for our mobile customers, VeryMe, which is proving very popular."

In contrast, Giffgaff customers said the network was "good or excellent" value for money.

"The continuing reign of smaller networks over the big players goes to show exactly how important customer support and value for money are to mobile users," said Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services.

"If you think you're paying too much or are not getting the level of service you expect from your provider, you should shop around for a better deal - you might find you save yourself some money and probably a lot of grief, too."

Earlier this month, EE was named as the UK’s best mobile network according to analysis from OpenSignal, which said the operator had the fastest speeds, lowest latency and greatest availability of all four major networks.

Categories: Tech News

Best TV 2019: the best TVs to buy for big screen action

Latest Tech News - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 02:39

Best TV Buying Guide: Settle in for TechRadar's round-up of the best TV sets you can get your hands on in 2019.

Picking a TV is no simple task. If you're a movie buff, this screen may end up as your best friend not just for the coming months, but years – while we replace our phones on a fairly regular basis, the best TV screens should sit prettily in our living rooms for a good long while. They're pricey purchases, and we expect to get our money's worth. 

And with so many features to consider, with new TV technologies being introduced all the time, making a decision is getting harder all the time. A brand new top-of-the-line TV can offer such a wide range of different technologies and features that it can be hard to know what you're looking for. With the major manufacturers in a yearly arms race to outdo rivals, keeping up with all the latest developments isn't always easy. 

  • Confused about high dynamic range? Don't miss our guide to HDR 

Feeling flummoxed? Don't worry, TechRadar is here to be your guide. Our guide to the best TVs available will help you separate the cheap panels from the best 4K screens. We'll help you find an awesome flatscreen without wasting hours of research comparing spec sheets. 

If you're looking for a buying guide that deals with TVs that only support the new Ultra HD resolution, check out our guide to the best 4K TVs. If getting a flatscreen on the cheap is your main concern, check out the best 4K TV deals.

But, if you're looking for the best-of-the-best TV out there today without limits or stipulations, this is the place for you. 

"So, should I buy a TV now or wait it out?"

We hear this question a lot. Like most technology, TVs are getting incrementally better all the time, but recently there has been a huge flurry of progress as manufacturers have rushed to embrace new display standards including Ultra HD and HDR.  

Thankfully, things seem to have settled down a little in this department, and the majority of TV manufacturers now support these next generation of features, including newer versions of HDR such as Hybrid Log Gamma. 

So long as your next TV purchase supports these technologies (looking for an Ultra HD Premium certification is a good way to go), we reckon you won't be kicking yourself in six month's time when the next batch of sets arrive 

That said, we'd be remiss if we didn't let you know about the cool technologies that are just around the corner in TV tech. Chief amongst them is support for the new HDMI 2.1 standard, which as well as allowing support for 8K at 60 frames per second and 4K at 120 will also allow for FreeSync to be supported over HDMI. 

It's cool technology for sure, but unless you're seriously into your gaming then we reckon you're safe making a purchase now. 

  • Want better audio? Check out our guide to the best soundbars available.
  • Once you've decided on a panel, make sure you read our guide on how to set up your TV to make sure you're getting the most out of it.

From the moment we laid eyes on the the XBR-65Z9D we’ve been desperate to get our hands on one. It is, hands down, the holy grail of television for 2017: a TV able to combine the extreme, high dynamic range-friendly brightness of LCD technology with a backlight arrangement capable of getting LCD closer than ever before to the stunning light control you get with OLED technology.

This backlight arrangement comprises more than 600 LEDs that sit behind the 65Z9D’s screen that are capable of outputting their own light levels independently of their neighbors. This should enable the TV to produce more of the extremes of light and shade associated with new high dynamic range (HDR) technology while suffering less than other LCD TVs with distracting clouds, stripes or halos of unwanted, extraneous light.

As if this wasn’t already attraction enough, the 65Z9D also sports Sony’s new ‘X1 Extreme’ video processing system and the latest version of Sony’s reliable Triluminos wide color technology for unlocking the extended color spectrums associated with HDR sources.

The LG W7 OLED is truly something special. Not only is it one of the thinnest TVs to ever grace our vision (it’s 2.75mm thin), but it’s also one of the most gorgeous. When fed the right kind of content – in this case, 4K HDR10 or Dolby Vision video – it truly shines. A super-slim design alone wouldn’t have been enough to warrant the extra cost to upgrade to LG’s latest panel. But the thin frame on top of a Dolby Atmos soundbar on top of four types of HDR support on top of the magnetic mounting system on top of the new webOS 3.5 operating system surely did the trick. This incredibly gorgeous TV isn’t without its faults (see: motion handling, its sticker price and soundbar issues), but in terms of sheer picture performance there’s nothing else like it right now. 

It looks like someone on Samsung’s TV design team has been watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. The 65-inch Q9 is a ringer for that film’s mysterious black monolith thanks to the way both its front and back sides are completely flat and feature ultra-robust, polished finishes. Ultra HD HDR playback is what the Q9F was created to do and, given Samsung’s potent HDR track record, it's no surprise to find that it does it supremely well. Even though the Q9F has 4K HDR optimisation in its DNA, it’s capable of looking seriously good with high definition standard dynamic range content too.

The X930E Series builds on last year's X930D series in a few important ways, the first of which is by including one of Sony’s new X1 Extreme chipsets. These are around 40% more powerful than the original X1 chips, and introduce separate databases to help the TV analyze noise and upscale sub-4K sources to the screen’s native 4K resolution. Add in an apparently much-improved sound system and Sony’s Triluminos technology for delivering today’s wider color ranges and the X930E series seems to tick all the right boxes. 

Unfortunately, though, even an improved version of Sony’s Slim Backlight Drive can’t completely hide the fact that with current edge LED technology there’s always a backlight-based price to pay for all that HDR-sating brightness. 

When it came out, the KS9800 produced the most dramatic demonstration of what new high dynamic range technology was capable of. Its brightness in particular was unprecedented, which helped it deliver a much fuller sense of HDR's expanded light range and color capabilities than we'd ever seen.

The screen features that helped it excel with HDR also made the UN65KS9800 gorgeous to behold with standard dynamic range sources, and it even sounds fantastic despite having no visible speakers. That said, it was expensive.

But instead of going straight for Samsung's flagship from last year, consider LG's E6 or G6 OLED TVs as well. The OLED screens deliver superior black levels, avoid backlight bleed issues and excel with standard dynamic range content, but the UN65KS9800 delivers more punch, dynamism and detail with HDR.

If LG's OLED isn't your thing, spend some time checking out Sony's version.

The 55A1 – and the A1 OLED series overall – are crowd pleasers in just about every way. Their ‘picture only’ design has been beautifully realized, managing to be simultaneously subtle and dramatic. 

Their vibrating screen delivers a far more powerful and effective sound performance than I’d thought possible, too. The real stars of the show here, though, are the A1’s exquisitely detailed, contrast-rich and colourful pictures. 

These prove emphatically what we’ve long suspected: More brands using OLED technology can only lead to good things. 

Only it's exceptionally high price tag prevents it from toppling LG's budget panels.

The TH-65FZ1000M is a luscious OLED that puts performance first. Its colour handling is class-leading, and its HDR talents are a match for any of its rivals. In fact, it just might offer the best picture performance that we’ve seen on a 4K OLED to date. 

The TH-65FZ1000M isn’t the complete package, lacking as it does Dolby Vision and Atmos compatibility, but it wins more arguments than it loses. We suspect you’ll appreciate the easy sophistication of its smart platform, the quality of that low-lag game mode, and the sheer musicality of the Technics soundbar. 

Continue on to page two to read about what to look for when buying a TV! 

What TV technology is best? Which is the best LCD TV? Which screen size is best for your living room? What's the difference between LCD and LED TVs?

The answers aren't always obvious. In fact, buying a new TV can be stressful even for the tech-savvy - there are so many brands, so many features, so many screen sizes, colors, technologies and flavors to choose from.

So which one is right for you, your family and your living space? In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about buying a new TV.

What types of TV are there out there?

There are a lot of different screen types out there, all working in different ways to produce the same results. Each technology has its own unique strengths and weaknesses so here are some basics to consider:

LCD TV: CCFL
Until recently, all LCD TVs were backlit by always-on, CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent) lamps. This ageing technology has been superseded by the superior LED method on more expensive sets, but is still standard on some cheaper models.

LED TV: Direct LED
These displays are backlit by an array of LEDs (light emitting diodes) directly behind the screen. This enables localised dimming – meaning immediately adjacent areas of brightness and darkness can be displayed more effectively – and greatly improves contrast. LED TVs are also more power efficient and capable of a wider colour gamut than CCFL sets. Because of the extreme cost of mounting these arrays of LEDs, Direct LED TVs have largely been out muscled by Edge LED...

LED TV: Edge LED
With these TVs, LEDs of the backlight are mounted along the edges of the panel. This arrangement enables radically slender displays and offers superior contrast levels to CCFL, but can't achieve the same picture quality as directly lit LED sets. However, they do come in far cheaper which is why most LED TVs out there now use this technology.

OLED TV
The backlighting on OLED (organic light emitting diode) sets is achieved by passing an electric current through an emissive, electroluminescent film. This technique produces far better colours and higher contrast and also enables screens to be extremely thin and flexible. This is the holy grail display technology and only in 2014 did a bigscreen OLED TV go on sale. So it's new, it's expensive and the top brands are still struggling to get their heads around it. To date, only LG has been able to release full sized OLED TVs.

Quantum Dot
As yet we're not quite at the stage where we're going to get self-emitting quantum dot LEDs, but they're a-coming. What we do have though is Samsung producing its Nanocrystal filter based on quantum dot technology to produce a seriously improved colour palette and contrast levels that get mighty close to the pinnacle of OLED.

Plasma TV
PDP (plasma display panel) TVs use glass panels containing millions of tiny cells filled with a mixture of inert gases. Electricity excites the gases, causing them to illuminate the pixels across the screen. Plasma, while arguably superior to LCD in terms of contrast and colour accuracy, is only viable on large (42in+) screens and has been dropped by all but a handful of manufacturers. You'll be lucky to find one on the shelves these days.

Curved TV
Some manufacturers are now making TVs that have slightly curved screens. But unlike old CRT TVs, the curve is inwards rather than outwards. The idea is that this makes every pixel equidistant from your eyes, delivering a more satisfying picture. However, there are drawbacks for this type of screen - the main one being that if you sit far enough to one side – more than 40 degrees or so – the curve clearly starts to affect the image's geometry, foreshortening content near to you and compressing the image's centre.

What resolution tech should I go for?

HD
HD TVs come in two resolutions. Sets with the HD ready are required to be able to display a minimum 720p picture, and generally has a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Meanwhile, Full HD TVs have a higher resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It's highly advisable that you don't go for anything less than full HD in this day and age.

Ultra HD and 4K
The resolution of Ultra HD is exactly four times higher than full HD - 3840 x 2160. It means a far more detailed picture, with content requiring a lot more bandwidth and storage space. 4K TVs tend to be good at upscaling HD video to Ultra HD but there are currently very few options for watching native 4K content. Read more about 4K.

HDR
Potentially the next big thing in TVs, HDR produces astounding levels of visual fidelity and can be found in some of the latest Ultra HD TVs. Arguably the shift to HDR video could make a more dramatic difference to your viewing experience than moving from HD to 4K. Like still HDR images, the moving version expands the range of both the light and dark ends of spectrum, providing more detail for both. HDR needs new filming methods though - at the moment there is no way to backfill HDR into existing video. It also needs new TV tech too, with Samsung the only ones to create specific screens, though LG and Sony are going be able to update some of their existing stock to be compatible.

What else should I consider?

Buying a flatscreen television is a major investment and one that you can't afford to take lightly. Just popping into the closest store and grabbing the first plasma or LCD you see won't get you the best deal, the screen that suits your needs, or the gear you require to make the most of your new purchase.

Size matters

People tend to pick the size of their flat TV based on the amount of space they have for it, this isn't necessarily wise. Flat TVs take up much less space than you might think, so your new TV may end up a foot or two further away from your viewing position, making the picture appear smaller.

Also, with hi-def, you can have a bigger screen and the same viewing distance without worrying about seeing blemishes inherent to the source. HDTV's lack of noise means that the ideal distance to sit from the screen is three to four times the height of the TV.

How to calculate the right size HD TV:

The trick here is to ensure that your TV is big enough to fill your line of vision, but small enough to be sharp and clear. Remember, if you intend to only watch standard-definition sources, the bigger the screen gets, the worse the image will look.

The ideal screen size can be calculated by multiplying the distance that you intend to sit away from it by 0.535 and then rounding this up to the nearest size.

So, if you sit 80in away from your TV, the ideal size is 42-inch (80 x 0.535= 42.8).

What features should I look out for?

Features are too numerous to go into here, but here are some things you should consider.

Photo viewing: If you have a digital camera, a TV that has a slot for memory cards or a USB socket for a card reader will let you view your photos onscreen.

Here are some of the things we look for when we review a screen, so you should, too...

Contrast: Bright whites shouldn't have any signs of green, pink or blue in them, while blacks should look solid and not washed out, grey, green or blue.

Colours: Look at how bright and solid they are; how noiseless their edges are; how 'dotty' richly saturated areas are and how natural skin looks, especially in dim scenes.

Fine detail: How much texture does the screen give? Does a tree look like a green lump, or can you see the individual leaves

Edges: Check for ghosting, bright halos and jaggedness, especially around curves.

Motion: Check moving objects and quick camera pans for smearing or blurring, trailing, jerkiness and fizzing dotty noise.

Image artefacts: Look for blockiness, colour bands, grain, smearing, dot crawl: anything that looks like it's added by the TV picture processing or a weak TV tuner. Tinker with a TV's picture settings before making a final decision. Factory settings are rarely good for everyday viewing.

What about sound?

To provide the best audio to complement the pictures, your TV should be hooked up to a surround sound system, but this isn't always an option. So, here's what we listen for when testing a TV's speakers:

Bass: Deep, rounded rumbles that don't cause the set to rattle or speakers to distort, cramp or overwhelm the rest of the sound; but that expand when needed.

Vocals: Voices should sound open, rich and clear, not boxed in, nasal or thin.

Trebles: Treble effects should sound clean, rounded and smooth in loud scenes and shouldn't dominate the soundstage.

Soundstage width/depth: A good TV should throw the sound away from the TV, to the sides, forward and back, to give an extra dimension to what's on screen, without losing any coherence.

Questions to ask before you buy

Taking the time to consider these questions will make choosing the best TV easier...

HD or 4K?

4K TVs are stunning and even though there is currently little native 4K content to enjoy, the good ones are able to upscale HD to 4K very well. That being said, unless you're buying a very large TV - we're talking 65-inches plus - full HD should be adequate.

What size do I need?

This is dictated by the dimensions of the room where the TV is going and the amount of cash you're prepared to spend. As a general rule of thumb, work out how far from the set you'll be sitting (in inches), multiply that distance by 0.535 and then round up the result to the nearest screen size. Bear in mind that a decent smaller telly is often a more sensible investment than a larger, less accomplished one. And if you're going to buy a 4K TV, you can sit much closer because of the higher resolution.

How many HDMI sockets do I need?

For a living room TV you should be looking for a minimum of 3 HDMI inputs. If you want to attach a set-top box as well as games consoles etc, those HDMI ports will fill up fast.

Can I connect my older, analogue kit?

Most new sets carry no more than two composite connections, while S-video is fast approaching obsolescence. Check that your new TV can hook up to older digiboxes, VCRs or DVD decks that you might want to plug into it.

Do I want to hang my TV on the wall?

First off, you'll need to consult a construction expert to check that the wall in question is strong enough to support a flatscreen. Then find out if the set you want is designed to be wall-mounted and, if so, ask if the relevant bracket is included in the basic package or as an optional extra.

Will I be connecting it to a home cinema?

If the answer is no, you might want to think more carefully about your set's audio performance. Look for a screen that can go as loud as you'll need without distortion or cabinet rattle. Consider how dialogue sounds and how much low-end rumble the bass is capable of.

Conversely, it's pointless paying out more cash for exceptional built-in speakers if you already have a decent home cinema system.

Happy shopping!

Categories: Tech News

Latest Google Chrome update draws government and telecom concerns

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 23:16

The encrypted version of Google's Chrome browser has raised concerns among a number of internet safety watchdogs and intelligence agencies who fear the move could endanger the safety of children online.

Critics of the encrypted version of the browser, which is currently available for download but not the default version, argue that it could make it more difficult for companies to block harmful material online as it will bypass most parental control systems.

As it stands now, harmful materials like terrorist propaganda and child-abuse images are blocked by internet companies through filters that scan the web's domain name servers. 

However, with the encrypted version of Chrome, users are able to bypass these filters and connect to its server instead.

Encrypted Chrome

According to The Sunday Times, talks will be held in May where broadband providers including BT, Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk will come together with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to discuss the risks posed  by the encrypted version of Chrome.

Intelligence and law enforcement officials also fear that the new Chrome will allow Google to collect even more details on users' browsing habits.

A government official voiced their concerns to The Sunday Times, saying:

 “Google will have a lot more than their searches — it will have their entire browser history. That’s an incredible amount of data,” he said. It will also be able to track devices rather than just household accounts." 

Google responded to the Times' argument against it by saying that it has not made any changes to the default behavior of Chrome.

Via The Drum

Categories: Tech News

Worldwide server shipments set to peak in 2020

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 22:46

While the global server market is predicted to continue growing in 2019, new research from DRAMeXchange has revealed that this year's server shipment growth has shrunk by 3.9 percent compared to last year under the pressures of business cycles and worldwide uncertainty.

The company's senior analyst Mark Liu pointed out the worldwide server growth momentum in 2018 derived mainly from North American brands which comprised over 30 percent of total shipments.

Enterprise servers still form the largest shipment group though shipments to data centers are growing year by year up from 35 percent in 2018 to 40 percent this year.

As 5G begins to transform businesses with its global rollout this year, telecommunications companies and internet providers will increase in their demand for servers and current predictions highlight the fact that server shipments are expected to peak in 2020.

Server shipments

Looking back at the first season of this year, data center demand was relatively unaffected by the traditional offseason as total shipments continued to experience stable growth. ODM direct business shipments grew by 1.3 percent compared to the previous season and as orders continue to arrive in the second season, we may still see seasonal growth of around 1 to 3 percent bringing market shares up to to 26.6 percent.

Some brands were hit by the offseason in the first quarter with the their shipments falling by over 20 percent compared to last quarter but the market made a notable recovery during the second.

In terms of global market share rankings of server brand manufacturers in 2H 2019, Dell EMC, HPE and Inspur took the top three spots with market shares of 15.8 percent, 13.7 percent and 7.5 percent respectively. 

According to DRAMeXchange, China's top cloud service providers will drop by about 15 percent year over year in server purchases this year, while North American companies will be less affected with their purchases projected to keep growing by 5 to 10 percent.

Categories: Tech News

Huawei’s cheaper MateBook 13 is now available in Australia

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 22:34

Eager to take on Apple's MacBook Air in the ultra-portable space, Huawei is finally bringing its new MateBook 13 laptop Down Under, announcing that it's available to buy in Australia from today (April 23) in Mystic Silver and Space Grey colour options.

Huawei's 13-inch MateBook offers some pretty impressive specs within its slimline 14.9mm frame, boasting either an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U (256GB SSD model) or i7 8565U (512GB SSD model) Whisky Lake processor, a GeForce MX 150 Discrete GPU, a 2K resolution sRGB display (3:2 aspect ratio) and a 10-hour battery life.

According to Huawei, the MateBook 13 offers "new ways for users to connect their notebook with smartphones, blurring the lines between mobile devices and personal computers".

Very nice, how much?

Priced at $1,799 for the 256GB model and $2,199 for the 512GB version, the Huawei MateBook 13 can be purchased in-store from Sydney's Microsoft Store on George Street, or from Microsoft's online store

As an added bonus, the Microsoft store is currently offering a $119.95 discount on both MateBook 13 models, bringing their prices down to $1,679.05 and $2,079.05 respectively. 

In our five-star review, we named the Huawei MateBook 13 our "Best in Class laptop in 2019," also describing it as "the most value-packed flagship laptop to date".

Categories: Tech News

iOS 13 will reportedly include four new Animoji characters

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 20:58

Historically, Apple has used its annual WWDC event to debut new details and features of its upcoming version of the iOS mobile operating system, with the new OS then releasing a few months later with the arrival of that year's new iPhones. This year, WWDC is scheduled for June 3 and we fully expect iOS 13 to take center stage – meaning we don’t have too long to wait before we find out exactly what iOS 13 will bring later this year.

Rumors have already hinted at what could be part of iOS 13’s feature set – according to one report, we could see a system-wide dark mode, app tabs and a new undo gesture, alongside a major overhaul of the interface for iPads.

Then there’s the slew of Animoji sprites we’re expecting to see in iOS 13. Apple already gave us a preview of 230 new characters being added to the library, but a new leak suggests four more could be incoming.

According to developer Steven Troughton-Smith, users of the latest iPhones will soon be able to get into the head of a cow, octopus, mouse and… wait for it… an emoji face.

While that last one seems like it would be a heck of a lot of fun, it’s the mouse Animoji we’re rather keen on. Apple has partnered with Disney in the past to bring us branded content – we already have Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Apple Watch faces after all. So it would be interesting to see if that mouse Animoji will be just a, well, mouse or if it would be one of Disney’s much-loved characters.

The Animoji feature is available on the iPhone X, the latest iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR, along with the latest iPad Pro.

Categories: Tech News

Best shows on Amazon Prime US (April 2019): what you should watch

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 20:01

Looking for the best shows on Amazon Prime? You've come to the right place! Each week Amazon Prime Video adds exclusive TV shows and fresh new episodes to its library - which is great - but it can be difficult to choose just one to binge on next.  

That’s why we're here to help you make that all important decision about which TV series you should binge watch this weekend and what we recommend you should skip. We've collected together a big selection of TV shows for you to choose from, including shiny new series through to Amazon's own original shows. 

  • April Update: April is a surprisingly good month for movies on Amazon Prime Video between A Quiet Place (arrives April 2) and The Shawshank Redemption (April 1). While things are a bit more sedated on the series side, we will get the fifth season of Bosch on April 19 and the third season of Humans on April 27. 

In our guide you'll discover our pick of the best Amazon Prime TV shows that are currently on offer. We have options for fans of thrillers, comedy lovers and those who enjoy nothing more than a fantasy police drama. 

So, what's the best Amazon TV show to get sucked into without regretting it by the end of season 2? Read our Prime Video recommendations to find out.

If you can only watch one...

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 2)

Winner of a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel tracks Midge on her rise to the top of the comedy scene in the 1950s. The basic premise of the show is that Midge, a perfect stay-at-home wife, never quite gets the recognition she deserves from her drunk, deadbeat comedian husband. She picks up the mic herself and, as it turns out, is actually funnier than her lesser half. The monologues Midge delivers feel as appropriate for today's audiences as they were for the fictional crowd in the '50s, if not moreso. The result is genuinely funny, inspirational and, above all, human. The first season aired last year and now Midge is back and better than ever in season two. 

Amazon Prime or Netflix? Check out our comparison video below!

Bosch

With 20-something novels to mine for source material, Bosch is a character that was always destined for the small screen. Created by Michael Connelly but brilliantly brought to life by actor Titus Welliver, the series follows the exploits of LA Homicide detective Harry Bosch and features enough grit to pave the longest of driveways.

This is no surprise - the series has been created by Eric Overmyer, who was part of the alumni that created The Wire. Bosch is another show that has been put together by Amazon Studios - proving that streaming services are becoming just as powerful as the HBOs of the world when it comes to producing compelling drama.

Bosch Season 4 has now landed on Amazon Prime, continuing the saga of Harry Bosch and it comes with a nice uplift in quality too, building season upon season to become one of our favourite shows on Prime at the moment. 

Number of seasons on Amazon Prime: 5

Goliath

Billy Bob Thornton stars as a washed-up lawyer looking for a big break who stumbles on to a big case that may well give him the solace he needs. Made by David E Kelly who loves a bit of courtroom drama, having already created Boston Legal, The Practice and Ally McBeal, the show works well as a standalone series but there's talk that it may get a second season. Goliath is part of Amazon's Original series of TV shows.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 2

Good Girls Revolt

Let me set the stage for this one: It's 1969, and there's a war going on in America. The war is being fought in business offices around the country and the group leading the charge are women in the workforce, fighting for equal rights and equal acknowledgement for the work they've performed for years. Good Girls Revolt is set in this backdrop, at a fictional news outlet where the women have for too long been swept under the rug.

The show scores major points for its poignant subject matter – both in the way that it covers the struggles of women in the workplace pre-1970, but also in the way it handles talking about the American history that the women in question are tasked with covering. Part raunchy history lesson, part stellar drama, Good Girls Revolt is a smart interpretation of a still-ongoing issue.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

Hand of God

Last seen in Sons of Anarchy, Ron Perlman has moved from the mad world of biker gangs into the stranger world of law. Perlman plays a vice-riddled barrister who, after suffering a breakdown, starts to believe he is a messenger from god.

The full first season for Hand of God arrived on Amazon Prime, after a successful pilot. A second season is also available, which will sadly be the last as Amazon has decided to not renew the show. This is a shame as it may not be a light-hearted ride - but it is one drama that takes dark turn after dark turn and is all the better for it.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 2

The Last Tycoon

F Scott Fitzgerald may be known for The Great Gatsby and Tender Is The Night but The Last Tycoon - his last and unfinished novel - is perhaps his most ambitious piece of work. It peels away the glitz and glamour of Hollywood in the '30s to show a time when backstabbing was the norm, fascism was on the rise and everyone had an unbelievable amount of money. Kelsey Grammer is superb as movie mogul Pat Brady, while Matt Bomer is also great as Monroe Stahr, the up and coming film exec who wants to make it big. The Last Tycoon is occasionally flawed but it's a sumptuous watch.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 1

Downton Abbey

Like watching fictional posh people live their lives in early-twentieth century opulence? You're not alone – millions of people tuned in to Downton Abbey during its TV run, and it's now available to stream in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video.

Following the trials and tribulations of the Crawley family on the titular Downton Abbey estate, it's a kitchen sink drama of sorts – except all the cutlery is made of silver, and it's an army of servants doing the washing up. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 7

Sneaky Pete

Sneaky Pete's plot maybe a little cliche - a con man assumes the identity of someone else to try and make a new break in the world - but Giovanni Ribisi is superb as Marius, the titular character and there's plenty of intrigue to keep you glued to this new Amazon Original. 

Interestingly, the show is co-created by Bryan Cranston which makes him the streaming king, given he's done so well with Breaking Bad on Netflix. Don't expect Sneaky Pete to be as intense as Breaking Bad - it's a crime caper, yes, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. 

As of March 2018, the second season of Sneaky Pete has landed on Amazon. The premise is that Marius is on the cusp of starting fresh and leaving all of his mess behind. But that'd hardly make a compelling second season, would it? Luckily for fans he's dragged back into the drama kicking and screaming.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 3

Transparent

Anything Netflix can do, Amazon Prime can do better it seems, especially when it comes to winning a Golden Globe. Netflix may have made history by being the first streaming service to win a Golden Globe, courtesy of the acting talents of Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, but Amazon went and topped this by winning the Best TV Show prize in 2014 for Transparent.

It was much deserved. Transparent is everything you want in a TV show. It's heartwarming, funny and packs a real punch about a subject that doesn't get enough attention: transgenderism. Jeffrey Tambor's Maura Pfefferman is a television character we hope will be around for a long time.

The fourth season will be available to stream from 22 September.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 4

Comedy

Catastrophe

From the minds of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney comes one of the funniest, most well-written sitcom in years. The plot is slight: a one-night stand turns into a relationship once Sharon announces she is pregnant. But the series contains some of the most cut-to-the-bone humour seen on TV. Combine this with a nice slab of pathos - nestled among many a sex joke - and what you have is a modern classic.

Check out the fourth and final season of the show on Amazon Prime now.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 4

Comrade Detective

Comrade Detective is a weird gem on Amazon. Starring Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the show is a parody of gritty American buddy cop shows and Communist Propaganda from the Cold War.

It's an unusual combination, but it works. Each episode is presented as though it's a remastered real episode of a lost Romanian Communist Propaganda series from the 80s which was used to entertain and promote Communist ideals. The entire show was filmed in Romania with Romanian actors and then dubbed over by Tatum and Gordon-Levitt.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 1

The Grand Tour

Clarkson, Hammond and the other one are back for Grand Tour: Season 3. Well, we kind of knew that they would be as they all have massive contracts that mean we will be seeing quite a few seasons of the Definitely Not Top Gear But Quite A Bit Like Top Gear show. This season sees Clarkson drive a fast car, Hammond drive a faster car and nearly die, and the other one drive a fast car considerably slower than the rest. If you enjoy watching middle aged men burn rubber in the middle of the desert, like a scene out of Mad Max: Fury Road, then this is for you. And if we haven't quite convinced you yet - Gizmodo offered up this quote about the show: "Some men doing stuff for no clearly defined reason." Lovely stuff. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 3 (new episodes weekly)

I Love Dick

Recently graduating from Amazon Originals pilot to fully fledged TV show, I Love Dick is a great subversive watch. The show stars Kevin Bacon and is based on the celebrated book that looks at a married couple who are having marriage issues and their relationship with college professor, Dick. Bacon is on top form as the charismatic Dick and the show's multiple POV storytelling (Rashomon style) works well.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video TV: 1

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

A new series from Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel tells the story of 1950s Jewish housewife Miriam Maisel. After her husband confesses he's been having an affair, Midge drunkenly gets on stage at a comedy club and discovers that she's utterly hilarious. In a time when women aren't encouraged to be publicly funny, Midge pursues her new-found comedic talent in the male-dominated stand up comedy world. 

Check out season two of the show on Amazon Prime now! 

Seasons to watch on Amazon Prime: 2

Mad Dogs

The UK version of Mad Dogs was a breath of fresh air when it first aired. Well, the first season was then it all went a little too strange. This remake - green-lit from Amazon's burgeoning Originals series - takes the best from the UK version and mixes it with a plot that's a little easier to follow and humour that's more laugh out loud than pitch black.

The premise is the same: a bunch of mates go and visit one friend at his luxury villa to celebrate his early retirement, only for murder, mayhem and mind-boggling plot developments to ensue. A touch of genius is the recasting of Ben Chaplin. While he played the rich, retiring Alvo in the UK version here he gets to try his luck in a bigger and better role.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 1

Mozart in the Jungle

Now into its fourth series, Mozart in the Jungle was this surprise winner at the 2015 Golden Globes, where it won Best Comedy Series. The show is a comedy set in the strange world of classical music. Gael García Bernal plays young conductor Rodrigo who replaces a retiring conductor played by Malcolm McDowell. Based loosely on a true story and created by the likes of Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola, it's well worth a watch.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 4

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Rec is a joy of a show. Originally seen as a quasi spin-off of the Office - using the same documentary style camerawork, awkward pauses, asides to camera - it soon grew from an amusing first season, about the goings on in the parks department of Pawnee, to a comedy phenomenon that spanned a fantastic seven seasons. It's not just the script that makes it great, it's also the characters - headed up by the ever-brilliant Amy Poehler.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 7

Red Oaks

The '80s is the en vogue decade when it comes to nostalgia. Not only are Seth Gordon and Adam Goldberg mining the era for their superb prime-time sitcom The Goldbergs, Red Oaks has appeared to prove that it is respectable to set shows in the '80s. Amazon-exclusive Red Oaks - made by another Green, this time David Gordon - focuses on David, a tennis player at the Red Oaks country club and his summer shenanigans. Great casting - Jennifer Grey! - some brilliant nods to '80s films, a short run time means this is a series you can eat up in one neon-fuelled sitting.

The third and final season is now available to stream in its entirety on Amazon Prime and is a fitting end to one of the best shows around at the moment. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 3

Thrillers

The Americans

The Americans was cruelly mishandled when it originally came to UK TV, so we are glad it has finally found a decent place to reside. The show is a cracking crime period thriller that follows the exploits of a couple of KGB agents posing as US citizens around the time Ronald Reagan became US president.

It may occasionally flit between the ridiculous and the sublime but you would expect nothing more from a show that's main conceit comprises characters duelling with duality. The '80s setting is fantastic, too, though there aren't enough shell suits for our liking.

The final sixth season of The Americans is now free with Amazon Prime Video.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 6

Mr Robot

The popularity of Mr. Robot meant that there was something of a bidding war to see who would show it. Amazon, Netflix and other more traditional broadcasters fought for it, proving that even bean counters can see the worth in counter culture.

Amazon won in the end and is the perfect place for a show that focuses on the exploits of hacker Elliot (a superb Rami Malek). Mr Robot is Fight Club for the Tor generation, lifting a lid on a world where what Linux kernel you use is not just a badge of honour but a way of life.

Now in its third season, Mr Robot is proving to be one of the most addictive things on television right now.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 3

Man In The High Castle

There have been a number of successful Amazon pilots that have made it to a full series but none have the epic potential that Man In The High Castle has. This Philip K Dick adaptation is finally available to stream - with all episodes ready for your consumption. High Castle imagines what the world would be like if Germany had won World War II and the Nazis had taken global control. Turns out it's a bit worse than us all driving around in VW Beetles and wearing Hugo Boss coats.

Season 2 is now available and expands on the mythos. Given this is a cautionary tale about what could happen when the hard right takes over America, things suddenly don't feel too far fetched.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 3

True Blood

One of the biggest advantages Amazon Prime Instant Video has over Netflix is its massive back-library of HBO programming that will make anyone with a monthly subscription salivate over. While each show could have its own entry on this list we instead chose to highlight the best of the bunch, starting with The Wire. A close, though vastly different second is True Blood, a show about the preternatural, social issues and sex. Lots and lots of sex. And if that  tag line doesn't sell you, nothing will.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 6

Vikings

If you have any interest in Norse mythology then the name Ragnar Lothbrok will mean a whole lot to you. Basically he was a king and powerful ruler that was a right git to the English and the French.

Vikings is a series that traces his Norse-based goings on with enough charm and scope to take on Game of Thrones in the sword and sandals stakes. Yes it takes a number of liberties with its source material but the acting is top class, as is the cinematography in a historical romp that's now deservedly in its fourth season - the second half of which is now available.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 5

You Are Wanted

The first season of this German cybercrime thriller has been on Amazon Prime for just over a year, but now the second season is available too. Set in Berlin, the TV show is about a man called Lukas who has all of his online accounts hacked and gets accused of being involved in criminal, terrorist activity. In the age where it feels like big companies know more about our data than we do, it's a compelling contemporary tale that might leave you feeling like you really go and tweak your privacy settings or delete your online presence altogether.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 2

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

While the hype overblew the final product, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is still worth a watch. Starring John Krasinski (a.k.a. Jim from The Office) as the titular character who is "just a mere analyst". (Pro tip: He's not just an analyst.) Ryan's adventures are thrilling and entertaining, pure Tom Clancy incarnate. If action is your scene, check out the first season of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, now on Amazon Prime. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 1

Sports, the best of the rest, and coming soon

Tomorrow's World

Tomorrow's World was a ground-breaking BBC documentary series that ran for 38 years from 1965 to 2003. In 2017 the brand was 'revived' as part of a new series that explores the same themes of technology, science and the future as an umbrella brand for BBC's science programming. 

The latest season has recently landed on Amazon Prime and it covers artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biometrics, the quest for immortality and how researchers, big corporations, doctors, scientists and inventors are shaping the future. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 1

All Or Nothing

Anyone who wants something to fill their Friday Nights Lights hole need to look no further. This documentary is a superb look at how gruelling a season of American football is. It gives the viewer unprecedented access to the coaches, the staff and, most importantly, the players and it's a fantastic watch. Tying the whole thing together is also some superb narration from Mad Men's Jon Hamm.

Not keen on the American version of the sport? You can watch whole seasons of Manchester City play in the Premier League or watch the infamous New Zealand All Blacks tear it up on the rugby pitch. Whatever your sport, All or Nothing has you covered.

Seasons on Amazon: 5

Thursday Night Football

Speaking of the old gridiron, Fox and Amazon have teamed up to stream Thursday Night Football to Amazon Prime members. There aren't a ton of regular season games left in the season, but if you're a cord-cutter it's well worth tuning in for what's left. Expect to see this return in 2019, too.

Grand Prix Driver

This new Amazon Original documentary takes viewers underneath the glitz and glamour that is the surface of Formula 1, to explore the inner-workings of the 2017 McLaren team. Narrated by Michael Douglas, this documentary follows  rookie driver Stoffel Vandoorne over four episodes, as he and his team prepare for the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship. 

Season on Amazon Prime Video: 1

Grimm

Merge a fairy tale fantasy with a police drama and you get Grimm. It's all about Nick Burkhardt, a detective based in Portland in the US who discovers he's a Grimm. Which basically means he's a kind of mystical guardian who must keep the peace between humans and creatures called Wesen. As you might expect, a lot of the characters are inspired by Grimms' Fairy Tales, but the show draws from many other sources too to create a story that's a little like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but with fairy tale creatures.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 6

Coming soon to Amazon Prime: Oasis

The works of Michel Faber nearly always translate well to the big and small screen. The Crimson Petal and the White was given a great mini series adaptation by the Beeb in 2001. And Under The Skin is one of the most inventive films ever made. Another one of his works, The Book of Strange Things, has been given the Amazon Originals Pilot treatment. Called Oasis, the show is a twisty opaque look at a priest who is living in a human colony on another planet.  Richard Madden, last seen in Game of Thrones, stars. 

Coming eventually to Amazon Prime: The Lord of the Rings

The biggest project Amazon has in the books is its insanely expensive interpretation of The Lord of the Rings. The latest incarnation of Tolkien's classic fantasy tale will reach Game of Thrones heights... and budgets... with some $250 million set aside for production. Amazon has apparently already signed a five-season contract with the crew and production should start in the near future. Hold onto your hobbit holes! 

Categories: Tech News

Fortnite’s next event will be Avengers: End Game-themed

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:12

In case you needed another reason to get excited about Avengers: End Game’s rapidly-approaching release date on April 25, you can now add a Fortnite crossover event to that list.

Today on Twitter, Fortnite teased a second crossover event with Marvel for Avengers: End Game that will start one day before the film hits theaters. 

While the tweet doesn’t give us much to go off of other than the date, it’s fair to expect either new character skins or another appearance of Thanos in-game. (If you weren't around for it last year, Fortnite ran a crossover event for Avengers: Infinity War that put Thanos in the game for a few weeks.) 

The silver lining here is that we don't have long to wait to find out what the cryptic clue means, as the update lands on Thursday. That's good for the True Believers out there... and maybe not so good for folks who don't like being inundated with advertising.

Categories: Tech News

The next Samsung Galaxy Fold could fold twice over

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:11

Samsung has officially delayed launching the Samsung Galaxy Fold to address malfunctions reported by early reviewers in the device’s folding screen. And yet, a leak has emerged claiming the company is working on two different designs for dual-hinged foldable displays, according to Korean site The Bell.

The display concepts are referred to by letters, which describe their form: the ‘G-type’ has two outer secondary screens folding inward toward each other (much like Xiaomi’s foldable phone design). This resembles the patent found in March, which LetsGoDigital visualized with a rendering (above).

The other concept – the ‘S-type’ – folds in thirds like you’d expect (one resting over the center screen, one under, like a snake). This looks much like the Samsung patent discovered back in November, as visualized by Mobielkopen.


Both the designs described by The Bell are larger than the 7.3-inch Galaxy Fold’s fully-unfolded screen. Per The Bell, it seems like the G-type will have an 8-inch screen, while the S-type will reach 13 inches; they are allegedly intended to compete with Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad Mini and the largest 12.9-inch iPad, respectively. 

How likely are these designs to see the light of day?

It’s impossible to tell how far Samsung has developed these designs, but we can look to past patent and concept leaks to see how much those resembled the final product. 

For example, this leak from mid-2016 shows a clamshell layout that bears a striking resemblance to the eventual Samsung Galaxy Fold. While the final design ended up being far taller/narrower than these wide halves (and doesn’t have the mid-hinge charging port), the exposed hinge is very similar to the Fold’s eventual look.

There’s other evidence that Samsung isn’t abandoning a center-fold layout. Back in March, a report noted the company had two potential foldable phones in the works – one with a horizontal (and thus, wide rather than tall) ‘clamshell’ design while the other folds vertically. Both, however, seem to have the screen on the outside, much like the Huawei Mate X

All the optimism might be stymied by the Galaxy Fold launch delay, though, as Samsung rushes to fix issues with its much-ballyhooed first-to-market flagship foldable. Who knows how these struggles will impact Samsung’s folding designs going forward.

  • Here's how these concepts look next to all the foldable phones we know about
Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5 release date, news and rumors

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 15:45

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5 leaks and rumors are already starting to circulate, and we may be several months away from the announcement of the new tablet. Before that day comes, we want to keep track of all the bits of information we've heard and all of the hopes and expectations we have for the future Galaxy Tab S5.

It's been less than a year since Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab S4, so it may still be early to start wishing for a Galaxy Tab S5. To hold us over, Samsung did launch a more budget-focused Galaxy Tab S5e back in February, though the new tablet has taken more than two months to actually release in stores.

It's also worth noting that the Galaxy Tab S5e isn't the full Galaxy Tab S5we're expecting. It offers a slimmer, lighter design and can come configured with up to 6GB of RAM, but it has no S Pen and uses a mid-tier chipset. That may be why the Galaxy Tab S4 still costs over 50% more than the Galaxy Tab S5e.

So, with the Galaxy Tab S5e not serving as a true successor to the Tab S4, here's what we want to see from the real heir to the Tab S family throne.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Samsung's next premium Android tablet
  • When is it out? Likely in August 2019
  • What will it cost? Likely more than the $650 (£599) launch price of the Tab S4
Price and release date

We've only got a little to go on in this department, but history can be a decent indicator. The Galaxy Tab S4 launched alongside the Galaxy Note 9 in August 2018. So, the new tablet will presumably launch alongside a new phone once again.

We anticipate an August launch for the Galaxy Note 10, and therefore expect the Galaxy Tab S5 in August as well. In terms of price, the Tab S5 will likely launch in the ballpark of $650 (£599) at a minimum. This was the launch price of the Galaxy Tab S4. But, if Samsung includes some of the upgrades we hope to see in the Galaxy Tab S5, the price could go up a considerable amount.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Some screen upgrades

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S4 did upgrade the display from the Tab S3, but the Tab S5 could stand to go even further.

The Tab S4 has a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED displays with 2560x1600 resolutions.For the front of the Galaxy Tab S5e, Samsung managed to stuff that same 10.5-inch display from the Galaxy Tab S4 into a frame that it smaller in every dimension. That makes them plenty sharp, and in that regard, the Galaxy Tab S5 doesn't really need to make any improvements to still offer excellent visual clarity.

But, even with the newly reduced bezels on the Galaxy Tab S5e, there's still a considerable amount more needless black border on the 2018 tablet than on Samsung's new, premium smartphones.

With the Galaxy Tab S5, it would be exciting to see a bit more screen filling the space. Samsung could theoretically fit an 11.5-inch display in the same form factor as the Galaxy Tab S5e, and that would leave almost no bezel.

A bezel-free Galaxy Tab S5 would also help resolve one of our main complaints with the Tab S5e, its bland design. And, while Samsung's at it, the in-screen fingerprint scanner from the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus would be nice to see.

Support for new HDR standards, please

While this is technically still a matter of the screen (to a degree), we feel the high dynamic range on the Galaxy Tab series should be explained more clearly.

Samsung doesn't provide many details when it comes to HDR on its tablets. Sure, they get sharp, Super AMOLED displays that can display great visuals, but as more and more content is getting the HDR treatment, it would be good to see a full commitment to new HDR standards from Samsung on some of its biggest OLED displays.

That Galaxy Tab S4 has a screen that Samsung lists as "HDR-ready," and the Tab S3 product page listed HDR support but only for video on the Amazon app. The Galaxy Tab S5e having what appears to be the same display as the S4 is presumably also HDR-ready, but what this means for users is unclear. 

If you go to the main product pages for the Tab S5e, you won't find any mention of HDR for the display, and the Tab S4 doesn't say anything more than HDR-ready. Meanwhile, if you check Samsung's latest phones' product page,  you'll see clear certification for HDR10+ on all four models.

The large tablet display of the Galaxy Tab S5 would make it an ideal platform for content consumption, and official support for the new standards in HDR like HDR10+ or even Dolby Vision would be an excellent improvement. Better still if that support isn't limited to just a few apps.

Image Credit: TechRadar

The latest Qualcomm chipset

We've already seen a leak suggesting that the Galaxy Tab S5 will get the Snapdragon 855 chipset that powers the new Galaxy S10 phones and Galaxy Fold. Here's to hoping that rumor is true.

When the Galaxy Tab S4 launched, it didn't get the latest chipset at the time, opting instead for the Snapdragon 835 over the the Snapdragon 845. For a tablet that could be used for productivity, seeing an outdated chipset is not exciting, as it just means everything will be that little bit slower. And, the Galaxy Tab S5e didn't even get a high-end chipset, with Samsung going for the mid-tier Snapdragon 670 instead.

So, for the Galaxy Tab S5, we hope the Snapdragon 855 will be powering everything. And, in the tablet form factor, maybe an advanced cooling solution can be applied to help the CPU run even faster than it does in phones, perhaps by means of overclock as the Asus ROG Phone does. Topping it off with 8GB of RAM would also be helpful for multitasking.

The Snapdragon 855 chipset would also open up the door for a number of other features, like an in-screen fingerprint scanner, HDR10 video capture, HDR10+ video playback, 10-bit color, and support for dual-4K external displays.

The return of S Pen and Dex

There are two features we fully expect to see come back with the Galaxy Tab S5.

Samsung's S Pen is a staple of the tablet family, yet it was excluded from the Galaxy Tab S5e. Not only was it not included with purchases of that tablet, but it isn't supported for users who buy it separately. 

For the Galaxy Tab S5, we believe the S Pen will be back with some new flourish. The Galaxy Tab S4 launched alongside the Galaxy Note 9 with upgrades to the S Pen, if the Galaxy Tab S5 indeed launches alongside the Galaxy Note 10, the pair may tout even more S Pen upgrades, like a built-in camera.

We also expect Samsung's Dex feature to come back with the Tab S5. It was also excluded from the Tab S5e, but for a more premium device like the Galaxy Tab S5, Samsung should include its desktop-like Dex experience for users that want to be productive on their tablet.

Wireless PowerShare

The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus have considerably large batteries for smartphones, so Samsung included a nifty feature first introduced by Huawei: the ability to wirelessly share your phone's battery. Samsung calls it Wireless PowerShare.

Given that the Galaxy Tab S5 will have a substantially larger battery than Samsung's phones, it could make sense to offer that same feature here. This would let the the Tab S5 serve as a tablet and on-the-go wireless battery bank.

Image Credit: TechRadar

5G and Wi-Fi 6

Connectivity is seeing some big shifts right now, and it would benefit customers to get a little future-proofing from their premium tablet in that regard.

Wi-Fi 6 is a new standard for connectivity that supports higher performance, faster speeds, and more connected devices. With networks are becoming more congested, it only makes sense for the Tab S5 to be prepared for the latest network standard.

On that note, 5G may also be a smart optional feature, even if it's only for Samsung to get 'first 5G tablet' bragging rights. Not everyone is going to need 5G in 2019 or even 2020, but as mobile carrier's roll-out of the new technology you may benefit from the extra bandwidth – eventually.

If Samsung includes the Snapdragon 855 chipset, it could also include a 5G modem. As with most other tablets, adding a cellular connectivity option tends to bump the price up, and a 5G option would likely be a considerable bump compared to just 4G LTE connectivity. But, it may be worth it for some.

Categories: Tech News

Save $100 on Dyson vacuum cleaners at Walmart and Amazon

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 14:26

Spring is officially here, and for most of us, that means beautiful weather, vacations and the inevitable spring cleaning. To help you with this daunting task, retailers like Walmart are slashing the prices on top-brand cleaning appliances that can normally be quite pricey. Right now you can get the Dyson DC33 Upright Vacuum on sale for $179.99. That's a $100 discount and the best price we've seen for the bagless vacuum.

The Dyson vacuum cleaner works on all indoor surfaces so you can seamlessly clean your carpets, tile and wood floors without having to switch inputs or change the vacuum head. The powerful DC33 features root cyclone technology and a lifetime HEPA filter to capture dirt and microscopic particles and remove allergens and bacteria from your home. Because this vacuum is bagless, the dirt is stored in a hygienic bin that's conveniently released with a push of the button. The Dyson DC33 includes a wand and hose that releases in one smooth action and includes tools to help clean hard to reach areas such as curtains, stairs, ceilings and more. 

Dyson vacuum deals:

If you're interested in a cordless vacuum cleaner, Amazon has the best-selling Dyson V6 Motorhead Vacuum on sale for $149.99. The powerful V6 offers 75% more brush bar power than the V6 Cord-free vacuum and the motorized head can clean any floor type.

If you want to shop other Dyson vacuum sales, see our best cheap Dyson deals and offers that are currently available.

Interested in robot vacuums? We also have the best robot vacuum cleaner sales and deals.

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Fold launch officially delayed – no release date in sight

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 13:25

Update: Samsung has officially announced it's delaying the Galaxy Fold, specifically pointing to feedback from early reviewers that showed the device "needs further improvements." Initial findings, the company wrote, suggested the impact on top and bottom of the hinge might have lead to issues with the display, as well as substances that filtered into the device. Samsung didn't state how long the launch would be delayed, only that they'll announce a new release date "in the coming weeks."

The Galaxy Fold is malfunctioning, according to a handful of tech journalists, and that's been enough for Samsung to delay the planned April 26 launch by a least a month, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Sources told the publication that they haven’t decided on a specific launch date for the Fold, but said that the revised rollout window should be in the “coming weeks.” 

This news comes a day after another report claimed the Galaxy Fold launches had been delayed in China, but was still scheduled for April 26 in the US. Assumedly, the Wall Street Journal's story suggests a larger global launch delay in a rush to fix the issues that have called the Galaxy Fold’s durability into question.

Fixing the fold

Several tech outlets and online reviewers who got an early look at the device – which was slated to be the world’s first mainstream foldable phone to hit stands –innocuously peeled off what looked to be a screen protector covering the unfolded inner screen. This caused the inside display to malfunction and, in some cases, stop working entirely.

At least one other reporter, who didn’t remove the inner screen protector, tweeted that one side of the display started flickering after a few days of basic wear and tear. Another said in a tweet that one side was responding faster than the other, resulting in a “jelly” problem.

Those half-dozen reports quickly sent Samsung into damage control mode, assuring that the company was investigating these instances. We’ll have to see if these reported delays indicate a more serious problem in the Galaxy Fold’s design and durability, or if there are quick and lasting fixes for the first big attempt to launch a flagship foldable phone. 

Categories: Tech News

The Blink XT home security camera gets a $50 price cut at Amazon

Latest Tech News - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 11:45

If you're looking for a cheap and easy-to-install home security system, then you've come to the right place. Amazon has the wireless Blink XT home security kit on sale for just $79.99. That's a $50 discount and the lowest price we've found for the best-selling one-camera system.

The Blink home security camera is battery powered and includes two AA lithium batteries that offer an impressive two-year battery life. The weatherproof security camera can be used for indoor and outdoor use and features infrared night vision so you can monitor your home in the dark. The Blink camera also includes a built-in motion sensor that sends alerts to your smartphone or tablet when motion is detected. There's no monthly subscription fee with Blink, and you can even stream a live HD video from the camera with the compatible app. The Blink XT also works with Amazon Alexa so you can control your entire home security system with the command of your voice.

Like we mentioned above, this is the best price we've seen for the top-rated Blink XT, so if you've wanted to add security to your home - now is a perfect time.

If you're interested in a two-camera kit, Amazon has the Blink XT home security system on sale for $139.99. That's a $90 discount and the best price we've found for the two-camera security kit.

You can find more home security sales with the best cheap home security camera deals that are currently available.

You can also shop more smart home deals with the best cheap smart home devices and gadget deals.

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