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Ridiculously good Amazon Echo Look deal slashes 75% off the connected camera

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 15:27

There's a lot of hype around holiday deals. It's fine to get excited about saving $10 or $20 on your favorite game or Blu-ray, but ridiculously good deals – like $150 off a $200 Amazon Echo Look – are hard to come by. 

That said, for today until it sells out, Amazon is offering its Amazon Echo Look (a style-savvy smart camera) for $49.99 – a 75% discount on its regular $199 MSRP. 

It's going to disappear fast, though! Blink, and you might miss it. (Get it?) 

Want Alexa without the camera?

Not sold on the idea of style assistant? The Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) is also on sale today for a less-impressive, but still-appreciated $29.99. 

While both the Amazon Echo Look and the Amazon Echo Dot come with Alexa built-in, the Dot focuses its attention on playing music, answering inquiries and helping you control your burgeoning smart home. 

It's one of our favorite budget gifts of 2018, and makes a good stocking stuffer. 

Categories: Tech News

The best laptop for writers: the 10 best laptops for authors and journalists

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 14:10

If you’re a writer, or even if you’re a liberal arts student looking for the best laptop for college, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re going to explore the best laptops for writers in 2018, paying special attention to the specific needs that writers and journalists have when looking for their next laptop. Of course, this will include the best keyboards – you’ll be doing a lot of typing, so you might as well be comfortable while you do it. A compact design, long battery life and a display that’s easy on the eyes are all important features as well.

You don’t need top-shelf hardware just to get some writing and research done – the top laptops for writers place comfort and value above all else. And, even if you don’t think you do a lot of writing, you probably do – the best laptops for writers will make emails, reports and presentations so much easier and less painful for your fingers and eyes.

The bonus here is that our exclusive price comparison tool will help you find the cheapest price, so you don’t have to waste precious time digging through the web. If you want to see a more comprehensive list of prices and retailers, all you have to do is click the ‘view all prices’ link on each widget.

The best laptops for writers:

If you’re looking for the best laptop for writers, but you want something with tons of modern aesthetic that’s portable to boot, you can’t go wrong with the Microsoft Surface Go. Sure, you’re going to have to buy the keyboard separate, but once you get it, you’ll have an insanely portable laptop that is a delight to type on. The gorgeous PixelSense display is great for watching some Netflix in your down time, too.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go

Sometimes you just need a sleek machine that’s powerful and portable – and the Asus Zenbook UX310UA is a prime example of this. It’s one of the best Ultrabooks for writers – you’ll get a brilliantly performing notebook that you won’t need to upgrade for years. And, thanks to its ultra-slim design it’s easy to carry around, which will be great if you do a lot of writing while travelling. The keyboard is a decent size which makes writing on it a breeze. Like most laptops fo this kind, you can spec it out to be as cheap or as beefy as you need it to be. Whatever you go for, however, you’re getting one of the best laptops for writers. 

Read the full review: Asus Zenbook UX310UA

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the MacBook Air (2018).

A Chromebook doesn't run Windows, Android or Apple's Mac OS. Instead it's powered by Google's Chrome OS - a super lightweight operating system based on the Chrome web browser. It's a great way to save money on a laptop, and if you're buying a laptop to use primarily for writing, it's a great choice, as Google Docs can be used as a word processor, and you of course also have the Chrome browser for research. The Chromebook Flip is the best Chromebook out there at the moment, offering truly premium build quality, a fabulous touchscreen and keyboard and excellent performance. All while offering great value for money too. 

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip C302
See more like this: The best Chromebooks 2017

Even in the face of the best touchscreen laptops, sometimes you just want a powerful, traditional laptop that feels great to type on. And, while the Surface Laptop 2 does, in fact, have a touchscreen, everything else about it is the culmination of all the best laptops for writers. The    keyboard is tactile and comfy, the screen is the perfect size and resolution, and it’s got plenty of power for all the Chrome tabs you’ll have open while researching. One of the only things that holds it back is the lack of Thunderbolt 3, but with everything else this laptop does right, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best laptops for writers.

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2

If you’re going to an event or traveling, you’ll want to get your writing done on a device that’s both lightweight and capable. And, the Surface Pro 6 is the best laptop for writing on the move. With the latest quad-core processors from Intel and plenty of RAM, you won’t be held back by the hardware. It’s just a shame that you have to buy the keyboard separately – but it’s still worth your time.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Lenovo is known for making some of the best laptops for writers – once you use one of its keyboards, it’s kind of hard to go back. The Lenovo Flex 6 14 is no exception. For a bargain price, you’re getting respectable components behind a beautiful and responsive touch screen. And, it’s light enough that it’s actually bearable to use in tablet mode – more than can be said of some of the best 2-in-1 laptops. If you’re looking for the best laptop for writers that can get a lot of work done on a budget, look no further.

Read the full review: Lenovo Flex 6 14

If you’ve got the cash, the 2018 MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops for writers that we’ve ever used. Not only does it feature an improved keyboard that cuts down on noise and is more reliable, it’s also incredibly powerful. You can spec the 2018 MacBook Pro with a 6-core Core i9 processor and up to 32GB of RAM to power through anything you might think to throw at it. Though, for most writers, even the base model is going to be more than powerful enough to handle any workload you can throw at it. 

Read the full review: Macbook Pro
See more like this: The best Macs

If you have your eyes on a Surface Pro, but you don’t want to spend that much money, the Acer Switch 3 is definitely up your alley. It’s designed around the same basic concept as the Surface Pro and it’s only a little less capable. However, for most tasks, especially if you’re a writer, it’s a brilliant little machine. What’s more, to add further value, this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means little extras to pay for. As usual, it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and an Intel Core i3-7100U processor coming with the more expensive option. 

Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2017 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: Check out a fine alternative in the Microsoft Surface Go.

The Acer Chromebook R11 is probably the best cheap laptop around at the moment, and it's a great laptop for wirters. Like the Acer Chromebook Flip higher up this page, this laptop runs Chrome OS so does away with all the overheads that Windows brings. Consequently it's able to run nice and fast on less powerful components, which means a very cheap price! Its touchscreen is decent, though it's only HD, and it will flip to become a tablet too. What's more, it'll run practically all day thanks to its excellent battery life. So if you're looking for a capable but very cheap laptop that you can whip out and begin writing on, then this one is your best bet.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11
See more like this: The best Chromebooks 2017 

If you’re looking for a laptop that you can fold up and play with when you’re done writing for the day, look no further than the HP Spectre x360. Not only is this one of the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy today, but thanks to the keyboard’s stiff force curve, you’ll find typing is a breeze for any touch typist. And, thanks to its long battery life, you’ll be able to write all day on this comfortable keyboard without having to worry about scrambling for your charger. That’s not to mention the beautiful 4K display, which will make text look nice and crisp with no pixelation. 

Read the full review: HP Spectre X360 

Categories: Tech News

Nvidia Titan RTX release date, news and features

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:48

The Nvidia Turing line of graphics cards has been out for a while, with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 comfortably sitting at the top of the pack. However, Nvidia has recently announced the Nvidia Titan RTX, a high-end graphics card aimed at creatives and professionals.

Nvidia’s Titan lineup of graphics cards has always been aimed at high-end users, rather than the GeForce line for gamers. This means that it carries a higher price tag – especially for the Titan RTX – but much more power than is necessary for 3D gaming.

We wouldn’t advise saving up to buy this card for a gaming build, but if you’re trying to get into video creation and 3D modeling, you’re going to want to keep this page bookmarked. We’re going to dive into everything we know about the Nvidia Titan RTX, and we’ll update this article with any information that comes our way.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Nvidia’s next Titan GPU
  • When is it out? TBD, but likely by the end of the year
  • What will it cost? $2,499 (£2,399, AU$3,999)

Nvidia Titan RTX release date

We don’t have a solid release date for the Nvidia Titan RTX, but it has been officially announced, with a big green ‘Notify Me’ button on Nvidia’s product page. We have a pretty good feeling that this titanic GPU will hit the streets by the end of the year, but we’re not sure. It’s all just speculation up to this point. 

However, Nvidia’s Titan releases typically follow a couple of months after the reveal of a new architecture, which means we are due for the Titan RTX’s release any time now. Don’t worry, we’ll update this page just as soon as we get a solid street date for the Nvidia Titan RTX.

Nvidia Titan RTX price

Brace yourself, because this might knock the wind out of you: the Nvidia Titan RTX will set you back a whopping $2,499 (£2,399, AU$3,999). That’s more than double the price of the already-expensive GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. 

You should keep in mind that this graphics card is aimed at a professional market, but it does come in higher than the last consumer Titan card, the Nvidia Titan X Pascal, which launched at $1,299 (£1,159, AU$1,590). 

However, the Titan V, the card the Titan RTX likely follows, retails for $2,999 (£2,800, AU$4,699). This card is a bit more powerful, but has less video memory (VRAM) than the new Titan RTX. 

Nvidia Titan RTX specs

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Nvidia Titan RTX looks extremely powerful on paper. With 24GB of VRAM and 4,608 CUDA cores, you’ll be getting a lot of GPU for your money. Compared to its predecessor – the Nvidia Titan X Pascal, with 12GB of VRAM and 3,840 CUDA cores — the gains in performance are going to be exponential.

Still, the Titan RTX is a Turing card, which means Tensor cores for AI and deep learning, and RT cores for real-time ray tracing. And, as you’d expect from a card that costs nearly twice as much, the Nvidia Titan RTX absolutely blows the RTX 2080 Ti out of the water. With 576 Tensor cores and 72 RT cores, compared to the 2080 Ti’s 544 and 68 respectively, users can expect much better performance. 

Specifically, Nvidia claims that the Titan RTX will be able to achieve 11 GigaRays per second and 130 teraflops of deep learning performance. The Nvidia Titan RTX, then, should be especially useful for scientists and animators. 

The Nvidia Titan RTX is also compatible with NVLink – the next-generation version of SLI. Unlike other multi-GPU configurations of the past, your VRAM will scale with NVLink, which means two Titan RTX cards will get you 48GB of graphics memory with 100GB/s speeds. 

So, the Nvidia Titan RTX promises to be an extremely powerful card — as long as you can afford that astronomical price tag. 

That’s all we know about the Nvidia Titan RTX right now, but you can be sure that this page will be updated as soon as we get more information – namely about performance numbers. 

Categories: Tech News

Score the latest iPad at the best holiday price we’ve seen

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:26

If you missed this year's fantastic Black Friday deals on iPads, you’re in for a treat: Amazon has a deal that cuts nearly $60 off the pricetag for the latest 32GB iPad, bringing it down to $269. 

Given how rarely Apple devices see discounts – even during bargain seasons – this is a great opportunity. And it’s just shy of the lowest Black Friday price we saw. 

The new 2018 iPad arrived back in October as the latest version of Apple’s main (non-Pro) line.

It features the A10 Fusion chip, which is a modified version of the A10 processor that arrived on the iPhone 7 two years ago. While that’s not quite as advanced as the A12X chips on the new iPad Pro, the iPad 2018 is still plenty fast enough to multitask, play the latest mobile games and browse the internet.

Categories: Tech News

Free Chromecast and £100+ prepaid Mastercard on offer with new BT Broadband deals

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:15

Just because Black Friday is over and done with for this year, that does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that the season of deals is over. BT has come along with a juicy freebie with its broadband deals to prove just that.

When you sign up for BT's fibre broadband or ADSL standard broadband package right now, you'll also get a BT Reward Card of up to £140 thrown in for good measure. That's a pre-paid freebie that you can spend anywhere in store or online that Mastercard is accepted.

Plus, if you're keen to add the BT Sport app to your plan (three months free, then £9 per month), it will throw in a FREE Google Chromecast too.

You can see all of the best BT deals listed below from the Standard package up to the Superfast fibre 2 depending on what speeds you need. All three plans do come with both the Google Chromecast (if you get the BT Sport app) and Reward Card at varying values. These deals end on December 13, so get in there if you like what you read.

BT's great value broadband deals: What is a BT Reward Card?

The Reward Card that BT sends out is a pre-paid credit card that you can use anywhere that accepts Mastercard. In short, that's around a million shops, cafes and restaurants around the world, so you shouldn't find it difficult to find places to spend, spend, spend.

It's an old-fashioned chip and pin card, rather than contactless. But do make sure that you claim your Reward Card within three months of installation, otherwise you'll lose out on all that cash.

What can I do with a Google Chromecast?

The Google Chromecast has been around for a while and is one of the best streaming devices for your TV out right now. It allows you to stream on your TV from your phone meaning you can watch YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or even just share your computer screen on the TV. 

For those smart home aficionados out there you can connect it to a smart speaker to allow for the implementation of voice control. Or if you're having a party it allows for the streaming of Spotify, Tidal, YouTube music and other music streaming services so everyone can join in the fun. 

Today's best broadband deals
Categories: Tech News

Welcome to TechRadar's VR Month

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:08

Virtual reality (VR) is well into its adolescent years, but there is still plenty to learn about this wild new world of entertainment and connectivity. With that, we're excited to present, in partnership with Oculus, TechRadar's VR Month.

This is a special content series of 19 articles that we'll publish throughout this month all about VR. You'll see articles covering everything from how to set it up, which games to buy and what it's like as a method for connecting with friends and family – to name a few topics.

VR Month is our chance to thoroughly introduce you to this new frontier in technology as it begins to hit critical mass in the public consciousness. VR is more accessible than ever, with new headsets not even requiring a connected PC.

So, this is a better time to jump in than any. Let us help you do just that – all December long – with VR Month. Here's everything we've published so far for VR Month, updated every day:

Supported content on TechRadar means the article has been created in partnership with a developer, publisher, manufacturer or other relevant party. When you see this disclosure note in an article, it means that the article idea has been approved by another company – a developer, hardware maker, or publisher – but that otherwise the content is planned, written, and published by TechRadar without any further approval. This is distinct from sponsored content on TechRadar, which is created entirely by a third party, and not the TechRadar editorial team.

Categories: Tech News

Rage 2 release date, trailer, news and rumors

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 04:02

The run up to the reveal of Rage 2 has been somewhat fitting for a game that seems like it’s going to revolve around chaos and anarchy. 

Between leaks, tongue-in cheek teasers and even more leaks we now officially know that Bethesda is going to be following up 2011’s Rage with a sequel titled Rage 2.

From everything we've seen so far Rage 2 will be another post-apocalyptic thrill-ride that will bring players into a world that’s a cross between Mad Max, Fallout and Borderlands. With, of course, the fast-paced shooting we've come to know Bethesda games to have.

[Update: We now have a release date for Rage 2, which is landing on PC and console on May 14, 2019. We also got a brand new trailer at this year's Game Awards 2018: it's just more of the same chaotic, rusted punk palette we've seen before, but that's no bad thing. 

Read on below for the new open-world trailer and everything else we've learned about Bethesda's upcoming madcap sequel.]

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? A sequel to 2011’s post-apocalyptic first-person shooter Rage 
  • What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One and PC 
  • When can I play it? May 14, 2019
Rage 2 release date

Bethesda originally confirmed a Spring 2019 release date, and we now know it'll be on May 14, 2019. Start your engines, survivors.

Rage 2 trailers

Game Awards 2018 open-world trailer

Not much to add at this point, but this trailer is still a fun MTV-meets-Fallout run-through of the dusty neon wasteland.

QuakeCon 2018 extended gameplay trailer

We’ve already seen quite a bit of Rage 2, but the Eden Assault extended gameplay trailer shown during the QuakeCon 2018 keynote gave us a closer look at the seamless open world, vehicle combat, abilities and enemy convoys. 

Take a look:

E3 2018 gameplay trailer

E3 brought us an extended gameplay trailer of Rage 2 and you can watch this fast-paced adventure for yourself:

Official Trailer

Though many people had already watched it through leaked recordings, the official advertisement for Rage 2 has finally launched and you can watch it for yourself below. 

Gameplay trailer

Following this somewhat obscure live action footage, Bethesda went on to release a gameplay trailer which gives us a little more of an idea of what we can expect. 

Overall, Rage 2 looks like it's going to be a fast-paced, chaotic and utterly silly game (in a good way, of course). The trailer promises a more open world, more vehicle gameplay and some seriously big guns. With more expletives than that. Watch it for yourself below:

Rage 2 news and rumors

QuakeCon 2018

The QuakeCon extended gameplay trailer gave us a closer look at the obstacles we'll be facing in Rage 2.

Set 30 years after the events of Rage, Rage 2 takes place in the aftermath of a global catastrophe which essentially turned Earth into a wasteland. Although the world is beginning to recover, with wildlife slowly making a return, the Authority is using extreme measures to shape the wasteland in the way it sees fit – even if that means taking out non-mutant humans.

Alongside the Authority, the wasteland is home to an array of bandits and rebels, such as the hyper-violent Goon Squad and the technologically-advanced Immortal Shrouded. Each faction has its own weapons, settlements, combat styles and vehicles. Some even travel in monstrous convoys - but they're no match for your mortar.

Explore jungle, wetlands and desert biomes on your mission to take down the Authority and cause utter chaos.

E3 2018

Bethesda's showcase during E3 brought us a little more information about Rage 2 and gave us a good glimpse into how it will play. Players will take up the role of Walker, an orphan of the wasteland fighting to survive. In the gameplay footage we saw a wide open world, a look at some seriously cool off road vehicle and some fast-paced, intense shootouts. 

The gameplay trailer

Our most in depth look at Rage 2 yet has come from the gameplay trailer which was revealed on May 15. This trailer confirms that the game will be released sometime in 2019 and suggests that players will be entering a much more open world than was featured in the original title. The combat looks utterly wild, with big guns and super-fast fluid movement. 

As far as story is concerned, information is still pretty thin on the ground but we do know there will at least be one. Bethesda says that players will take the role of Walker, “the last Ranger of the wasteland." As Walker "you will tear across an unforgiving wasteland battling sadistic gangs to find the tools and tech needed to crush the oppressive rule of The Authority once and for all.”

A more open world

The trailer leak

After the Walmart leak, Bethesda managed to claw back some control over Rage 2 with its Twitter campaign which teased a formal reveal and trailer. Only to fall foul of another leak.

Following the teasing that a trailer for Rage 2 would be released on May 14, Gematsu reported that the trailer had leaked in a YouTube pre-roll advert. The trailer apparently revealed in front of several videos tied to gaming on YouTube and outside of Gematsu’s report, Tweets from Wario64 and others appeared online.

The trailer was quickly set to private and anyone that managed to mirror capture the trailer and re-upload it to YouTube has seen their videos taken down. The Twitter captures, however, remain. They show a range of Mad Max-style characters screaming, shooting and lifting weights while plumes of neon smoke billow in the background. 

The Twitter teasing

In response to the Walmart leak, Bethesda did the right thing. It teased Rage 2 by reviving the Rage Twitter account. And teased Walmart. After picking apart Walmart Canada’s font on the leaked game cover, the account started teasing an announcement and trailer for Monday May 14 through a series of images.

Clean up on aisle 6 – Walmart Canada has sprung a big leak 

The first evidence of Rage 2 emerged from a May 2018 leak on Walmart Canada’s website. The retailer published a list of games, some of which hadn’t been announced, to its website. And one of the games which appeared on this list was Rage 2. 

Naturally at this point, Rage 2 wasn’t a certainty since the list did have some spurious titles on it – Forza Horizon 5, for example. However, it also appeared alongside some games we both know are coming such as Beyond Good and Evil 2 and The Last of Us 2, as well as games that haven’t been announced but seem likely such as Gears of War 5 and Splinter Cell. 

What we want to see from Rage 2

It’s been a long time since the release of the original Rage and there have been a lot of advancements in gameplay that we would love to see the sequel take advantage of. 

Maintain the visual quality

If there’s one thing the original Rage got right it was its looks. It was a visually stunning game and very graphically impressive, particularly for its time. We’d like to see the same effort go into this release, particularly now that we’re a few years into the new generation which offers 4K and HDR opportunities.

Keep the combat and AI quality

As well as its visuals, Rage impressed with its combat and enemy AI. It was a first-person shooter with seriously satisfying gunplay and its enemy AI was genuinely clever. Combined this makes for some thrilling gameplay. If the original game could have such advanced AI, we’d love to see Rage 2 continue to innovate in this area and maybe make player movement and action even more varied to keep up with it. 

Make it more open

When it comes to exploration, the Rage game world had a lot of potential but it didn’t quite live up to it. We’d love to see the game world open up a little more in Rage 2. However, it’s worth noting that we only want a large map if it’s going to be filled with interesting things to do and characters to meet. 

Open world games have come a long way since 2011 and recently we’ve seen a wide range of releases which manage to balance open world freedom with a gripping and engaging story as well as strong characters. Without the need to fill maps with pointless check points. We’d like to see Rage 2 try this for itself. 

Thanks to the gameplay trailer revealed in May, we now know this will be a part of it.

Better vehicle gameplay

While the first person shooting in Rage was fantastic, its car combat was somewhat lacking. Thankfully footage in the announcement and gameplay trailers says it's going to be back but we would like to see it improved upon significantly because it could really help Rage 2 stand out from all the other post-apocalyptic games out there. Especially if it does have a more open world.

Keep a single-player element and improve the story

After Rage’s story was criticised, we hope that the developers will try to improve it rather than eradicate it for the sequel. In fact, given the end of the original was somewhat short we wonder if this might be a chance to expand on it and make up for it. 

As more and more games move into always-online multiplayer gameplay, there is some part of us that’s expecting Rage to go the same way. The original Rage did have some co-operative and online elements but we wouldn’t have liked to have played an entire game with just those. 

Rage 2 would, admittedly, be a great game world for a AAA battle royale and we imagine Bethesda is keen to seize on the current popularity of this genre in some way. However, it’s also a great game world for a gripping single-player narrative and we hope that Rage 2 tries to get this right with something that’s a little longer and more engaging.

Categories: Tech News

Google Chrome update blocks fake ads

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 00:55

Google's mission to make the web a safer place continues with the latest release of its Chrome browser which will now block all fake ads.

Chrome 71 will now block all ads on abusive sites that try to trick users with fake system warnings, close buttons that don't actually work and other fake content intended to direct them to ads and landing pages.

The sites using these nefarious tactics won't be blocked from Google's search engine just yet but will be given 30 days to clean up their acts.

Hopefully other browsers such as Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox will soon follow suit.

Additional safeguards

Besides blocking fake ads, Chrome will now also warn users when a site tries to hide the real costs and terms of a transaction.

For example, if a site tries to make users sign up for a subscription without informing them that they'll be charged, Google will send out an alert. 

The company will also reach out to sites guilty of this to let them know that their sites need to be modified. However, before the warning can be lifted, they will have to appeal Google's decision first.

Chrome 71 is now available for Windows, Mac and Linux with the Android and iOS versions arriving in the comings weeks.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Apple now offers USB security key support for Safari

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 00:12

Safari users could soon be able to login to their accounts using USB security keys according to the latest preview version of Apple's web browser.

The release notes for Safari Technology Preview 71 include a number of new features such as dark mode, web animations and most importantly from a security standpoint, support for the WebAuthentication (WebAuthn) API.

Those curious enough to download the latest preview of Apple's browser can enable the feature that allows them to login using USB-based CTAP2 keys.

USB security keys offer a higher level of protection than text-based passwords and make it harder for attackers to gain access to your account through hacking or phishing.

Better late than never

Safari is the last browser to add support for USB security keys as Firefox enabled the feature earlier this year and was followed shortly thereafter by Google Chrome.

A number of sites and web apps also support the standard including Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft's Office 365.

USB security keys gained a great deal of attention earlier this year when Google revealed that 85,000 of its employees had used its Titan Security Keys internally to completely eliminate phishing attacks. In  fact, they were so successful that the search giant now even sells them on its store.

While security keys offer greater protection than traditional passwords, they do require users to carry another device with them at all times but in this case the benefits certainly outweigh the hassle.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Google wants to use AI to deliver personalized news to your smart speaker

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 20:07

In the before times (pre-Internet), it was common for most people to get up to date with current events upon waking up by listening to a radio broadcast. 

However, there were some caveats to this – aside from your chosen station's political leaning, you couldn't really choose the exact kind of news you wanted to ingest on a daily basis, and you were also at the mercy of the station's schedule and ads. 

Now, your morning news is about to get a heck of a lot more personal, with the announcement that Google-powered smart speakers will use the "artificial intelligence of Google News" to "bring you an audio news playlist assembled in that moment, for you" via Google Assistant.

Google has also released a video alongside the announcement that demonstrates just what it has in mind for the future of audio news delivery. 

The search giant is collaborating with numerous publishers across the globe in the endeavor, including The Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and The Washington Post, and has built an open specification prototype in an effort to bring more news organizations into the fold

Google hopes this will lead to users receiving news that's completely tailored to their interests.

"It starts with a briefing of top stories and updates on topics you care about, and extends into longer-form content that dives deeper into more stories," said Google's official announcement, further stating that "At any point in your day when you want to listen to the latest news—as a morning wake-up, during your commute, or while jogging—the Google Assistant will be ready with new stories and updates to the ones you’ve already heard."

According to the announcement, users will be able to use their voices to skip stories they aren't interested in or repeat ones they want to hear again. At present, Audio News is scheduled to roll out to a limited number of English speaking Google Assistant users in the United States.

Categories: Tech News

Controversial anti-encryption laws rushed through by Australian Government

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 19:10

Just a few short days after the Australian Government originally announced its intention to pass new, far-reaching anti-encryption laws before Christmas, it’s made good on the promise, becoming the first country in the world to impose legislation of this nature.

The new laws will allow certain Australian state and federal governmental and law enforcement agencies to request access to a suspected criminal’s encrypted communications. Those requests will go directly to the tech company responsible for the specific encrypted messaging service.

Despite the Opposition Labor party initially stating it would only accept the “unsatisfactory” bill with strict limitations, it has since dropped these demands on the proviso that the government reconsider its proposed amendments when the government next sits in early 2019.

However, this proviso is one based on good faith and doesn’t necessitate that any of the Opposition's proposed limitations – such as reducing the power to only federal level law enforcement – will be enacted by the government come the new year.

Critical reception

The intent of the new bill is to protect Australian citizens from serious crimes such as terrorism, child sex offences, as well as drug- and gun-related crimes. The Australian Government believes that 95% of suspects currently surveilled by spy agencies are using such encrypted messaging apps.

However, critics have panned the laws as being short-sighted and missing the point of encryption. While the government claims that it won’t be requesting any tech companies to build “systemic weaknesses” into their products (i.e. backdoors), there may be little alternative when it comes to encryption, and the terminology used in the bill has been hotly debated.

The new laws will mean that if an Australian agency requests access to what it believes are criminal communications occurring over WhatsApp, Messenger or iMessage, the likes of Facebook and Apple will be legally obligated to decrypt their messages.

Critics of the laws have pointed out that, by its very nature, secure end-to-end encryption necessitates that only the parties involved in a message chain are able to see communications in their decrypted form, and that building a vulnerability (backdoor) into the software critically undermines the security of the entire system.

Global repercussions

International privacy groups and tech companies such as Mozilla, Cisco, and Apple have criticised the laws as having the ability to make the entire internet less secure due to the universal nature of the encryption services being used.

For instance, if Apple is forced to build a vulnerability into its products for the sake of an Australian investigation, this could well mean that the same weakness can be exploited by bad actors – such as criminals and authoritarian governments – worldwide.

Considering the West's recent concerns over Huawei’s susceptibility to similarly invasive laws in its home country of China, Australian tech manufacturers have said they fear they'll receive the same kind of ban when attempting to export their products.

While Australia may be the first to institute such laws, it’s unlikely to be the last, with the US and UK governments both calling for mandatory backdoors in a recent Five Eyes nation meeting.

Categories: Tech News

This Marshall Bluetooth speaker is 50% off on Amazon

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 18:14

Here at TechRadar, our favorite Bluetooth speakers are the ones that both last a long time and can get loud enough to reveal all the details of our music. The Marshall Kilburn does both. You can't go wrong buying a speaker from a renowned manufacturer like Marshall, after all.

If that wasn't enough to sell you on it, Amazon is slashing the price by 50% for its 12 days of deals promotion. That means you can get this beefy Bluetooth speaker for just $149! That's a great deal if we've ever seen one. 

At 9.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches and over 6 pounds, the Marshall Kilburn is one big bluetooth speaker, but with all that added size you're getting 20 hours of battery life and sound that will knock your socks off. It's not going to be the kind of speaker that you carry around in your backpack, but if you're looking for a great speaker to bring to the beach, or some other outdoor event, you can't go wrong. 

Categories: Tech News

This deep discount on this Lenovo Smart Display finally makes it worth checking out

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 17:49

Smart displays made a splash this year with the first big products hitting the market, including the Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant. Today, you can pick up one of the larger 10-inch models for $159 – over 36% off the normal $249 price at Best Buy.

The smaller 8-inch model was a huge hit during Black Friday season, so it’s no surprise that they’re discounting the larger one now.

The Lenovo display works just like a voice assistant-equipped smart speaker – ask questions, voice commands – but the screen opens up much more usage. Put it in your kitchen to display recipes or watch media while cooking and cleaning, in your bathroom or living room.

The Lenovo Smart Display has a 10-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 LCD screen and 5MP front-facing camera for video chat. It runs Google Assistant, which listens in with the device’s dual two-microphone arrays.

Categories: Tech News

5 things your next flagship Android phone will give you in 2019

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 17:34

A new year is almost upon us, and that means there’s a new top-end chipset that’s set to appear in a large majority of top-end Android phones.

The big talking point is the unavoidable topic of 5G, but that's not all we've learnt about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. We're expecting this chip in phones from the Samsung Galaxy S10 to the OnePlus 7, as well as the Google Pixel 4 and more.

Not all of these features are guaranteed for every flagship phone in 2019, though. Each manufacturer may decide to include certain features from the chipset, but this new tech from Qualcomm allows manufacturers the opportunity to include these features in their device.

Below you’ll find our selection of the best features you may get on your phone. If you want a full rundown of all the new features on the new chipset and therefore phones, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Snapdragon 855 here.

5G internet, finally

A note upfront: it's going to be limited at first depending on where you live and what carrier or network you’re on, but 5G is finally on its way with the Snapdragon 855.

We know OnePlus will have the first 5G phone in Europe, and Samsung has confirmed the company is planning to release a 5G phone next year too. Any device that has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 inside will be able to use 5G, but not every phone will have it enabled.

What exactly is 5G? Essentially expect much faster internet in a jump that's bigger than the speed boost you got switching from 3G to 4G. It’s going to be a slow process for networks and carriers across the world to adopt 5G, but it's a step toward having superfast mobile internet on your phone.

A better in-screen fingerprint scanner 

Own a phone with an in-screen fingerprint scanner? If your fingers are wet or slightly oily you may find the scanner won't work, and that's something Qualcomm wants to fix with its next-gen scanner.

The new 3D Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner technology from Qualcomm is meant to be more accurate and will be capable of scanning your finger through water and a variety of different liquids.

It’ll hopefully stop that frustrating moment when you’re trying to unlock your phone in the rain, but the scanner just won’t work. It will also generally speed up how quickly you can unlock your device.

You can watch videos for longer

A new power saving mode within the Snapdragon 855 should allow for more efficient power consumption while watching video.

It's a feature the company is calling Cinema Experience, and it works at lower power to mean playback of video will take up a lot less of your battery.

That should hopefully translate to more time watching Netflix or YouTube, but how manufacturers implement these changes will decide whether or not we'll see any real life usage benefits.

You can be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

The new chip allows phones to support two different wake words for voice assistants, too. That means your phone manufacturer may decide to support two different voice assistants at the same time.

That's something some devices have enabled in the past, but it has been a lot more hassle to get working, since you essentially had to download separate apps and set them up yourself.

The system supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Baidu and Cortana - meaning it isn't likely to work with Samsung's Bixby voice assistant if it's included on new Samsung devices.

Bokeh mode... but for video 

Last, but by no means least, is a big camera improvement. Bokeh or Portrait Mode on your phone is a popular effect that blurs the background of an image. Almost every flagship has it, but 2019 is when it's going to get much better.

A new upgrade in the Snapdragon 855 brings a computer vision ISP. That uses artificial intelligence to allow for a bokeh mode in 4K HDR video. 

It will blur the background of your image in realtime and allow you to focus on the foreground within your video as well as your photos. We saw the feature demoed on stage at the Snapdragon Summit and it appeared to work fantastically well.

If it'll work just like taking bokeh images in real-life scenarios remains to be seen, but it's an innovative new way of shooting video that will allow you to create some incredible effects on your phone.

Categories: Tech News

AMD Ryzen release date, news and features: everything you need to know

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 16:50

Now that AMD Ryzen has been out for quite a while, AMD has claimed a bulk of the market after the successful launch of AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation. And, in spite of some weird product launches, like Threadripper chips bundled with liquid cooling solutions – it’s obvious that AMD has delivered on its promise of processors that not only perform better than ever, but are still affordable, too.

Unfortunately, even though AMD missed a lot of blowback from Spectre and Meltdown, it wasn’t immune: an Israeli security firm, CTS Labs, has released a white paper that detailed several security vulnerabilities that affect AMD’s lineup. AMD has come out and promised to fix these problems, and has mostly followed through. Luckily, AMD has released firmware patches that protect its processors against Spectre and similar exploits.

Luckily, we’ve compiled all of our knowledge here so that you can learn all there is to know about – and what is in the future for – AMD’s Zen-based CPUs.

AMD CEO Lisa Su showing off the new Ryzen 7 processor Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The latest in AMD's high-end desktop CPUs
  • When's it out?  Available since March 2017 
  • What will it cost? Ryzen 3 series starts at $109 (about £80, AU$140)
AMD Ryzen release date

The first of the batch of Ryzen processors were announced on February 22, 2017 and arrived on March 2. The Ryzen 7 series of top-end chips, which includes, but isn’t limited to, the seriously competitive Ryzen 7 1800X, whose multi-threaded benchmarks put it in line with the Intel Core i7-6900K.

In April 2017, AMD introduced Ryzen 5. Among this series is the Ryzen 5 1600X, comparable to the mid-range Intel Core i5-7600K. AMD later introduced its high-end desktop lineup, Ryzen Threadripper in August 2017.

Then, in February 2018, AMD released the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G, which implemented Vega graphics aimed at media center PCs.

Moreover, AMD has formally introduced an entry-level Ryzen 3 series consisting of the Ryzen 3 1200 and 1300X. Both of these were launched in July 2018 and are meant to challenge the Intel Core i3-7100 and the Core i3-7300, respectively. 

Most recently with AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation, AMD has utilized its new 12nm Zen+ architecture that delivers faster speeds than any processor AMD has ever made. Processors like the Ryzen 7 2700X give us a taste of what AMD is going to be delivering on the high end. 

There’s also been a ton of speculation about Ryzen 3rd Generation, premiering at CES 2019, giving us up to 16-core CPUs in the consumer space. This is big if true – we’ll have to wait until 2019 to see what AMD’s Ryzen can do two years later.

A render of what the Ryzen 7 boxes will look like AMD Ryzen price

The Red Team, if you will, has positioned the Ryzen 7 series against Intel’s Core i7 chips, but for far better prices. The Ryzen 7 1800X chip, for instance, is available for $349 (£290, around AU$489). That’s significantly less expensive than Intel’s asking price for its Core i7-6900K.

The Ryzen 7 1700X is marketed as AMD’s mid-range chip within this series, priced at $300 (£260, AU$430), while the Ryzen 7 1700 (no “X”) is available for $290 (£260, AU$415).

Positioned as the mid-range Ryzen chip altogether, the 6-core Ryzen 5 1600X costs $220 (£200, AU$305), though there are more affordable options, like the $189 (£165, AU$265) Ryzen 5 1600 and the $150 (£136, AU$215) Ryzen 5 1400 in the mix as well. 

The Threadripper series consists of AMD’s priciest Ryzen chips, the cheapest of which is the $449 (£375, AU$630) AMD Threadripper 1900X. Then there’s a $749 (£689, AU$1,099) Threadripper 1920X and a $899 (£889, AU$1,399) Threadripper 1950X chip.

Also found within this series are the Ryzen Threadripper 1900, 1920 and 1950, presumably more wallet-friendly alternatives to the “X” monikered chips of the same name. These processors are expected to ditch the clock-boosting XFR tech in favor of more frugal price tags.

As far as the most recently released Ryzen 3 processors go, the baseline Ryzen 3 1200 retails for $109 (£80, AU$140) while the 29% faster Ryzen 3 1300X bears a going rate of $129 (£100, AU$160), making them both cheaper than Intel’s similarly specced options.

And, we can’t forget about the recently released Ryzen APUs – the Ryzen 3 2200G MSRPs at a very reasonable $99.98 (about £71, AU$129.99), while the higher-powered, 4K-ready Ryzen 5 2400G is available from $162.89 (about £116, AU$211). Both are great deals, especially if you’re trying to build a media PC.

An AMD Ryzen 7 CPU hard at work AMD Ryzen specs

Ryzen was designed by AMD to perform well at high loads and be compatible with the latest hardware in PC gaming. To that end, the firm had to develop a new chipset for the processors, the X370 and X300, and a new socket, the AM4.

Yes, that means you’ll need a new motherboard (and a newer OS than Windows 7) for your Ryzen CPU. Luckily, a pretty handful of AMD Ryzen motherboards are already on the market for this very occasion. These mobos support all the same technologies as the bulk of Intel’s boards including the following: 

  • Dual-channel DDR4 memory
  • NVMe
  • M.2 SATA devices
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2
  • PCIe 3.0 capability

Now, for the Ryzen processor architecture itself. AMD says that its goals with Ryzen were “maximum data throughput and instruction execution plus high bandwidth, low latency cache-memory support for optimal compute efficiency.” So, take solace in the fact that all Ryzen processors enjoy these same traits: 

  • Two threads per core
  • 8MB shared L3 cache
  • Large, unified L2 cache
  • Micro-op cache
  • Two AES units for security
  • High efficiency FinFET transistors

Essentially, the Ryzen chips are better at hyper-threading across their eight (so far) cores, enabling more actions per clock than before.

Plus, we already witnessed an AMD Ryzen chip break a world record in benchmarks – albeit under extreme cooling.

High-level capabilities aside, here are the highlights for the upcoming Threadripper chips:

  • Ryzen Threadripper 1900X – 3.8GHz (up to 4GHz); 8 cores, 16 threads
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1920X – 3.5GHz (up to 4GHz); 12 cores, 24 threads
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1950X – 3.4GHz (up to 4GHz); 16 cores, 32 threads

These are the specs for each of the three Ryzen 7 chips:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X – 3.6GHz (up to 4GHz); 8 cores, 16 threads
  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700X – 3.4GHz (up to 3.8GHz); 8 cores, 16 threads
  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700 – 3GHz (up to 3.7GHz); 8 cores, 16 threads

This is what you can expect from AMD’s Ryzen 5 chips:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600X – 3.6GHz (up to 4GHz); 6 cores, 12 threads
  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600 – 3.2GHz (up to 3.6GHz); 6 cores, 12 threads
  • AMD Ryzen 5 1500X – 3.5GHz (up to 3.7GHz); 4 cores, 8 threads
  • AMD Ryzen 5 1400 – 3.2GHz (up to 3.4GHz); 4 cores, 8 threads
  • AMD Ryzen 5 2400G – 3.6 GHz (up to 3.9GHz); 4 cores, 8 threads 

Lastly, the elusive Ryzen 3 chips, in the flesh:

  • Ryzen 3 1200 – 3.1GHz (up to 3.4GHz); 4 cores, 4 threads\
  • Ryzen 3 1300X – 3.5GHz (up to 3.7GHz); 4 cores, 4 threads
  • Ryzen 3 2200G – 3.5GHz (up to 3.7GHz); 4 core, 8 threads 

According to an AMD launch video for Threadripper, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X put Intel’s top-end Core i9-7900X to shame, with its Cinebench R15 test resulting in a score of 3,000 points. The Core i9-7900X, on the other hand, only scored 2,400 points.

That feat, paired with the news that AMD plans on dropping enterprise-focused Ryzen Pro CPUs in the latter half of 2017 and Ryzen Pro Mobile processors in the first chunk of 2018, should be a cause for concern for Intel.

Stay tuned to this page for more of the latest AMD Ryzen information as more news emerges about the forthcoming AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Categories: Tech News

Intel Coffee Lake release date, news and features

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 16:45

Fifth time’s the charm. At least that seems to be the case with Intel’s fifth round of processors based on the 14nm manufacturing process.

After Intel released the laptop-focused Kaby Lake Refresh chips in August 2017, it finally released the 8th-generation Coffee Lake lineup about a month later, along with a fresh lineup of the best motherboards.

What was especially shocking is that even with tough competition, Intel was able to stay competitive, even if it has since lost its lead to AMD.

Even after AMD knocked it out of the park with Ryzen 2nd Generation, Intel and its Coffee Lake processors aren’t going anywhere – especially now that Coffee Lake Refresh is here. Either way, keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll keep it updated with all the latest and greatest Coffee Lake news. 

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Intel's 8th-generation desktop CPU architecture
  • When is it out? October 5th, 2017 
  • What will it cost? From $117 (about £85, AU$145) – $359 (about £265, AU$450)

Intel Coffee Lake release date

Originally, in February 2017, Intel stated that Coffee Lake would surface in the latter half of the year. Intel reassured us of this claim at Computex 2017 held in Taipei, Taiwan.

Later into 2017, the Santa Clara chipmaker came out and teased an August 21 livestream reveal of its 8th-generation processors, which turned out to be a refresh of its 7th-generation processors for Ultrabooks and laptops, called Kaby Lake Refresh.

Intel Coffee Lake was announced on September 15, 2017, followed by the first desktop chips hitting the market on October 5. Then, the processor game calmed down a bit until April 2018, when Intel launched Coffee Lake mobile chips, alongside some big name laptops like the MSI GS65 Stealth. Simultaneously, Intel launched some U-series chips, but they’re only featured in a few laptops.

We also saw Intel’s low-power T-Series desktop chips around the same time – though you’ll more likely find these processor in pre-built PCs rather than on a computer store shelf. 

Back at Computex 2018, Intel announced the Intel Core i7-8086K, celebrating its 50th anniversary, and is available today. This beast of a chip rocks the same 6-cores and 12-threads as the Intel Core i7 8700K, but they’re clocked significantly higher.  

Intel Coffee Lake price

Arguably the most elusive aspect of Coffee Lake leading up to its canonical announcement was pricing. Aside from looking at the processor market AMD Ryzen rewrote, we didn’t have much to base our speculation upon..

Luckily, Intel has revealed a total rundown of the latest 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips since their announcement. And with that reveal, we finally knew that the Santa Clara tech behemoth was going to unleash an entire assortment of processors with a wide range of different prices.

Starting with the cheapest Core i3 chips the Coffee Lake series is priced as follows:

  • Intel Core i3-8100 – $119 (£109, AU$165) 
  • Intel Core i3-8300 – $149 (£139, AU$209) 
  • Intel Core i3-8350K – $184 (£154, AU$246) 
  • Intel Core i5-8400 – $199 (£179, AU$268) 
  • Intel Core i5-8500 – $209 (£199, AU$289) 
  • Intel Core i5-8600 – $229 (£218, AU$329) 
  • Intel Core i5-8600K – $259 (£259, AU$365) 
  • Intel Core i7-8700 – $341 (£319, AU$459) 
  • Intel Core i7-8700K – $359 (£389, AU$524) 
  • Intel Core i7-8086K – $425 (£419, AU$629) 

Intel Coffee Lake specs

Let’s break it down: although all of the 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips are still manufactured on the 14nm node, Intel has proven that there’s still plenty of life in the process yet.

Again, starting from the ground up, the Intel Core i3 chips this time boast 4-cores each for the first time in the mainstream CPU space. What’s more, whereas the Intel Core i3-8100 takes advantage of four cores and four threads running at 3.6GHz, the unlocked Core i3-8350K totes the same number of cores and threads, but instead opts for a base frequency of 4GHz.

As for the Core i5 range, the plain Intel Core i5-8400 is a now a hexa-core monster, bearing 6-cores and 6-threads. Moreover, its base clock is 2.8GHz, and it operates at 4GHz with Turbo Boost. 

Meanwhile the Core i5-8600K also squeezes six cores and six threads into the 14nm chip while brandishing base/boost speeds of 3.6GHz and 4.3GHz, respectively.

Then you’ve got the Intel Core i7-8700 and i7-8700K. The former is yet another 6-core demon, albeit with double the number of threads as the i5-8600K. Its overclockable analogue, the Intel Core i7-8700K, poses a threat to the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, sporting 6-cores, 12-threads and base/boost clock speeds of 3.7GHz/4.7GHz.

Then, rounding out the Core i7 Coffee Lake CPUs, you have the Intel Core i7 8086K, which a 6-core 12-thread chip, clocked at 4.0GHz with a whopping 5.0GHz boost clock. This makes it the highest-clocked consumer chip Intel has released. Fitting way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Intel 8086 processor.

And, following the announcement for the anticipated H-Series Coffee Lake Processors, including the Core i9-8950HK, clocked at 2.9GHz with a 4.8GHZ boost clock, we’re going to see some blazing fast laptops powered by these 6-core, 12-thread behemoths. Intel has also announced a new line of low-powered T-series desktop CPUs that should effectively fill out the budget segment of the CPU market.

That’s all we know for now. We’ve seen a wide array of 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors, including a few Coffee Lake processors for laptops to mark the end of the series. 

From here out, we expect Intel will move on with a new series of 9th Generation Coffee Lake Refresh CPUs, and, who knows? Maybe we’ll actually see Coffee Lake-X or Cascade Lake-X chips eventually.

There still a ton of news to come. Per our usual advice, we encourage you return to this page periodically for in-depth coverage of the latest Intel Coffee Lake reveals.

Bill Thomas and Joe Osborne have also contributed to this report

Categories: Tech News

Catch-up to Qualcomm: how close are Intel and AMD to 7nm processors?

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 16:15

While we’ve all been waiting for the first 7-nanometer (nm) processors for laptops to come from Intel and AMD for years, Qualcomm swooped in to win first place with the Snapdragon 8cx. It’s not only the first 7nm processor for laptops, but the chip is also built on an entirely different architecture supplied by ARM, the leading smartphone processor manufacturer.

Now that Qualcomm is first out of the gate with a 7nm processor for laptops, where does that leave its incumbent competition, AMD and Intel? Now, it’s a matter of determining the silver and bronze medal winners.

Well, let’s just say one of those two is way, way closer to second place than the other, shall we?

AMD – a narrow second place

The Red Team, as its known, is essentially on the cusp of revealing its 7nm processors, and is slated to pull back the curtain on them during CES 2019 – mere weeks away at the time of writing. This is official information, as AMD itself teased the announcement to come during company president and CEO Lisa Su’s keynote.

Furthermore, AMD isn’t just going to show off 7nm Ryzen processors built on its 7nm Zen 2 transistor architecture, but also plans to debut 7nm Vega graphics cards. With this announcement, AMD claims it will “catapult computing, gaming, and visualization technologies forward with the world’s first 7nm high-performance CPUs and GPUs.”

This will not only see AMD meet face-to-face with Qualcomm in the compute world, but also surpass Nvidia’s first 12nm architecture for graphics, Turing. As for Intel, well, that’s another story.

Intel – a distant third place

Now it’s time to bring out the violins for the Blue Team. Intel has experienced great challenges in bringing its transistor manufacturing process down from 14nm, where the company has been for several years. Intel has iterated on this process to great effect over the past few years, but has struggled to shrink those transistors down in a scalable way.

For instance, Intel’s true successor to its 14nm processors, a 10nm processor known widely as Cannon Lake, has been delayed twice since its originally-scheduled 2016 release. At this point, we don’t expect to see a wide variety of laptops with these 10nm processors inside – a scant few are available now in low-end devices, while we're still waiting for 10nm Intel Core parts – which might not arrive until the end of 2019.

Furthermore, the next phase of processors in line after Cannon Lake is an iteration on its long-delayed 10nm process known simply as ‘10nm+’, or Ice Lake. These surely won’t see the light of day until 2020, considering Intel’s delay of Cannon Lake and that Ice Lake is said to be an improvement upon that existing 10nm process.

With that, you can imagine just how far we are from Intel processors with 7nm transistors inside. 

However, according to comments made by Intel recently which Anandtech picked up, the company is back on track with its 7nm manufacturing process. In fact, Intel said that its 7nm initiative has been underway alongside the 10nm project, implying that we could see these tinier chips follow much more closely behind 10nm parts than we previously thought.

Regardless, Intel will have to give Cannon Lake and Ice Lake some breathing room if it wants to make any return on that manufacturing cost, much less the research and development costs. So, at the very earliest, perhaps we’ll see 7nm Intel chips in year-end 2020.

There you have it: exactly how close AMD and – roughly how close – Intel are to meeting Qualcomm with 7nm processors. The next battle? Which 7nm processor will be the best.

Categories: Tech News

Why don't we know the US carrier for the 5G OnePlus 7? There isn't one yet

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 15:01

Yesterday OnePlus confirmed it would be the first company to release a 5G phone in Europe, but we've yet to hear how the company plans to release a 5G handset in the US.

TechRadar exclusively asked Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, why the company had only announced its partner for Europe. Lau confirmed it's because there isn't one set in stone yet for the US.

"We don't have a set plan in place, and it's something that's very much determined by carrier network and carrier status," said Lau.

"5G for us is a very important strategic direction and it's something we feel we can do a lot with in this space, so we will be discussing this as a strategy with more [US] carriers to see what can be realized."  

Unclear right now

So far we only know the company will be launching its 5G handset with EE in the UK.

Lau also confirmed the company plans to release two variants of its next phone, with one that has 5G and one that is 4G. He also confirmed the 5G variant of the phone is set to cost $200 to $300 more than previous OnePlus handsets. That would raise the 5G OnePlus handset price from $549 to between $749 and $849.

One thing Lau didn't confirm is the name of the 5G phone, although we do expect it to be called the OnePlus 7 and launch early next year with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset inside.

Why US carrier support is even more important

OnePlus phones in the US have traditionally launched unlocked and at full price. But for the OnePlus 6T, the company went with the more typical route by launching with a carrier: T-Mobile. It sold the phone through a monthly plan with the carrier, though it was still available unlocked through official OnePlus channels. 

The thing is, American consumers often buy expensive flagship phones through a contract with their carrier. They pay off their device over the course of two years. If the OnePlus 7 is in fact up to $300 more and taking advantage of carrier-dependent 5G speeds, partnering with a US network is going to be even more important in 2019.

Categories: Tech News

This Spider-Man PS4 deal is great, but there’s a catch

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 14:58

While there were a number of fantastic deals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, Spider-Man on PS4 wasn’t among them. Well, OK, there was that great PS4 bundle that included Spider-Man, but that sold out in seconds…

To make up for last time, both Amazon and Walmart are offering a substantial discount on one of the PS4’s best games today: $20 off Spider-Man on PS4.

Unfortunately, there's a catch. Because this is such a good deal and so many gamers have already taken advantage of it, Amazon is back-ordered until mid-January. 

If you don't mind not having Spider-Man under the tree this year, then it's still a fantastic, amazing, astounding ... you get where I'm going with this ... deal, but thankfully, Walmart has it in-stock right now. 

Categories: Tech News

Vodafone Business rebrand highlights strategic focus in 5G era

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:06

This week Vodafone rebranded its B2B unit from Vodafone Enterprise to Vodafone Business. It’s a subtle change but one that reflects the Newbury-based operator’s focus as it continues to grow its Internet of Things (IoT) division and rolls out 5G networks in key markets.

The company has repeatedly complained about intense competition and strict regulations in Europe that have impacted the performance of its mobile unit and has looked at converged networks and business applications as a source of growth.

In the first half of 2018, Vodafone Business accounted for 30 per cent of the Group’s service revenues.

Vodafone Business

The transition from Vodafone Enterprise to Vodafone Business was motivated by a desire to increase awareness of the brand as it adds more services to its portfolio and to encourage businesses mobile customers of all sizes to take out additional products.

Vodafone Enterprise previously had no customer-facing logo and appointed Iris Meijer as chief marketing officer to spearhead the rebrand. A new marketing campaign focusing on business outcomes has been created, with creatives appearing at Heathrow Airport before Christmas, says The Drum.

“Customer centricity is a concept that has stood the test of time. When we began to explore the idea of our brand refresh, reaching out to our customers from the home office to the boardroom, each was worried about the same thing: digital transformation,” said Meijer.

“We have known for some time that our customers want a partner to join them on their digital journey, a partner they can trust. We are already very proud to fulfil that role, and as Vodafone Business we now have a refreshed brand to represent that partnership.”

Vodafone Business is targeting multinationals who can take advantage of Vodafone’s global footprint, government customers, and vertical industries such as health, logistics and automotive, hoping to cross-sell mobile, fixed, IoT and cloud computing services.

IoT is a huge focus for Vodafone, which has the largest number of IoT customers of any operator in the world, with connections rising 28 per cent to 77 million in the most recent quarter. It was one of the main driving forces behind the standardisation of Narrowband-IoT (Nb-IoT) and offers a range of IoT products for customers such as surveillance and energy management systems.

The potential of 5G

It is IoT and 5G that offer the most potential. After 4G failed to open up the new revenue streams that operators thought it would, 5G is seen as a way to add additional services rather than just be ‘dumb pipes’.

5G networks will bring ultrafast speeds and greater capacity but it is the low latency that has operators excited as it will facilitate the creation of entirely new business applications. Meanwhile the GSMA predicts that just 5 per cent of the £830 billion worth of IoT revenue up for grabs will be generated by connectivity – meaning operators need to identify new services and products.

Vodafone’s rebrand is not only designed to increase awareness of its wares but also to reiterate the fact that organisations of all sizes – not just enterprises – can benefit.

The company is of course not alone in chasing the business market. In the UK, BT- EE will target enterprises in its 5G rollout, while O2 has sought to estimate the savings on offer for local councils.

But ever since Vodafone made the first mobile phone call in the UK in 1985 it has developed a reputation for being a significant business operator whose tentacles extend to all parts of the globe. It hopes this reputation will see it maintain this advantage as the industry enters the next stage of its evolution. 

It has also published its 2019 Global Trends Report, highlighting people-centric technology, AI and ethics as key topics for the next 12 months, in a bid to demonstrate this awareness of business needs.

“Our research has identified the key concerns, challenges and opportunities that businesses will face over the next year,” added Brian Humphries, Vodafone Business CEO.

“In an era of unprecedented change, the most important factor for businesses – customer centricity. Placing people at the heart of business is the trend we truly identify with and is core to Vodafone Business, running through all of our products and services, from technologies such as IoT and SD-WAN through to our approach to relationships with customers.”

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