Tech News

Biometric data of a million users leaked

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 12:53

Security researchers have discovered a huge collection of unsecured biometric credentials and personal information including the fingerprint data of over one million people.

The discovery was made by researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar alongside vpnMentor and in addition to fingerprint data, they also found facial recognition information, unencrypted usernames and passwords as well as other personal information from users of Suprema's Biostar 2 security platform.

As with other recent data leaks, the information was found in a publicly accessible database which contained 27.8m records spanning 23GB of data. As of now, it is still unclear as to whether any malicious actors were able to access the data while it was publicly exposed.

Organizations around the world rely on the Biostar 2 security system to secure their commercial buildings. According to vpnMentor, the system is used to control access to facilities in the US, UK, Japan, India and the UAE.

Biostar 2

If cybercriminals did manage to access the data, they could use it to either create or modify existing user credentials which would allow them to access any building secured with Biostar 2.

Employees enrolled in the security system could also be at risk as their personal information could be used to commit identity fraud and their fingerprint data could be used to gain access to other systems that are secured using their unencrypted fingerprint data.

According to The Guardian, Suprema also recently announced that its Biostar 2 platform would be integrated into another security system called AEOS which is used in 83 countries by governments, banks and even the UK's Metropolitan Police service.

The security vulnerability has now been fixed but the biometric credentials and personal information exposed in the data leak could still be leveraged by malicious actors. Businesses using the Biostar 2 platform should change the passwords they use to access the system's dashboard immediately to prevent falling victim to any potential attacks.

Tripwire's VP of product management and strategy, Tim Erlin provided further insight on the data leak and the disadvantages of using biometric data for security purposes, saying:

“As an industry, we’ve learned a lot of lessons about how to securely store authentication data over the years. In many cases, we’re still learning and re-learning those lessons. Unfortunately, companies can’t send out a reset email for fingerprints. The benefit and disadvantage of biometric data is that it can’t be changed.

“Using multiple factors for authentication helps mitigate these kinds of breaches. As long as I can’t get access to a system or building with only one factor, then the compromise of my password, key card or fingerprint doesn’t result in compromise of the whole system. Of course, if these factors are stored or alterable from a single system, then there remains a single point of failure.”  

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation release date, news, and rumors

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 12:48

Now that AMD has released its first 7nm Ryzen 3rd Generation processors, what will the future look like for Threadripper 3rd Generation – its next line of HEDT processors?

The new Zen 2 architecture was revealed at CES 2019, with AMD promising dramatically improved efficiency and performance, thanks to the new 7nm manufacturing process. 

This is the architecture behind the latest Ryzen processors like the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, and sees performance jump up dramatically, thanks to a 15% boost to IPC (instructions per clock). This is definitely exciting information if you’re looking to upgrade to a new Ryzen chip, but we’re interested in Threadripper 3rd Generation here. But, if this same jump in performance can appear in the next Threadripper processors, we could see some of the best CPUs for creative work yet. 

Still, AMD has yet to officially announce when we'll actually see these processors, much less how powerful they'll actually be. However, that doesn't mean we don't have anything to go off of – we've used our tech expertise to gather up all the Threadripper 3rd Generation rumors and speculation in one spot. So, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we'll keep it updated with all the latest Threadripper news. 

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? AMD’s next line of HEDT processors 
  • When is it out? Likely late 2019
  • What will it cost? TBD

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation release date

AMD hasn’t come out and announced the release date for the next Threadripper chips, but the last two generations have had pretty consistent release dates, so we have a solid basis for speculation.

Both the original Threadripper and Threadripper 2nd Generation launched in August of 2017 and 2018, respectively. We’re fairly sure that AMD is going to follow the same general release schedule this time around, but, obviously we don’t know that for sure. 

The Zen 2 architecture launched with Ryzen 3rd Generation in July 2019, however we still don't know when we'll see this architecture enter the HEDT market. 

And, well, it looks like we may have to wait until 2020 to even see these processors. AMD’s next-gen HEDT chips have dropped off of Team Red’s roadmap entirely, so we might be waiting quite a while to get our hands on them. This isn’t the most concrete of rumors, but it’s better to be prepared for the worst. 

We’ll update this article as soon as we hear more substantial rumors about the release date.

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation price

Now, so far ahead of AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation’s launch, we don’t have any official pricing information, but we can look at past generations to get an idea of what AMD’s next HEDT chips will cost. 

The original lineup of Threadripper topped out with the $999 (£999, AU$1,439) AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, but the second generation introduced surprisingly lower priced replacements. There were also two higher specced – and higher priced – additions. We believe Threadripper 3rd Generation will follow the latter model.

The prices of AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation chips are as follows: 

  • Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX: $1,799 (£1,639, AU$2,679)
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX: $1,299 (£1,159, AU$2,039)
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2950X: $899 (£809, AU$1,415)
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2920X: $649 (£583, AU$1,019)

AMD could very well surprise us and introduce an even higher-end SKU, like it did with the Ryzen 9 3900X and 3950X, but we're not sure that will actually happen. Stay tuned, and we’ll update this page as soon as we hear any Threadripper 3rd Generation price information.

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation specs

With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation, we expect to see a huge bump in core counts, efficiency and per-core performance with Threadripper 3rd Generation. If you need a refresher on last year’s Threadripper lineup’s specs they’re as follows:

  • Ryzen Threadripper 2920X: 12-cores, 24-threads, clocked at 3.5GHz to 4.3GHz
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2950X: 16-cores, 32-threads, clocked at 3.5GHz to 4.4GHz
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX: 24-cores, 48-threads, clocked at 3.0GHz to 4.2GHz
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX: 32-cores, 64-threads, clocked at 3.0GHz to 4.2GHz

With its Ryzen 3rd Generation processors, the move to 7nm has massively improved specs, not only resulting in higher core counts, but boosted clock speeds, much higher cache and lower power consumption. So, if that repeats with Threadripper Castle Peak, we're sure that performance is going to be massively improved. You can just look at the recently-announced Epyc processors, also based on Zen 2, which feature up to 64-cores.  

The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, which will hit store shelves in September, features 16-cores, for instance, double that of the previous-generation Ryzen 7 2700X. And, when it comes to power consumption, just look at the Ryzen 7 3700X, which beats the Intel Core i9-9900K with a 65W TDP (thermal design power). 

AMD Zen 2 processors feature up to 8-core chiplets that are smaller than the IO die. This means that Threadripper 3rd Generation should have many more cores in the same amount of space. 

Right now, all the rumors are pointing to AMD Threadripper 3rd Generation processors having up to 32-cores and 64-threads. That's the same amount of cores and threads featured in the Threadripper 2990WX, but a leaked 3rd Generation Threadripper processor appeared that's 13% faster with the same amount of cores

If AMD is able to bring higher core counts to Castle Peak HEDT processors, we could see AMD absolutely dominate Intel’s Basin Falls Refresh – and potentially the Cascade Lake-X family that’s rumored to follow it. And, if Intel can’t answer with anything but 14nm silicon, AMD might claim the HEDT throne just as it toppled Intel’s mainstream sales. This is especially true if Intel can’t get a smaller manufacturing process out before Zen 3 comes out and refines AMD’s 7nm process, likely in 2020.

Categories: Tech News

UFC 241 live stream: how to watch Cormier vs Miocic 2 from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:43

UFC returns to California this weekend with its next big PPV and the heavyweight title will be on the line in UFC 241’s main event rematch. Current heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will defend his title against the opponent he won it from in the first place back in July of 2018, Stipe Miocic. Sound good? Then keep reading to discover the best ways to get a UFC 241 live stream - no matter where you are in the world.

Stipe Miocic defended his title three times before losing to Cormier by knockout in the first round at UFC 226 in July last year. Cormier, who already held the title of light heavyweight champion at the time, became the new heavyweight champion and only one of four fighters to hold two UFC championships simultaneously.

While Cormier fought three times last year, Miocic has not fought a match since his defeat but he has been hoping for a rematch. At UFC 241 this Saturday, Miocic will get his chance and we’ll see whether he or Cormier is the better fighter.

Elsewhere on the card, Nate Diaz will return to the Octagon for the first time since losing to Conor McGregor in August 2016 and the former lightweight title challenger will take on Anthony Pettis in a welterweight match.

Whether you’ll be cheering for Cormier or Miocic during Saturday's MMA action, we’ll show you how to live stream UFC 241’s card from anywhere in the world - for US viewers, you should just head straight to ESPN+

Live stream UFC 241 from outside your country

Worry not if you're a huge UFC fan but aren't in the US to watch that ESPN+ coverage this weekend. If you find the coverage is geo-blocked, you can try using a VPN to change your IP address to a US server and watch this week's main card just as if you were back at home.

How to watch UFC online in the US exclusively on ESPN+

Live stream UFC 241 in the UK

Live stream UFC 241 on PPV in Australia The UFC 241 card in full

Main Card

-Daniel Cormier (c) vs. Stipe Miocic – for heavyweight title

-Nate Diaz vs. Anthony Pettis

-Paulo Costa vs. Yoel Romero

-Gabriel Benitez vs. Sodiq Yusuff

-Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch

Preliminary Card

-Clay Collard vs. Devonte Smith

-Raphael Assuncao vs. Cory Sandhagen

-Christos Giagos vs. Drakkar Klose

-Manny Bermudez vs. Casey Kenney

Early Preliminary Card

-Hannah Cifers vs. Jodie Esquibel

-Brandon Davis vs. Kyung Ho Kang

-Shana Dobson vs. Sabina Mazo

Categories: Tech News

iPhone 11 line-up may feature 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max - but probably won't be called that

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:39

We’re expecting Apple to launch three new iPhone handsets this September, but what they’ll be called remains uncertain. However, a new leak puts forward some possible names, with the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max all mentioned.

Those names come from an Excel spreadsheet created by ESR (a case-maker) and obtained by iPhoneSoft. We would however take them with a huge side of salt, as while case-makers sometimes have advance information on handsets, they’re just as often guessing. Plus, iPhone 11 Pro Max seems a rather clunky name.

We have however heard both iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Max (but not Pro Max) rumored before, so there could be some truth to this. It’s interesting to note too that if this is accurate then there won’t be an iPhone 11R, rather the standard iPhone 11 will be the most basic new handset.

As well as the names, this spreadsheet says that the iPhone 11 is 6.1 inches, the iPhone 11 Pro is 5.8 inches, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is 6.5 inches. That’s the same assortment of sizes as the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max offer.

That’s also in line with most current leaks, with the only significant design change expected to be the shape of the rear camera block.

Again though, we’d take this with a pinch of salt for now. Everything should become clear soon though as Apple is likely to unveil the new iPhone range in mid-September. TechRadar will be reporting live from the event and bringing you all the news and rumors in the meantime, so stay tuned for updates.

Via Tom's Guide

Categories: Tech News

Best Android phone 2019: which should you buy?

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:34

The best Android phones sport slimmer bezels and introduce startling new design quirks. With the growing number of killer Android smartphones, it can hard to pick the best one to suit your particular needs, but we’ve had plenty of hands-on time to list the best – and the rest.

For now, Samsung is still holding strong thanks to its talent for blending features, high specs, and exciting design alongside some stunning cameras in its new S10 line. But given the advancements coming from competing Google Pixel and Huawei phones, the roster of best Android smartphones will keep getting more interesting. The new OnePlus 7 Pro is a scrappy contender in its own right. 

If you’re shopping around for a new Android smartphone, be sure to check all of these handsets out, as you'll see some you might not have known about or haven't taken seriously - but we can assure you they're all quality picks.

You can also compare the list to our best phones and best unlocked phones to see how Android and iOS devices stack up. And, if you need mobile service to go with your phone, we can help you find the best unlimited data plan.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best Android phones on the market right now.

While the Samsung Galaxy S series has only made incremental improvements in recent years, the Galaxy S10 Plus makes a bit more of a substantial leap ahead with new features and an even sleeker look. While the other models in the series have their advantages, the S10 Plus is simply the best of the best – top specs, an expanded camera suite and some shiny new tricks.

The Snapdragon 855 at the phone's core competes with the Apple A12 for the fastest chip you can get in phones, and the 8GB RAM makes browsing and gaming speedy. The baseline 128GB of storage is great, but you can also pick up the phone with 512GB – or even 1TB, if you pay for the premium ceramic-backed version (which boosts the RAM to 12GB). If that's not enough, storage can be boosted by 512GB via microSD, bumping potential storage to 1.5TB...whoever should need it.

The phone has few drawbacks, with a huge 6.4-inch screen in the smallest frame we've seen thanks to a 93% screen-to-body ratio. The in-screen fingerprint sensor is cool, the ability to wirelessly charge other devices using the new Wireless PowerShare feature is even cooler, and we just love the clean look of the phone. Aces all around...if you're willing to pay the (very) high price.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

If you hate the smartphone notch, you can still get the best smartphone camera without it. Google’s Pixel 3 comes in smaller and more affordable than its bigger sibling, but it offers the same best-in-class camera performance.

The design of the Pixel 3 isn’t quite up to par with the rest of the new flagships from 2018, as it has sizable bezels above and below the screen. It fits a 5.5-inch display with a resolution slightly above Full HD. 

Though it’s not winning any contests for its looks, the internals are up to the task, with a Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM to power through most tasks quickly. Google’s phones also get timely and ongoing updates to the operating system, so the Pixel 3 may remain relevant longer than some of its competition.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 review

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is essentially the iPhone XR for Android: flagship specs at a lower price, with a few features shaved off to cut costs. And yet, the S10e is less of a compromise. It retains an AMOLED display (the XR's is LCD), starts at 6GB of RAM and packs a second ultrawide rear camera to the XR's single wide lens.

There are several things the S10e lacks compared to its pricier siblings, but nothing you'll terribly miss: its side-mounted sensor is still more reliable than the in-screen fingerprint sensor on the S10 and S10 Plus. The 2x telephoto lens on its bigger siblings isn't as useful as the ultrawide sensor it keeps. 

But most importantly, it's a cheaper, smaller phone in a sea of Android phones that are getting larger and pricier. The S10e is a more distinct alternative to the S10 Plus than the standard S10, which ends up being a middle child that doesn't quite earn its price hike from its budget flagship sibling. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10e

Image credit: TechRadar

The OnePlus 7 Pro is the pinnacle of the company's design ethos: top-tier specs and software at sub-flagship prices. While the latter is still true - and you can get the standard OnePlus 7 a little cheaper, if you want - the pricetag for the elite OnePlus 7 Pro is creeping closer to the competitors it had previously outvalued.

But arguably, the upgrades from last year's OnePlus 6T are worth it. The new handset adds a third ultrawide camera (following the Samsung Galaxy S10 line and Huawei Mate 20 Pro before it), retains its in-display fingerprint sensor, and even bumps up the resolution to an impressive WQHD+ (1,440 x 3,120) for a sharper-than-ever picture.

The OnePlus 7 Pro's real innovation is a seamless, no-notch display - made possible by a persicope 16MP selfie camera. It pops up when taking selfies, but also when unlocking the phone with facial recognition. It even auto-retracts when the phone's gyroscope detects it's been dropped, though we haven't tested how effective this is. 

All in all, the phone is a solid upgrade over its predecessor, though its extreme value over leading flagships has diminished somewhat.

Read more: OnePlus 7 Pro review

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is an incredible phone – a true flagship that ticks all the boxes and even has a few new tricks that make it a bit more than just an incremental upgrade over the Galaxy S9. But with the addition of the 'budget flagship' S10e to the S10 line, the standard edition is a bit harder of a sell.

Don't get us wrong, it's still a fantastic phone. Packing the latest Snapdragon 855 chip and doubling the RAM to 8GB makes the standard S10 a powerful device, and the baseline 128GB of storage is very welcome. The new in-screen fingerprint scanner is pretty cool, and the extra 2x optical telephoto and ultrawide lens are reasons alone to pick this over last year's Galaxy S9. The new Wireless PowerShare is very handy in a pinch to charge other devices.

But for a noticeable price cut, you aren't missing much if you opt for the S10e; and on the other side, for a bit higher price, the S10 Plus offers a slightly larger screen, another selfie camera for portrait depth, and a higher spec ceiling. Thus, the standard S10 is likely for folks who want a flagship that's not too big, not too small, yet is powerful enough to last years of use.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10

Huawei's P series has always taken photography seriously, and the P30 Pro takes that to an extreme. Where other phones have struggled to fit more than a 3x optical zoom in ever-slimmer phones, Huawei circumvented that limit with a novel design: lay its lens stack along the phone's length and use a mirror to reflect it out the rear cover. Hence the "periscope" lens, which manages 5x optical zoom, a 10x digital zoom and a baffling 50x full digital zoom.

The phone is no slouch in other departments, either, sporting Huawei's latest Kirin 980 chip to reach speeds on par with Apple and Samsung flagships. Respectable RAM and storage round out the phone's specs, but you'll pick up the P30 Pro for its astounding photo capabilities, which include impressive DSLR-level ISO, per Huawei's claims. 

Alas, Huawei phones aren't the easiest to get in the US – you'll have to pick them up wholesale from a retailer, since no carrier currently sells the company's devices and network support is limited. If not for that scarcity issue, this phone would likely rank higher in our list. But if sourcing your phone isn't much of an issue, the P30 Pro looks to be a great choice.

Read our full review: Huawei P30 Pro

The Galaxy Note 9 may not reign supreme after other phones have surpassed it this far into 2019, but its high specs and handy stylus keep it on our list of best Android devices.

With a sharp, 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, the Note 9 offers a great viewing experience for anyone that’s on the go often. Inside, it’s powered by the same components as the Galaxy S9 Plus, but with larger storage capacities available, a bigger battery, and more RAM optional. 

The Galaxy Note 9 sets itself apart with the S Pen, which enables some handy hands-free features and smooth note-taking. The cameras on front and back are just as impressive as the Galaxy S9 Plus shooters. For everything that the S9 Plus offers and a little bit more, this is a winner if you have the wiggle room in your budget.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro isn’t the easiest to get your hands on in the US, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive a phone. It’s the best we’ve ever seen from Huawei, and stacks up well against all other Android phones.

It’s QHD display measures 6.39 inches and supports HDR10 for a great visual experience, as long as notches aren’t an issue There’s a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the display as well. Inside, it’s offering impressive performance with Huawei’s own Kirin 980 chipset and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. It comes with plenty of storage and a large battery as well. 

The camera offering on the Mate 20 Pro is truly impressive, with a combination of three cameras on the back and a super-sharp 24MP selfie camera. The rear camera system combines a 40MP wide-angle sensor, an 8MP telephoto sensor, and a 20MP ultra-wide sensor. The result is an incredibly versatile snapper with AI backing it up.

Read more: Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

Google’s Pixel 3 XL is a bit bigger and blockier than its smaller sibling, with sizable bezels that are less and less ignorable in 2019. The phone still has one of the best camera setups on the market, and it does that with just one rear sensor, two front-facing sensors, and a whole lot of software optimization, so credit where credit is due. 

The design of the Pixel 3 XL isn’t quite as dazzling as the other offerings on this list, but it’s passable. It boasts a 6.3-inch OLED screen, but has a glaring notch at the top. The dual front-facing speakers help make up for that unsightly notch.

The internals are also competitive with the other flagship phones. And, with regular operating system updates guaranteed by Google, the Pixel 3 XL may have a longer life than some of the competition. 

Read more: Google Pixel 3 XL review


The recent LG G8 isn't the company's strongest offer in recent years. It launched with a design that wasn't keeping up with its contemporaries, yet it had a price that was just about as expensive.

All the same, it comes with the latest Android experience and all the power that's offered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. That combination is enough to make it a worthwhile consideration as an Android phone.

The screen may have a notch cut out of the top, but it's otherwise bright, sharp, and decently large. The cameras aren't top-class, but with a wide angle lens on one, they offer some handy versatility. If you can find the LG G8 at a discounted price, some of its detractors get easier to forgive.

Read more: LG G8 ThinQ review

Categories: Tech News

10 best Android phones 2019: which should you buy?

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:29

If you're looking out for the best Android phone you can buy, this is the place to be, as we've put all the biggest and best Google-powered handsets through their paces to come up with this rundown of all the best Android smartphones.

If you're an Android fan, you'll certainly appreciate the key way in which Android is hugely different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition – the sheer number of devices out there running Google's mobile operating system (OS).

The big names are all here. The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.

If you're keen to part your money on a new phone, though, it may be worth holding on to your cash for just a tiny while longer. The end of 2019 brings with it many new phone releases too like Google's latest Google Pixel 4, and possibly the Huawei Mate 30 too.

We've already seen the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, which we've yet to fully review but is sure to give the new iPhone a run for its money. Will these new Android phones work their way into the list? Only time will tell.

To help find the most fitting Android phone for you, we've rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.

So here they are - the best Android phones money can buy today.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the best Android phone you can buy right now, packing the best of what Samsung has to offer.

It's a big phone that's designed for big hands - and it takes the very best of what's on the smartphone market and puts it together in a compelling package that we've loved testing.

The Super AMOLED 6.4-inch display has been measured as the very best around, with super colours, plus there's a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display.

Battery life is an improvement over the S9 Plus, thanks to the larger 4,100mAh battery inside and you also get Samsung's new Wireless PowerShare, allowing you to wirelessly charge other devices on the rear of the handset.

The trio of cameras on the rear of the Galaxy S10 Plus are among the best on the market, offering more features, shooting modes and overall clarity. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Huawei P30 Pro could be the best Android phone we've used when it comes to photography. Its 5x and 10x zoom capabilities are staggeringly good. It also performs fantastically well in low light.

For those who really want to get up close to their subject, the P30 Pro also offers a 50x digital zoom, and although quality is reduced it's still impressive.

You also get plenty of power under the hood, an in-display fingerprint scanner, premium design and wireless charging with the ability to wireless charge other devices from the back of the P30 Pro.

It's a top, top Android phone and only narrowly misses out on top spot due to the Galaxy S10 Plus' overall slicker and more rounded smartphone experience.

Read more: Huawei P30 Pro review

Image Credit: TechRadar

It's close at the top, with Huawei snapping at Samsung's heels it's never been tougher for the South Korean firm, but the Galaxy S10 still manages to muscle its way into number three spot.

The bigger S10 Plus is by far Samsung's best phone, but the standard S10 backs almost all the same top-end features into a more compact form factor and slightly lower price tag (but still steep).

The Samsung Galaxy S10 gets proper under-the-hood upgrades. You’ll like all of these powerful features, while your friends will like the new Wireless PowerShare perk – it helps them out more than you. 

Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S10 review

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro offers up a heady mix of design, power and performance with a party piece in the form of an in-display fingerprint scanner thrown in too.

The Mate 20 Pro packs a huge 6.39-inch display giving you a lots of space for gaming and movies, and its QHD resolution and HDR10 support ensures everything looks great.

It also comes with three rear cameras, nabbing the excellent 40MP wide-angle and 8MP telephoto lenses from the P20 Pro - but the third sensor is new. It's an ultra-wide 16MP snapper allowing you to cram even more of your surroundings into each shot.

The Mate 20 Pro is a full-featured phone for a full-featured price - it even has a few tricks you won’t see elsewhere, and more powerful specs than most of its competitors.

Read more: Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

Image Credit: Samsung

The South Korean features again with Galaxy Note 9 in at five in our best Android phones lists.

The Galaxy Note 9 boasts a huge screen and a huge amount of power under the hood, plus there's the iconic S Pen stylus which slides into the body of the phone for safe keeping.

It means the Note 9 offers a huge array of productivity functions few phones can compete with, but the overall package isn't quite as finessed as the Galaxy S10 Plus - not to mention its high price tag.

For power users who want a phone that will doing pretty much anything they ask of it, the Galaxy Note 9 is a top choice.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

What's next? Samsung has just announced the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. When we've tried these properly for our full review, they're likely to feature in this list.

Image Credit: TechRadar

What's this? Another Huawei phone in the top ten? Your eyes do not deceive you, the Huawei P30 really is sixth in our best Android phone rundown.

It has a smaller screen than the P30 Pro, and makes do with just the three rear cameras (rather than four) and a maximum zoom of 30x, but it's still a great Android phone.

There's heaps of power, a handy headphone jack (something the Pro can't boast) and a more manageable form factor for one-handed use. And of course, it's a little cheaper too.

Read our full Huawei P30 review

Image Credit: TechRadar

For the first time OnePlus released two top-end phones at the same time, and the OnePlus 7 Pro is the far more exciting device.

Rather than sporting a notch, OnePlus has managed to supply an all-screen front with the help of a pop-up selfie camera that only appears when you switch the shooter on.

It's hard to demonstrate here, but the 90Hz screen refresh rate is better than most other phones on this list. It allows for a more fluid viewing experience in video as well as when you're scrolling through your social media feeds.

The price isn't as low as it was for the first few devices from OnePlus, but this is one of the best Android phones that money can buy right now with an attractive design and top-end spec.

Read more: OnePlus 7 Pro review

Image Credit: TechRadar

If you're looking for a the best camera phone on the market, look no further. The single rear snapper on the Google Pixel 3 XL (and the smaller Pixel 3) is the best we've come across.

You also get a big screen, decent battery life and plenty of power under the hood, making the Google Pixel 3 XL a great all-round flagship smartphone.

The Google Pixel 3 XL marries the best camera phone we’ve ever tested with a sizable OLED screen. It’s the right fit for people who don’t mind the notch cut out at the top and have already adjusted their grip for bigger smartphones in the past.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 XL review

Image Credit: TechRadar

Like the look of the new S10 and S10 Plus, but not a fan of their lofty price tags? Well fear not, as Samsung has catered for you with the Galaxy S10e.

The Galaxy S10e has many of the flagship features of its pricier siblings, while offering a more palm-friendly size and a few compromises to help keep the cost down.

It’s hard not to recommend the S10e to anyone who prefers a smaller phone. Size queens, look elsewhere - this smartphone is for folks who want to text and browse apps one-handed without compromising performance.

Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S10e review

The Honor View 20 is the best phone to come out of the Chinese brand, with a striking rear design (which may divide opinion), plenty of power under the hood, an impressive 48MP camera and a 'punch-hole' display which ushers in the post-notch revolution.

There's a huge 6.4-inch display on the View 20, giving you plenty of space to play with. It's the location of the front-facing, 25MP camera within the screen which is the real talking point though, as rather than appearing in a bezel or a notch which juts into the screen, it's surround by screen. 

The Honor View 20 has a big 4,000mAh and the result is a battery which will comfortably last through an entire day and into the next on a single charge. It's also the world's first smartphone to boast a 48MP rear camera, as the firm has used Sony's new sensor to provide a camera which really packs a punch.

An ultra-high-resolution camera and punch hole screen are the highlights on the Honor View 20, and they set a standard this year’s more expensive phones will need to match.

Read more: Honor View 20 review

Categories: Tech News

Yes, Ice-T is in Borderlands 3 - as a fluffy pink teddy bear

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:18

Borderlands 3 is a pretty big deal, so it's no surprise Gearbox managed to get a famous face (or voice) on board. That's right, the rumors were true, rapper Ice-T is in Borderlands 3.

But what badass role is the legend taking on? Perhaps a gun-toting psycho? Or a wise-cracking vault hunter? Nope, Ice-T lends his voice to a fluffy pink teddy bear called Balex (his parents couldn't decide between Barry and Alex) who is having some trouble with an ex girlfriend.

Well, we say he's a teddy bear. He's actually an AI that's been uploaded into a teddy bear by the aforementioned scorned ex.

Rumor has it

Rumors have been floating around since earlier this year that Ice-T would appear in Borderlands 3. Mainly because the rapper started the rumor himself on Twitter...

We don't want to spoil exactly what Balex's mission involves, but we will tell you that it is a chunky and hilarious mission that we thoroughly enjoyed. 

We recently attend a lengthy preview event for the game so keep an eye on TechRadar as a whole heap of Borderlands 3 content is on the way.

Borderlands 3 is due for release on September 20, 2019.

Categories: Tech News

Misfit Vapor X is a powerful, feature-packed and potentially long-lasting smartwatch

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:00

Misfit has announced its latest smartwatch in the form of the Misfit Vapor X, the newest device in the Vapor line after the Vapor 2, and it's arguably Misfit's most premium wearable to date.

The reason we say that is because it runs on the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, making it one of only a handful of smartwatches to benefit from the enhancements the new processor bring. 

The main benefit of Wear 3100 is greatly reduced power consumption, so your device should last longer on each charge, but it also brings more accurate fitness tracking and advanced ambient modes. In short, it should be good news for the Misfit Vapor X.

Another change the Vapor X has is in design, as it's metal instead of plastic like on previous Vapor wearables. 

Here, there's an aluminium alloy case, which at 12mm is thicker than the Vapor 2, although coupled with its new Sport Strap+, Misfit claims the Vapor X is its "most comfortable smartwatch ever". 

The Vapor X comes in just one size, at 42mm (the Vapor 2 came in 41mm and 46mm), and at 1.19 inches the AMOLED screen is just smaller than the 1.2 and 1.4 inches of the Vapor 2.

The Misfit Vapor X runs Google's Wear OS operating system, as previous Vapor watches have, and it comes with many of the same features too, like fitness and heart rate tracking, water resistance and swim tracking, rapid charging, plus 4GB of storage and 512GB RAM. There's NFC too, allowing for contactless payments with the watch.

In fact, in terms of functions it's pretty much identical to the Vapor 2. The main changes you're getting here are the metal design and the new chipset, which should keep the battery going for longer.

You can pick up the Misfit Vapor X from Misfit's website immediately, where it'll cost you $279 (roughly £230, AU$410) – but if you pick it up quickly, Misfit is offering it for an introductory price of $199.99 (about £165, AU$295), which is a significant saving.

We haven't tested out this watch yet, but when we do we'll let you know our full thoughts on it, so stay tuned to TechRadar to find out how good the Misfit Vapor X is.

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus 7T with 5G support seemingly confirmed by CEO

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:45

We've not heard too much about the OnePlus 7T yet, but the Chinese phone manufacturer's CEO, Pete Lau has revealed that it plans to launch another 5G enabled phone before the year is out.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times, Lau said, "We believe with the development of 5G technology next year we can have an [even] better performance, with the upcoming 5G era approaching, we are going to invest more."

Lau confirmed that OnePlus is looking at releasing another 5G handset in the fourth quarter of 2019.

That falls in line with predictions of an October/November launch for the OnePlus 7T (and potentially OnePlus 7T Pro), following a trend it's set with the launch of the OnePlus 6T, OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 3T in previous years - all of which went on sale in November of their respective years.

The OnePlus 7T had been tipped to launch on October 15, but TechRadar exclusively confirmed that this isn't the case - although we still expect the reveal to happen around that time.

Doubling down in the 5G race

This new 5G handset won't be the first smartphone OnePlus has launched with support for the next generation network, however.

We've already seen the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G arrive in a number of countries, including the UK and Finland, but with its next 5G phone OnePlus is aiming to break into more regions, such as North America.

It won't be the only firm to launch more than one 5G handset this year, with Samsung having already launched the Galaxy S10 5G and Galaxy Note 10 5G, while Huawei and Oppo are also tipped to double their 5G devices before the end of 2019.

A noticable absentee from the current 5G race, however, is Apple, and it looks likely that it won't join the party until 2020. The new iPhone 11 - expected to launch in September - is rumored to skip on 5G connectivity, with Apple instead waiting for coverage to expand before potentially including it in the iPhone 12.

Categories: Tech News

Lord of the Rings TV show: when is it coming to Amazon Prime?

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:41

If you haven't heard already – yes, there's a Lord of the Rings TV show in the works. 

Retailer, streaming service, and production studio Amazon beat off fierce competition to purchase the rights to the books, paying a whopping $250 million (£230m, or AU$270m) for the privilege of creating up to five seasons based on J. R. R. Tolkein's epic high fantasy novels, which lay out a mystical world of elves, dwarves, dragons and hobbits besieged by a great evil known as Sauron (the big eye from the films, remember?).

Amazon, like seemingly everyone else these days, is looking to create the next Game of Thrones phenomenon (there's even an upcoming Game of Thrones prequel) – and few source novels have as much cultural cache as Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings.

But if you're thinking that there might be film adaptations of these books already, you'd be right. Peter Jackson's trilogy of films, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King hit cinemas between 2001 and 2003, making for an iconic piece of cinematic history – and many will be wondering how Amazon's take on Middle-Earth can improve on the originals.

The Lord of the Rings TV show won't be retreading the movies, though. We now know the series will take place during the Second Age, which is a 3,441-year period before the events of the films (which take place in the Third Age). That's a big slice of time, though we don't how expansive a story Amazon will end up telling.

Much like Frodo and his hobbit companions, Amazon is still starting out on its journey to bring The Lord of the Rings to life for the small screen. We know enough about the setting, creative team, and when the TV series is likely to hit our screens to get us excited – and you can begin your adventure below.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Amazon's TV adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle Earth series of novels
  • Where can I watch it? Amazon Prime Video
  • When will it be released? Probably 2021

Details are still somewhat sparse on the content of the show, other than the events being set during the Second Age, which covers the rise of Sauron – the dark lord that crafted the fabled ring of power, which is destroyed at the end of The Return of the King.

We expect Amazon is planning to make all five of the seasons it has the rights to make, meaning we could get a story on a real epic scale, covering years, decades or even centuries of the magical Middle-Earth. 

The Tolkein estate is naturally protective its intellectual property, with the power to stop Amazon from altering any of the canonical events as set out in Tolkein's writings (via A.V. Club). However, Tolkein scholar Tom Shippey – who is acting as a consultant on the TV series – suggests that Amazon will have quite a blank slate to work with:

"Tolkien wrote some of it down, but as far as the Second Age goes, the information we have is a three-page timeline in the appendices to the Lord of the Rings and the List of Kings of Númenor and a little more material in the Unfinished Tales, but that’s about all" (via Deutsche Tolkein).

(Any budding Tolkein cartographers can take a peek at this map Amazon released of the series' Middle-Earth, too.)

Lord of the Rings TV show release date

When will The Lord of The Rings TV show actually hit our screens? Production is rumored to be starting in 2020, and given the intended scale of the series, it's unlikely the show will be ready to stream before 2021. That's obviously a while to wait, but Amazon's ambitious plans for the show should mean you have plenty to binge when it does land.

How ambitious? Amazon's Tolkein consultant Tom Shippey has said that 20 episodes are being planned for the first season (via Deutsche Tolkein). If we assume a 40-60 minute run time per episode, that's a lot of television that needs to be filmed. (And you thought the films were long!)

Lord of the Rings TV show: who's involved?

Let's get one thing straight: you're unlikely to see any returning faces from the Peter Jackson trilogy.

Given the timeline that the show is going to be set in, most of the characters from the movies are yet to be born. Some of the older characters like or Gandalf or Galadriel – or even Sauron – could hypothetically appear. There were rumors of the series featuring a young Aragorn (by Tolkein fan site theonering.net), though that's since been contradicted by the official time period being announced.

We expect the show will find interesting ways to tie into the elements of Tolkein's world that viewers are already familiar with, but given the different production team and earlier sertting, we think it unlikely any actors will be reprising their roles.

We do, however, know some exciting news about the writers and directors involved. J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) will be serving as an executive producer, and also directing the first two episodes of the series (via Variety).

Production design will come courtesy of Rick Heinrichs, who worked on the visually stunning Star Wars: The Last Jedi – while Game of Thrones writer Brian Cogman will be consulting on the series.

JD Payne and Patrick McKay will serve as showrunners, having worked together on scripts for Star Trek: Beyond and the now-cancelled Star Trek 4 movie, as well as 2020's upcoming Godzilla Vs. King Kong.

You can see a video introduction of more of the creative team in the video below:

Lord of the Rings on Amazon: how to watch

Amazon's huge spend on acquiring the rights makes a lot of sense when you consider the wider Amazon ecosystem – as anyone wanting to stream the TV show will need to sign up to Amazon Prime to do so.

An Amazon Prime subscription ($12.99 / £7.99 / AU$6.99 per month) will net you access to the entire Amazon Prime Video library, which you can access through browsers, smart TV apps, streaming devices like the Fire TV Stick, or even smartphone and tablet apps. 

Prime Video includes popular shows like The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Grand Tour, and Good Omens. Amazon doesn't quite have the breadth of Netflix, but there are some worthwhile titles – as well access to the Amazon Music streaming service, and a host of other membership perks.

You also get faster delivery – often only one day – as well as exclusive discounts and offers through virtue of being a Prime subscriber. You can see everything you get for the service – and whether it's worth it – in our Amazon Prime review.

Will the Lord of the Rings TV show be in 4K / HDR?

As stunning as Peter Jackson's trilogy of LOTR films were – with The Fellowship of the Ring nabbing an Oscar for best cinematography – it's been over a decade since the last movie came to cinemas. Video recording equipment has vastly improved, and there's potential for a real visual overhaul of Middle-Earth.

We strongly suspect Amazon will be filming the show in 4K Ultra HD resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), to bring out the landscapes and characters in sharper detail than the HD films.

Amazon was also an early supporter of HDR (high dynamic range) – before Netflix at least – and we expect to see the show streaming in the HDR10+ format used on the Amazon platform, for enhanced contrast and popping colors. Keep in mind you'll need an HDR-capable 4K TV to make the most of those improved visuals.

Categories: Tech News

In Control, you will depend on allies to unlock the mysteries of the Oldest House

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:01

Control, the latest game from Remedy, is all about regaining, well, control of the OldestHouse from the supernatural forces that have taken over - but you won't have to do it alone. 

In the latest of its "What is Control" series of trailers, Remedy Entertainment has revealed some of the allies you'll be working with to solve the mysteries in its X-Files-esque world. Not only should these allies help you defeat the enemies you'll run into throughout the course of the game but will provide guidance and help unveil the truth behind the Oldest House and the FBC. 

If you're unfamiliar with the game, Control puts you in the shoes of Jesse Faden, the new director of the FDC or Federal Bureau of Control - a clandestine group that is in charge of researching and enforcing supernatural events and entities. Think of it like Men in Black, but directed by David Lynch. The game takes place after the FBC loses control of the Last House, basically FBC headquarters, to a supernatural force called The Hiss. 

Its good to see that players won't be alone in their task to regain control over the last house, and it looks like there will be some interesting characters to meet in your time with the game. 

And, it looks like there will be some familiar faces. For instance, Sean Durrie, who starred as Nick Masters in Remedy's last title, Quantum Break, will be returning in Control. He will be playing a mysterious character that "has an interesting connection to Jesse." 

We're not sure what that means, and Remedy isn't being more specific, but we're sure the answer will be as mystifying as the trailers leading up to the game's release.

Control is out August 27 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. And, on PC, it will support all the latest ray tracing technology, provided you have the Nvidia Turing graphics card to back it up. 

Categories: Tech News

Huawei’s Harmony has potential to become ‘national OS’ of China

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 08:51

Huawei’s in-house developed multi-device operating system – HarmonyOS – has the potential to become the ‘national OS’ of China, an industry expert said.

 “Huawei has a big opportunity to scale the OS in China across multiple device categories and to build a robust developer community as the Chinese government is pushing for a ‘national OS’ in a bid to become less reliant on Google and Microsoft,” Neil Shah, Research Director for Devices and Ecosystems at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, told TechRadar Middle East.

Chinese internet players such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent have developed OSs based on Android before but it did not take off.

If the government pushed other big Chinese brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi to develop not only smartphones but also other products such as TVs, he said then HarmonyOS can scale across and it will become more attractive for developers to develop apps.

Chinese brands hold more than 40% of the smartphone market share globally.

According to Counterpoint, Huawei had 15.8%, Xiaomi had 9%, Oppo had 8.1%, Vivo had 7.5%, Lenovo had 2.6% and Realme had 1.3% as of second quarter this year.

Microkernel architecture is the future of OS

Shah said that HarmonyOS is quite disruptive for the China market and by looking at the architecture; it is quite flexible as it is microkernel and it has also opened the platform for its competitors.

“Microkernel architecture  is the future of OS and Huawei is the first major OS vendor to adopt it on a larger scale. Google is also planning for micro-kernel architecture in its in-development Fuchsia OS. Huawei has learned the shortcomings from the current OS architectures such as Android’s monolithic kernel and Apple’s fragmented OS approach to develop a distributed and flexible microkernel architecture,” he said.

The Chinese company said that the OS version 2.0 of its microkernel will be released next year while version 3.0 arrives in 2021.

When the time is right and Huawei has more developers developing apps for Harmony OS, Shah said that developers can take full advantage of the scalability of the microkernel architecture.

Huawei is the biggest player in China in terms of mobile devices and the internet of things devices.

Bigger scope for scale in China

Shah said that launching smartphones in China with HarmonyOS has a bigger scope for scale as there is no Android’s Google Mobile Service in China and Huawei is using its cloud services.

“Huawei has in the next three to four years to build a robust OS in the China market and make sure it is mature enough to go on an offensive and make Honor to launch products running on HarmonyOS and flood the market with different products running on Harmony OS,” he said.

Samsung did a similar thing in the past. Samsung had used Tizen for low-end smartphones but did not take off but the Korean vendor uses it now for smartwatches, TVs and other white goods.

Huawei already has a growing wearable, IoT and automotive business, all of which could be powered by Harmony OS.

So, Shah said that Huawei will have a similar strategy where Google does not have that much play.

“Huawei does not want to upset Google but they should proliferate the Chinese market with HarmonyOS smartphones in the next three to four years,” he said.

Moreover, he said that there is also scope for Samsung and LG, whose market shares are less than 1% in China, to adopt HarmonyOS to grow its market share in China.  

Huawei will face pressure from attracting developers

In the next five years, he said that TVs, smartwatches, smartphones and tablets will see higher proliferation and then in-car infotainment and electric vehicles. China’s BYD is the biggest electric car manufacturer in the world and they may also form an alliance with Huawei.

In 2022, Harmony will come into AR, VR and other head-mounted devices.

The market has seen different platforms in smartwatch (WatchOS, Tizen, Fitbit OS, Android Wear & other proprietary OSs), smart TV (Android TV, Linux, WebOS, Tizen and others), IoT segments (RTOS flavours, LiteOS, Linux, mbedOS and more).

So, Shah said an open-source and robust microkernel-based OS platform has the potential to drive enthusiasm in the non-smartphone space as well.

Even though most of the big developers on board are based in China, Shah said that Huawei will face pressure from attracting app developers from outside of China and they need to do it alone. 

Huawei Mobile Services connects more than 910,000 global developers and 100m users outside of China.

If the Chinese brands take the open HarmonyOS route and build two or three mobile phones globally, Shah said then there is more scale for developers to develop apps for HarmonyOS rather than on Samsung or Apple play stores.

However, he said that the only challenge is that Apple and Google took almost a decade to strengthen its app stores in terms of security and launching it in different markets.

So, he said that Huawei will find it difficult to maintain the app store and in different countries, localization of apps, to get developers to optimise apps for HarmonyOS and integrate other monetisation options via Harmony SDKs at a scale which other OS providers were not able to do – for example, Microsoft with Windows Phone.

Google has reached a stage where it supports many languages but Shah hopes that Huawei will take at least five to six years to reach that level.

Eventually, he said that other Chinese players will have to adopt HarmonyOS as it will give them some leverage over Google as well.

Opportunity to boost its services business

The meat of the Android platform is the GMS while every OEMs have their cloud services and app stores apart from the third-party app stores.

Most of the people in China use a handful of apps as it is restricted. Half of the people spent their time on WeChat and others on Baidu and Alibaba for searching and shopping, apart from gaming.

So, if anyone wants GMS, they can download the APK file and sideload it.

“Anyone can sideload it and Google will earn revenue if someone watches a video on Harmony OS.  The only issue is that Google will not have that much control it had on Android and cannot collect a lot of user data as it is not linked to the Google ID,” he said.

Samsung’s Tizen is a competitor to Android but some of the Goggle apps work on Samsung TVs.

In the end, Shah said that Google, Microsoft and Facebook don’t bother about the platform as long as they make revenue out of it.

With Harmony OS, he said that Huawei has an opportunity to boost its services business – Huawei Cloud, HiLink, Music, Video and others.

Categories: Tech News

Telcos to make 30-35% of revenues from 5G only over a period of five to six years

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 08:42

For telecom operators to make revenues from day one of 5G investment is not practically realistic despite numerous arguments within the industry pointing to the notion that benefits of 5G could outweigh the costs by nearly 3:1.

Bocar A. Ba, chief executive offer at Samena Telecommunications Council, told TechRadar Middle East, that deployment of 5G is an investment-intensive undertaking due to the new spectrum fees and needs and an altogether new infrastructure spend.

According to World Economic Forum, 5G will drive Industry 4.0 in the Middle East and Africa to merge operational, information and communication technologies with cyber-physical systems, enabled by advanced wireless communication and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) services.

This digital and wireless transformation will be powered by 5G networks, which will have the potential to drive economic growth in the region like no previous generation of mobile technologies.

Moreover, he said the current spectrum availability, benchmarking, cross-border interference, device availability and spectrum roadmaps for future availability are areas that are still under consensus-building and harmonisation focus.

 “Absolute costs are substantial, especially with the valid assumption that 5G deployment is for a wide-area network with access to higher bands for capacity, and lower bands (such as 700MHz) for coverage.

“It would cost much less to deploy localised hotspots of 5G, but this might not deliver the social and economic objectives set forth by authorities in the GCC region. Given the current financial climate, every effort should be made to reduce uncertainty in the investment, wherever possible. Large payments or fees for spectrum could also impact on the business case,” he said.

Success dependents on operators and partners

According to an analysis by Samena, revenue increase by up to 30% from day one is not realistic and it would take a couple of years for 5G device numbers to grow to a significant number. “A more realistic model would perhaps have up to be between 30-35% over five to six years,” he said.

So, he said the success of 5G is, therefore, going to be dependent on operators and their wholesale partners developing new markets that look beyond traditional consumers of mobile services.

Mobile operators in the region are preparing for 5G primarily driven by national ICT visions.

In the larger interest of the digital economy, he said that investing in 5G will open opportunities to capture values from new use-cases and widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT).

At the same time, he said they are keenly aware that they’ll have to increase their infrastructure investments in this technology.

In 2018, around 13 commercial 5G networks were launched, including both mobile and fixed wireless deployments worldwide.

As the race to 5G continues, these numbers are expected to triple by the end of 2019.

Multiple network parameters

At a broader level, Ba said the use cases of 5G can be grouped into three categories - enhanced mobile broadband, IoT and mission-critical applications. 

“The success of these use cases is dependent on the performance of multiple network parameters including spectrum, radio access network (RAN) infrastructure, transmission and core networks,” he said.

The deployment of 5G is expected in a time frame of three years from 2019 to 2022, as compared to 4G and 3G which took around six years and nine years, respectively.

He said that telecom operators in the UAE can earn billions from digitisation with 5G.

In the UAE, for example, he said that Etisalat has established Etisalat Digital, a unit dedicated to driving digital transformation “by enabling enterprises and governments to become smarter”.

According to Etisalat, he said the unit has become a major contributor to incremental revenue growth of its UAE operations and will be extended across the operator’s wider footprint.

New mobile bands

According to industry experts, 5G coverage is forecast to reach 45% of the world’s population by the end of 2024. This could surge to 65%, as spectrum sharing technology enables 5G deployments on LTE frequency bands.

Service providers in some markets are also setting more ambitious targets for population coverage of up to 90% within the first year.

He said the uptake of 5G subscriptions is expected to be fastest in North America, with 63% of anticipated mobile subscriptions in the region being for 5G in 2024. North-East Asia follows in second place (47%) and Europe in third (40%).

However, he said the key focus is on new mobile bands including spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range (i.e., 3.3-3.8 GHz) that has been assigned in numerous countries.

“Several countries plan to use spectrum in the 4.5-5GHz range for 5G, including China and Japan, and a growing number of countries are considering the 3.8-4.2GHz range. The fastest 5G speeds will also need millimetre wave bands (24–28GHz) and 39GHz in the US. A sufficient amount of harmonized 5G spectrum in these bands is vital to enable the fastest 5G speeds, low-cost devices, international roaming and to minimize cross border interference,” he said. 

Governments and regulators hold the key to realising the full potential of 5G when they agree new mobile bands above 24GHz at the upcoming WRC-19 Conference in Egypt in October, he said.

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft isn’t killing Paint, but might make it optional in the future

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 08:00

The future of Paint, the iconic app that’s been a mainstay of Windows since the very first version, has been in doubt recently, but a new leak suggests that the app will remain a part of future versions of Windows 10, although as an optional install.

That’s a bit of a downgrade for software that’s been a default app since the beginning, but at least it means Microsoft isn’t abandoning the app altogether.

While the simplicity of Paint has meant that most serious digital artists overlook it for more feature-rich art applications, the app still has a cult following thanks to that simplicity, along with a decent dash of nostalgia keeping users coming back

Optional app

In preview builds of Windows 10 20H1, which is a major update for the operating system that’s coming early next year, Microsoft Paint is included in the ‘Optional features’ settings menu, which suggests that you can choose to install Windows 10 with or without the app.

It also means that Paint can be uninstalled from Windows 10, unlike some default apps that come preinstalled.

This seems like a good move that will please people who still want to use Paint, while giving others the option of not having it taking up space on their hard drive and Start menu.

Via Windows Latest

Categories: Tech News

Why cloud will continue to be hybrid

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:54

For some applications and some types of organisation, a move to cloud makes complete business sense. If there’s a good SaaS service available, such as Microsoft Office 365, it will provide everything you need, be easy to use and the costs will be similar or lower than in-house provision. Today’s start-up businesses can and should run all their IT in the cloud.

However, most large and medium-sized organisations are not starting from scratch, or using a small number of relatively straightforward applications. They have invested time and money in a range of complex and interlinked applications that are critical for their business to function. The majority of these applications will have been tailored to specific needs, and there will be many terabytes of supporting data. Each organisation needs to consider carefully whether it is cost-effective – or even possible – to transfer all these applications to a cloud service.

In my view, cloud is beneficial in many situations, but it doesn’t make sense in every case. Cloud applications are designed around a number of assumptions which may not apply to some organisations and how they work. As a result, a move to cloud is not just an IT transformation – it requires a refocusing of the business, new skills and new ways of working. Organisations also need to understand that there is a higher degree of lock-in to a cloud provider than to an IT vendor, and moving services between providers is not yet straightforward, as their services are not directly comparable. As a result, I believe that for the next five to ten years the future will be hybrid.

By looking closely at the different cloud options available, the reality of a hybrid future becomes clear. The first step should be to look for an appropriate SaaS service at the right cost which the organisation can simply consume, while monitoring it to ensure that the agreed service is delivered. 

This should provide:

  1. An application that can be configured (if required) and into which data can be imported to provide comparable or better functionality to existing applications at a suitable price, paid on a metered basis, ideally per user/per month. 
  2. A supporting infrastructure with an appropriate, fit for purpose SLA that meets business and operational requirements
  3. The ability to easily and cost effectively access, import and export data to other applications for analysis and business reporting.

Using SaaS is like turning on the tap to obtain water, rather than going to a well to collect water which then has to be transported, purified etc. before consumption. Good SaaS provides what you need when you need it, and you’re billed for what you use.

Cloud is also cost-effective for non-live environments where you pay as you use. This includes disaster recovery (DR), where all servers can be held in a suspended state without incurring charges until DR is invoked, and test and development environments, where you only pay when your code runs. All you need to provide is management. It is important to be aware that different cloud providers’ PaaS services have different APIs, so there is some element of provider lock-in. 

Finding appropriate SaaS solutions for niche applications and those which need to be customised to align with business processes is more difficult. Many application providers are developing their own SaaS strategy, but these typically only support the latest version of software, and many cannot accept customised applications or third-party add-ons. This can be a particular problem for local authorities and the NHS, who use highly customised applications. We’ve investigated many apparent SaaS offers for our customers and found that in many cases the vendor will simply park and maintain a dedicated version of the user’s software on a public cloud service while charging a premium price.

If SaaS is not available, the next best option is PaaS, whereby you install your application on top of a managed database service.  This will require your application to be using an up to date, widely supported database such as Oracle, SQL Server or MySQL. PaaS services providing 15 year old Informix or ProgressDB environments are rather harder to find. 

As a final option you could opt to host the existing application on IaaS, which means moving the application, as-is or with minor enhancements, to operate from a cloud provider’s infrastructure. The only responsibilities you retain in-house are licences and support from the application provider. However, there are two provisos. 

First, each provider has different design rules. Working through their menu of choices requires a thorough understanding of your environment, such as how many fixed and mobile IP addresses are needed, whose DNS service will be used, how much data will go in and out of the cloud etc. It’s like choosing separate hub, spokes and rim for a bicycle wheel rather than buying a complete wheel. 

Many organisations do not specify their IT to this level of detail, as they tend to buy infrastructure and use all the capacity available, but in a metered cloud environment a service has be specified extremely tightly to minimise costs. For example, reserved instances are cheaper but have a one to three year lock-in. Spot instances are similar and can be shut down with no notice, so are not suitable for business critical services.

Second, in IaaS the cloud provider only provides hosting, including host and hypervisor patching and proactive infrastructure security monitoring. Any other patching, plus resilience, back-up, security and application support and maintenance inside the instance, has to be provided in-house or by third parties. Any scaling up or down has to be done using the cloud provider’s tools, and this quickly becomes complex when most organisations have on average 40 applications. So managing IaaS is effectively a full-time job.

This complexity should not deter an organisation determined to move to cloud. However, it is important to go in with your eyes open, or to find an expert to go in with you. Alternatively you could choose a managed IaaS service, where a provider handles everything for you and charges for an agreed number of instances per month. Managed IaaS effectively offers your legacy application back to you as SaaS.

A third option is to configure your IT as a private cloud. You can then continue to run it in-house with everything in place to move it to SaaS when a suitable solution becomes available.

After looking at all these options, most organisations will find themselves planning a hybrid future. Some applications can and should be moved to cloud immediately, but others will take much more time and resources, and there are some that simply cannot be moved in the short or medium term: some dependencies will simply require too much work to eliminate. When the choice is between paying say several thousand pounds annually to host an application as it is, or ten times that cost to redevelop it using an open API for cloud PaaS, the balance of benefit versus reward is clear.

 

Richard Blanford is the founder of Fordway managed cloud solutions.

Categories: Tech News

LinkedIn is getting a dark mode, so you can go job-hunting in style

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:53

LinkedIn is about to receive a dark mode makeover, according to findings from app researcher Jane Manchun Wong.

After discovering that Facebook is developing a dark mode for its Android app, Manchun Wong did some digging into LinkedIn's code and found evidence that it's also getting a new, moodier interface.

She notes that LinkedIn's dark mode seems to be at an early stage in development, and not all elements have yet been adapted (some dark icons are almost invisible against the new background, for example), and there's no way to tell when the finished look will be rolled out.

"The time it takes to develop and release experimental features like this varies," Wong said. "I am as curious about the release timeline of LinkedIn’s Dark Mode as you are!"

Dark matters

Companies are falling over themselves to develop dark versions of their apps before the release of Android Q, which will feature its own native dark mode and is due to start arriving on handsets in a matter of weeks.

Creating a dark mode isn't simply a matter of changing a few colors, though. It can throw up some unexpected challenges, as we saw with early versions of Chrome's dark variant, which made it tough to differentiate between regular browsing and incognito mode.

However, LinkedIn might have an advantage here. Its parent company Microsoft is a master of the dark arts, and has created dark versions of almost all its desktop apps, which can be activated by simply changing the main Windows theme.

We doubt there's much crossover between the LinkedIn developers and those working on apps for Windows, but the mobile team could certainly pick up a few pointers from their desktop colleagues.

Via Android Police

Categories: Tech News

AMD’s next-gen Renoir chips could skip Navi for older integrated graphics

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:37

AMD’s next-generation APUs, codenamed Renoir, will be 7nm chips featuring Zen 2 architecture, but there's fresh speculation that the processors will run with Vega 10 graphics, as opposed to Navi (AMD’s latest graphics solution, which was previously rumored for Renoir).

We should make clear upfront that this is far from a certainty, and is based on conclusions drawn from sifting through a new load of patches just released for the Linux driver for the incoming APU, as reported by Phoronix. (Incidentally, APU – Accelerated Processing Unit – is AMD’s fancy-sounding name for a processor with integrated graphics).

The speculation is based on patches that point to Vega integrated graphics, rather than Navi, but the code which was scrutinized merely indicates this, rather than definitely ruling out Navi.

Navi could still be incoming with Renoir, then, but the argument runs that perhaps Vega represented a palatable shortcut here when AMD first began putting together these APUs. In other words, thinking about launch schedules, getting Navi on board would take longer, and potentially have pushed the release out to much later next year.

Timely transition?

The theory is that Renoir with Vega graphics might be delivered in a far more timely fashion in 2020, based around what’s potentially going on here. The current-gen Picasso chips were launched at the very start of 2019, so perhaps AMD has the same goal for the beginning of next year.

That’s a positive way of framing it anyway – Vega is efficient enough to do the job, and Renoir will be arriving sooner as a result. Arguably, AMD doesn’t actually need to stretch itself too much compared to Intel’s (10nm) Ice Lake chips anyway – Picasso is already competitive against these rival processors. So perhaps Navi was viewed as overkill, anyway – and simply making the big move to Zen 2 is regarded as enough?

The alternative view is that AMD should be pushing every bit as hard as it can to take APU turf, and follow in the footsteps of the major success enjoyed by its new Ryzen 3000 series processors.

Particularly given that in TechRadar’s most recent chinwags with Intel, we’ve heard the chip giant indicate that it intends to push harder with integrated graphics – so therefore AMD shouldn’t be taking any chances whatsoever.

Bear firmly in mind, of course, that all the above speculation could be off the mark, and Navi might still be on board Renoir when it launches. We’ll just have to see.

One final point to note here is that if Renoir is going with Vega, according to Phoronix’s uncovered details it will use VCN (Video Core Next) 2.0, as opposed to VCN 1.0 as seen on current Picasso APUs. So we should expect considerably better video encoding performance on the new chips.

Via Tom’s Hardware

Categories: Tech News

TimeSplitters is coming back for another round of multiplayer madness

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:34

This is not a drill. THQ Nordic has announced that the TimeSplitters franchise is officially making a comeback.

Last year THQ Nordic acquired the rights to the TimeSplitters IP, but we've been in the dark as to what the company planned to do with it. Until now. 

In a recent press release, THQ Nordic revealed that the company has hired Steve Ellis, one of the original series' creators, "to help plot the future course for this franchise". In other words, TimeSplitters is definitely making a comeback.

While there's been talk of a TimeSplitters 4 fan project for a while (TimeSplitters Rewind), there's been little in the way of solid details regarding an official new addition to the series. We were starting to lose hope.

THQ Nordic hasn't revealed if the future of the franchise will involve rebooting the series, continuing on from Future Perfect or remaking the original three games but, either way, for the sake of authenticity it's encouraging to see a co-creator on board. 

What is TimeSplitters?

Originally released in 2000, TimeSplitters is a first-person action shooter which sees you traveling through time in a story mode spanning several centuries in an effort to stop an alien race of TimeSplitters from wreaking havoc on humanity, and time itself.

The series comprises three titles: TimeSplitters, TimeSplitters 2 and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect. In each game you time-travel to a particular point in time, and in each time period you either take on the role of (or team up with) a character from that time period, many of whom are stereotypes of pop culture references, such as the sleazy 70s secret agent or the veteran British adventurer. 

On top of the main campaign, each game offers a map-maker, multiplayer arcade and challenge mode.

TimeSplitters was originally created by Free Radical Design, which later became Crytek UK. Speaking to TechRadar in 2012, TimeSplitters developer Steve Ellis revealed that there was no chance we would be seeing TimeSplitters 4 on PS4 or Xbox One, as the series proved difficult to market in the modern games climate. Crytek eventually shut down in 2014 and the majority of staff were moved to Dambuster Studios, hammering the final nail in the coffin of a potential TimeSplitters 4 title – until now.

We can't wait to see what THQ Nordic has planned for the series. 

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus TV to support Reliance Jio streaming apps out-of-the-box: Report

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:31

Reliance Jio is carrying out tests with its streaming apps for the upcoming OnePlus TV. OnePlus confirmed earlier today that its television will simply be called OnePlus TV as had been speculated previously. 

We have a report coming out of 91Mobiles that Reliance Jio is testing "compatibility" of their streaming apps with the OnePlus TV. While we don't have any information on the apps that are being tested and developed for the OnePlus TV, the company officially revealed the logo of its upcoming product range just a few hours back. 

According to 91Mobiles report which cites industry sources, the OnePlus TV could come pre-loaded with Jio's suite of apps at the time of its launch. There are rumours that OnePlus is looking at a September-end launch date for its smart TV in India.

When OnePlus decides to bring its range of televisions (yes, there are more than one!), it would certainly try and provide as much Indian content as possible. With a partnership between Jio and OnePlus, the Chinese electronics maker will have access to decent titles. Not to forget that we currently have no information on the Jio apps that will make it to the OnePlus TV, if any.

This report comes on the heels of Reliance Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2019 which was held on August 12. During the AGM, Reliance announced that their Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service, Jio Fiber is scheduled to roll out commercially from September 5. The service will provide users with a Jio 4K set-top box which will be pre-loaded with major OTT services subscription along with access to AAA gaming titles.

We first heard rumblings about a smart Android TV by OnePlus this time last year. So, assuming that the leaks and information that's coming out of the rumour mill holds to be true, we might see the televisions in person by the end of this year.

Categories: Tech News

Your iPhone camera could get a huge boost with lens attachments sold by Apple

Latest Tech News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:18

The world of smartphone photography is a competitive one, and it looks like Apple's not waiting for the new iPhone to boost its camera offerings, as the company has just started to sell a new range of professional-grade camera lens attachments for the iPhone.

Available right now on Apple's US website, there are three new lenses made by Moment who are one of the leading names in iPhone peripherals. If you buy one, you're also going to need to buy the Moment phone case to attach them to your iPhone.

The three lenses are a 58mm telephoto lens that supports up to 2x optical zoom, which will therefore boost your iPhone's total zoom distance, an 18mm wide-angle lens that will be great for iPhones before this kind of lens was included, and a 1.33x anamorphic lens which imitates a lens on a video camera by capturing lens flare and letterboxing video.

At $119.95 (roughly £100, AU$180), $119.95 and $149.95 (about £125, AU$220) respectively, you're paying a lot for these lenses, but some may consider it a low price for professional-grade equipment.

To use these lenses, you'll need a Moment Photo Case (costs $39.95, which converts to about £35, AU$60), which you attach the lens to. Apple's website sells the cases for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, which are the three latest smartphones from the company.

From the Moment website you can buy cases for all the iPhones since the iPhone 6, so if you've got an older device than that you're out of luck. There are plenty of other iPhone lenses on the market, though.

While Apple only sells the Moment tech on its US store, Moment's website ships to many countries around the world including the UK and Australia, so we could see Apple stores around the world stock the lens attachments soon.

Categories: Tech News

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