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Hackers used Apple tech to put malicious apps on iPhones

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:46

Software pirates have figured out how to bypass Apple's App Store to distribute hacked versions of popular paid apps including Spotify, Angry Birds, Pokemon Go, Minecraft and others to iOS users.

TutuApp, Panda Helper, AppValley and TweakBox are just a few of the illicit software distributors that have discovered how to use digital certificates to gain access to a program Apple instituted to allow enterprises to distribute their internal apps to employees without going through the App Store.

If this sounds familiar, it should because Facebook and Google were both recently caught misusing enterprise developer certificates to distribute their apps to consumers in a similar way that bypassed Apple's strict app review policy.

These pirate operations are using similar tactics to provide consumers with modified versions of popular apps that let them stream music without ads and get around fees and rules in games.

Pirate apps

Pirate app distributors are not only depriving Apple and app developers of revenue, they are also violating the rules of the iPhone maker's developer programs.

To make matters worse, the company has no way of tracking how its enterprise certificates are being handed out  or how many of its phones are using improperly modified apps but it does have the ability to cancel the certificates after finding they've been misused.

An Apple spokesperson provided more details on how these apps are in violation of its developer program to Reuters, saying:

“Developers that abuse our enterprise certificates are in violation of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program Agreement and will have their certificates terminated, and if appropriate, they will be removed from our Developer Program completely. We are continuously evaluating the cases of misuse and are prepared to take immediate action.” 

Apple does have a countermeasure readied to deal with the blatant misuse of its enterprise certificates and the company will require two factor authentication to log into all developer accounts by the end of this month.

Via Reuters

Categories: Tech News

The GDPR paradox: how data regulation creates revenue streams

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:00

The global installation base for home smart speakers is predicted to grow to 225 million by 2020. The much-vaunted 5G telecoms rollout promises leaps in Internet of Things and smart city innovation. Wearable fitness technology increasingly goes beyond step counting and heart rate monitoring to provide deep insights into our health.

As the huge data sets that companies can now leverage become ever more integrated into consumer-facing products – and as the hype dies down following last May’s General Data Protection Regulation deadline – one could be forgiven for expecting data regulation compliance efforts to be low on the list of priorities for 2019. As the GDPR, like the cookie notice, becomes an accepted part of everyday life, surely our collective attention will turn back to shiny innovation?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

More than compliance

In fact, the journey towards compliance is only just beginning. This is partly because few were ready for the GDPR when it came into force. On one side, businesses were not prepared: as of last May over 80% of organisations had not yet completed basic data discovery exercises to assess the scale of the task. On the other side, the regulation could not yet be suitably enforced: 17 of 24 European Data Privacy Authorities did not have the powers or funding to enforce GDPR when it came into effect.  

However, as organisations progress towards data regulation compliance in 2019 they will find that there is more at stake than avoiding fines and reputational damage. While these risks are very real, they mask the potential opportunities within companies’ data.  

For example, businesses often have vast amounts of data stored in silos which are disconnected and difficult to reach, or have databases with significant amounts of redundant, obsolete, and trivial data (ROT). The necessary data discovery exercise which must precede the development of data regulation compliant systems is also an opportunity to bring disparate data silos together, while the GDPR directly necessitates the elimination of ROT. As they move towards cloud-based data management, companies are finding that this exercise also simplifies and minimises the data they need to store, leading to faster migration and reduced storage costs.  

Similar efficiency savings, following an upfront investment cost in compliance, can be seen in the reduction of man-hours needed to complete data discovery tasks, such as freedom of information requests. They can also lead to a reduction in cyber insurance premiums, due to the potential for more thorough risk assessments.  

GDPR’s competitive advantage

So data regulation compliance might inadvertently lower overheads, but what about the other side of the balance book: how can it possibly raise revenue? While the GDPR has historically been a slow train – in the process of arriving ever since the launch of the GDP Directive in 1995 – it finally pulled into the station at an opportune moment, just as consumer awareness of data privacy issues peaked due to a series of major, well-publicised data breaches. In this context, being able to claim GDPR compliance, as a well understood public marker of data safety, provides a competitive advantage.

In a business to business context, companies are also coming to realise that data processing, as something in universal demand, is also a saleable commodity. Acquiring the technology required to manage the full data life cycle - from on-boarding, through access management to final cleansing - can entail a significant investment of time and money. At the same time, products generally sold on a one-time payment basis, such as OEM parts, will often have their own data life cycle as they collect and utilise user data. As such, offering to manage the data life cycle of manufactured products can be a value-added proposition which generates continued revenue on top of what would typically be a one-off exchange. Major organisations which operate as a hub for many smaller businesses, such as airports and local authorities, can also directly offer privacy-processing-as-a-service to the companies they support.

Paradoxically, then, the seemingly punitive GDPR, which promises major fines and huge reputational damage as a consequence of non-compliance, does not simply constitute an additional cost burden which threatens to limit revenues. Rather, those companies which adopt data regulation procedures quickly and efficiently will be the first to reap the rewards of greater operational efficiency and, ultimately, new revenue streams from data and data processing. In 2019, expect to see a shift in thinking around data and privacy. 

David Kemp, Business Strategist, Secure Content Management at Micro Focus

Categories: Tech News

Best website builder of 2019

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:50

Website builders have been around for decades but a new generation now exploit new technologies like responsive and mobile platforms. A website builder can help individuals or businesses build anything from a simple single-page site to a professional web store, even if you've no design or HTML experience at all. 

Whether you're a sole trader or a multinational corporation, just about every business needs an online presence – in other words, a website. A growing number are adding bells and whistles like an email list or form facility, domain name registration and much more.

Even if you don't sell products online a site can help people find you, learn more about your skills and services, and provide a way to share your details with other potential customers. It's like having a permanent, always-on-call personal assistant, ready to answer queries. And it can even be free

More experienced users can customize and fine-tune the design to suit their own needs, or perhaps install a more traditional web design package that allows them to build the perfect site from scratch.

There are free options, but these often have major restrictions, including limits on the size of the site and the lack of any ability to use your own domain. Fortunately, the commercial options are very reasonably priced, from around £5/$5 to £10/$10 a month, with hosting included.

To help you decide which option is best for your needs, we’ve picked out the cream of the crop: these are the five top players in the website building world right now. 

Wix has more than 100 million registered users

Wix is one of the most popular online website creators, offering a range of plans and products. The free version has Wix branding, limited storage space (500MB) and bandwidth, but move up to the most popular plan (unlimited) and there’s no Wix ads. You get unlimited bandwidth (hence its name) and 10GB storage, along with a free domain, Google Ad vouchers and much more. The e-commerce plan adds an online store along with 20GB storage for a reasonable $16.50 (£12.30) per month.

An excellent collection of 500 plus templates gets the design process off to a quick start. The drag-and-drop editor gives you all kinds of tools and features to explore – an image editor, video backgrounds, animations, social buttons, an integrated site blog – and just about everything can be tweaked, tuned and restyled.

All the core editing functions are really smartly designed, and operate more like a native app than your average website builder. Wix does have some weaknesses, with tech support seeming a little sluggish and limited in some respects. But there’s no denying that the superb editor and range of top-notch templates make it easy for web building novices to create something impressive.

1&1 IONOS is one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world

There’s a lot to like here in terms of a powerful drag-and-drop editor bristling with professional features and highly customizable templates, but at the outset, let’s make it clear that this isn’t the cheapest service around.

There’s no free plan (or indeed trial – although there is a 30-day money-back guarantee), and the most basic plan is priced at $1 (£0.75) a month for first six months, rising to $7 (£5.40) afterwards. That gives you unlimited pages and web space, a simple integrated blog, limited SEO settings, plus website backup and restore, so it’s a touch pricey for what you get.

That said, 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite offers a wide range of responsive templates, and an editor which provides loads of potential adjustments and tweaks, all with plenty of visual feedback and context-sensitive menus to help streamline the whole process. What’s clever here is that the top-level stuff is easy to use and understand for beginners, yet expert users can dive more deeply into the menus to really play around and customize elements. You also get your own personal consultant free of charge.

Other highly useful features include the ability to point to your old website in order to import media content from there straight into your new site. This could be a huge timesaver for some. There’s no e-commerce plan here, but there is a separate Pro plan for that functionality (starting at  $1 – £0.75 – a month for the first six months, rising to $20 - £15.40 a month).

Weebly is one of the few website builders that offer a free hosting tier.

Weebly is another big name in the website building world which offers a powerful editor and capable set of features. There’s a free plan, which like Wix limits space to 500MB and imposes ads on your site.

However, if you move up to the Professional plan – at $12 (£9.5)  a month – the ads and storage limit are dropped, plus you get a free domain, and even support for a web store containing up to 25 products. The supercharged Business plan lets you create sites with unlimited web store products and high-end store features like product reviews and discount coupons, retailing at $25 (£19) a month.

The service offers hundreds of professionally-designed web templates, covering just about any site type. The drag-and-drop editor is neatly designed, although you don’t get full control over where you can position elements on the page, and the interface can seem a little cluttered. A further niggle is that there is no global Undo feature.

Like Wix, we found tech support was a little wobbly in terms of sluggish responses, but Weebly offers a host of powerful features, some very stylish templates, and easy access to free images for your site is another definite boon.

As we’ve seen, many a website builder pitch themselves towards novices and making life easy for the less site-savvy out there, but what about experts who want powerful low-level control? Those are the users Voog has in mind.

So you don’t get many templates here, for example, and there’s the bare minimum of media support – but what you do get is a compact drag-and-drop editor which does its best to stay out of your way. There are weaknesses here, and the interface is somewhat clunky in respects – and it’s another which lacks a global Undo function – but it has some real power you can drill down into.

For example, clicking a text box gives you the option to use bullet-point lists, insert tables or videos, or even edit the HTML source to customize effects. Voog also lets multiple users easily collaborate on a site project, and if you’re after nifty, unusual features like these, you won’t see them elsewhere.

The entry-level Starter plan is priced at $7.40 (£5.30) per month (billed annually) and gives you 2GB storage, and all the core features you’ll need, including SSL security (although it’s limited to 30 pages). If you know what you’re doing in terms of website design, and want some true power and customization capabilities, there is a 30-day trial you can check out (no credit card details needed).

Jimdo is a somewhat quirky website builder targeted largely at novice users, but it’s well worth your attention for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a free plan which boasts more than the average offering.

Yes, there are the usual limitations including adverts, a 500MB storage limit, no custom domain, and very limited SEO. But there are a few features you won't get in other free plans, like a password protected area, for example.

The site editor itself is simple and consistent, even if it’s somewhat unconventional in terms of its design. Also, the editor doesn’t have as many functions and features as some rivals. For example, there aren’t that many templates, and the widgets on offer aren’t as plentiful as you might find elsewhere – plus there’s no global Undo (although Jimdo isn’t alone in this respect).

Another neat touch is a good web knowledgebase which means help is generally close at hand when it comes to troubleshooting. Overall, this is a compelling product, that is well worth giving a whirl.

You might also want to check out our other website hosting buying guides:

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 release date, price, news and leaks

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:40

Update: The Samsung Galaxy S10 release date has been confirmed as March 8 by Samsung, on its own website.

There's less than a week until the Samsung Galaxy S10 launch event, but it seems we already know pretty much everything there is to know about the handset.

We've witnessed some sizable Galaxy S10 leaks in recent weeks, which appear to reveal the whole spec sheet for Samsung's new flagship smartphone, potentially leaving very little for the South Korean firm to wow us with on February 20.

However, it looks almost certain that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will arrive alongside the Galaxy S10 Plus and more affordable Galaxy S10e, and rumors persist around a 5G-enabled Galaxy S10 X and foldable Galaxy X.

We also know when you'll be able to get your hands on the Samsung S10, as its March 8 release date has been revealed on Samsung's US website.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is shaping up to be a more significant upgrade compared to last year's relatively incremental spec bump from the Galaxy S8 to the Galaxy S9

The Samsung S10 is rumored to have a fresh-looking all-screen display with less bezel at the top. Not only that, it may have 'punch-hole' front-facing camera embedded in the screen's top right corner. 

We may also see Samsung adopt an in-screen fingerprint sensor and be the first to launch a phone with the Snapdragon 855 chipset (in the US variant, at least).

Seems like a lot all at once? We're less than a week out there are loads of leaks to pour over. After all, the Galaxy S10 is Samsung's 10th anniversary Android phone, so no wonder there's a bit of a fuss around it.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Samsung's next Galaxy S flagship
  • What will it cost? It's sure to be very expensive
  • When is it out? February 20 launch, March 8 release
Samsung Galaxy S10 release date

Hottest news:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 launch date: February 20
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 release date: March 8

Image Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy S10 launch date is confirmed as Wednesday, February 20, meaning we'll see the smartphone days before MWC 2019, which takes place from February 25-28.

Samsung revealed the date, along with the time and location: the Galaxy S10 will be unveiled at 11am PT (2pm ET, 7pm GMT) at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

We now also know the Samsung Galaxy S10 release date, which is March 8, after Samsung opened up pre-orders on its US website.

That fits with earlier rumors pointing to a March 8 Galaxy S10 release date in South Korea and Italy.

That's for the three main models (the S10, S10e and S10 Plus). However the source adds that the 5G S10 - which might be called the Galaxy S10 X - will land in stores on March 29.

The Samsung S10 is likely to be sold by EE in the UK, as the network already lets you register for updates on it. That said, we'd expect just about all networks to offer one or more models of the S10.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy S10 price

Hottest leaks:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 price expected to rise to $779 / £799

When the Samsung Galaxy S10 does go on sale it's sure to cost a lot. 

One Samsung Galaxy S10 price rumor suggests the cost of the handset will rise to £799 (around $779, AU$1,400) for the 128GB variant and £999 for 512GB of storage.

Another source points to a price of €929 (around $1,055 / £820 / AU$1,475) for the standard Samsung S10 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, rising to €1,179 (around $1,340 / £1,040 / AU$1,875) for a version with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. 

More recently, an extensive leak has the Samsung Galaxy S10 price starting at €899 for the 6GB/128GB configuration and rising to €1,149 for the 8GB/512GB model.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy S10 price is all but guaranteed to rise over the asking price of the Galaxy S9 - so you might want to start saving.

In the UK? Read more about our Samsung Galaxy S10 deals predictions and pre-register your details at the links below to get all the best early pre-order prices sent straight to your inbox:

Samsung Galaxy S10 design and display

Hottest leaks:

  • Camera cut-out in the screen
  • 19:9 aspect ratio and 1440 x 3040 resolution

One of our best looks at the likely design of the Samsung Galaxy S10 comes from a series of photos showing it alongside the Galaxy S10 Plus.

You can see these below. Details about the standard S10 include a single-lens punch-hole camera on the front, tiny bezels above and below the screen, a triple-lens camera on the back, and a USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone port and speaker on the bottom.

Most recently we've seen a picture of the Galaxy S10 shared by renowned tipster Evan Blass, which gives us a full look at the front and the back of the phone. If you want to know what the Galaxy S10 will look like, here you go.

Samsung Galaxy S10 leak (credit: Evan Blass)

These followed hot on the heels of other images, shared on Twitter, which showed a matching design and also revealed the S10's built-in cryptocurrency support.

Before all this, the first alleged Samsung Galaxy photo arrived as we rang in 2019, and it once again matches up, showing a more expansive all-screen display, one that displaces the top bezel in favor of a tiny front-facing camera embedded into the top right side of the screen.

This is Samsung's answer to the notch cut out, and you can expect the company to come up with a clever name for this black hole that disrupts its Infinity Display.

Further Galaxy S10 leaks, which you can see below, show off the S10 in a pearly white shade, as well as both the S10 and S10 Plus in black.

The shots of the phone in black are apparently non-functioning dummy units, but the design should be accurate.

Evan Blass also leaked the image you can see below, showing three Galaxy S10 phones – the S10E, the S10 and the S10 Plus – inside clear cases.

It looks like the S10 Plus has a dual-lens front-facing camera – note the wider pinhole cut out in the display.

Samsung Galaxy S10 trio leak. Image Credit: Evan Blass

We've also seen a render from Samsung itself that possibly shows the phone. You can see this below and note the curved screen, tiny bezels and pinhole camera.

This was posted in an article on Samsung Newsroom, then quickly replaced with a more generic picture, suggesting it was an accident.

This could be an accidental official look at the Samsung Galaxy S10. Image Credit: Reddit / qgtx

These leaks match previous case renders which include parts of the phone. You can see them below and will note that there's a cut-out in the top left corner of the screen for a single-lens camera, while on the back there are three cameras. That back looks to be glass and the frame is likely metal.

You can also see it alongside the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite (which sports a similar design) and the S10 Plus, which adds extra cameras.

We may also have now seen photos of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, which you can see below. Two leaked images both show a handset with two rear cameras, but the color of the camera block and possibly the size of the lenses differs.

That might mean only one of these shots is accurate, or we could be looking at the standard Samsung Galaxy S10 in one and the Galaxy S10 Plus in the other.

In any case, cameras aside the back is likely to be similar on both handsets and indeed it looks similar in these shots, with slightly curved edges and a likely glass build.

Image Credit: SlashGear / Weibo

We'd take all of this with a pinch of salt and as this is probably the Plus model it might not be entirely representative of the standard S10.

They are likely to look similar though, and according to Samsung's own mobile business chief, DJ Koh, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will have some "very significant" design changes and come in some "amazing" colors.

One leak from OnLeaks suggests those colors may be Black, Grey, Blue, Red, Green and Yellow, while in announcing some software Samsung may have hinted that the phone will come in silver, green, black, blue and pink shades and will have a 3.5mm headphone port.

Another source meanwhile says the standard S10 and S10 Plus will come in white, black, green and blue. We've heard that claim more than once now, along with a suggestion that it might have a glossy finish.

We've also heard that the whole S10 range will come in black, white and sea green, but that some models will be offered in additional shades.

An extensive Galaxy S10 leak seems to agree with all the color rumors above, listing everything from black, white, green and blue to canary yellow, prism black, pearl white, ceramic black and ceramic white. It appears, then, you'll have a fair selection of options come launch.

We've seen pictures shared by Evan Blass that show the pinhole notch in the center of the screen. 

You can see the three sizes of display on show for the S10 Lite, the S10, and the S10 Plus too. However, the camera position here is at odds with most leaks.

Samsung Galaxy S10 leak (credit: @evleaks)

Meanwhile, a benchmark for a mystery Samsung phone which could be the S10 points to a 19:9 aspect ratio, which would make it taller than the 18.5:9 Galaxy S9.

Along with that the benchmark suggests a resolution of 1440 x 3040, which would be a slight boost, and there's every chance that to achieve those things Samsung would slim the bezels, fitting a larger, sharper screen into the same size body.

When it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S10 screen size, the most consistent rumor we've seen pegs it at 6.1 inches.

That would make the screen on the Samsung S10 bigger than than 5.8-inch offering on the Galaxy S9, giving you more display real estate to play with.

The latest screen size rumors again put the Galaxy S10 at 6.1 inches, adding that it will have a 1440 x 3040 resolution, a 550ppi pixel density and will use Gorilla Glass 6, as well as being able to hit 800 nits of brightness.

Will Samsung Galaxy S10 be a foldable phone?

One thing you shouldn't expect is a foldable phone. Not from the flagship Samsung Galaxy S10, at least. 

The Infinity Flex Display concept Samsung showed off on November 7, 2018 made it clear: the company's foldable phone design is very much that: a concept.

Samsung could launch a foldable variant to the Galaxy S10, however, and the long-rumored Samsung Galaxy X is rumored to launch in 2019. 

Whether it changes its name to bring in more in line with the Galaxy S10 brand remains to be seen, but this is the closest we've ever been to a folding phone.

A foldable display is clearly the next big idea for Samsung, but it's starting from scratch with thick bezels, according to the steeped-in-shadow prototype we saw at the Samsung Developers Conference.

Samsung Galaxy S10 biometric security

Hottest leaks:

  • An in-screen fingerprint scanner
  • An improved 3D face scanner

One rumor we have seen pop up numerous times is the presence of an in-screen fingerprint scanner.

This would go nicely with the all-screen design that's being tipped for the phone, and would see the Galaxy S10 follow in the footsteps of the likes of the OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

The latest and best evidence of this is code found in the Samsung Pay app, which mentions both an in-display scanner and the Galaxy S10 (by a codename). It's mentioned because the presence of such a scanner would mean moving the "payment flow window" higher up the screen, so it's not blocked by the scanner.

But there's plenty more evidence of an in-screen scanner too. For example, a report claims that it will use an ultrasonic Qualcomm scanner, and that Samsung has felt pressured to include it due to Vivo and Huawei both having phones with in-screen scanners.

Reliable leaker Evan Blass has also spoken of an ultrasonic scanner, and multiple separate sources who spoke to The Bell have said as much too, adding that Samsung will also look to ditch the iris scanning tech in the Galaxy S10 in favor of an improved 3D face scanner - much like the one found on the iPhone X.

We've heard a similar thing from South Korean media, but it suggests that we'll only see an in-display fingerprint scanner as the main way of unlocking the Samsung Galaxy S10. Either way, it's likely the iris scanner will be dropped.

An earlier rumor also talks about an in-screen scanner, stating that while an in-screen scanner wouldn’t be ready in time for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, it would be ready by sometime next year, making the Samsung Galaxy S10 a candidate for one.

Samsung could be moving the scanner in-screen

And we now have an idea of why it took so long to be ready - because reportedly Samsung is using an ultrasonic scanner, rather than an optical one, as while the latter could apparently have been implemented years ago it's said to not be as good.

More specifically, Samsung has been rumored to use a third-generation ultrasonic scanner from Qualcomm. This generation has only recently been announced and not yet used on a phone, but it could mean Samsung's in-screen scanner is the best found on any phone.

Another recent report has added that while the two top-end Samsung Galaxy S10 models will apparently get an ultrasonic scanner, the most basic model will get an optical one.

But Samsung might go even further and also put the speakers in the screen, as just such a display has been shown off by Samsung Display, according to OLED Info.

And the earpiece could go in the screen too, as Samsung is said to be planning a 'sound-emitting display' for use in a phone early next year, having already shown off the tech at an industry expo.

Samsung Galaxy S10 camera

Hottest leaks:

  • Triple-lens rear camera
  • 12MP, 13MP and 16MP lenses
  • A single-lens front-facing camera

An analyst reckons Samsung is considering a triple-lens camera for the Samsung Galaxy S10, along with a 3D sensor for augmented reality content.

Analyst chatter isn’t always that reliable, but the sheer volume of Galaxy S10 leaks since which all point towards a triple camera setup on the rear of the handset means we're confident this is accurate.

More recently we've heard more details on the possible specs of the triple-lens camera, with it apparently consisting of a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 16MP super wide-angle lens and a 13MP telephoto lens.

An even newer report echoes those camera specs, but adds that the 12MP one will be an f/1.5-f/2.4 variable aperture lens , just like the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S9, while the 16MP lens will have an f/1.9 aperture and a 123-degree field of view, and the 13MP lens will have an f/2.4 aperture.

That said, one report points to the telephoto lens being 12MP rather than 13MP, so there's still a bit of disagreement.

Elsewhere, leaker Evan Blass has said to expect a triple-lens camera with one wide-angle lens, one telephoto and one standard lens.

We have an idea of the front camera specs now too, with a leaked specs list pointing to a single-lens 10MP f/1.9 lens on the Samsung S10.

The S10 and S10 Plus might also have GoPro-level anti-shake and AI-powered scene recognition on their rear cameras, according to one source, while the front cameras might have optical image stabilization and be able to shoot video in 4K. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 battery

Hottest leaks:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 may have 3,500mAh or 3,300mAh battery

One battery rumor reveals a possible capacity for the Samsung Galaxy S10 battery, with the image below supposedly revealing cases with battery sizes scrawled on them for all three S10 phones.

If accurate, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will pack a 3,500mAh battery, which would be a sizable increase over the 3,000mAh battery in the S9.

Image Credit: @UniverseIce

The 3,500mAh battery has been rumored more than once as well, so it may well be accurate.

Having said that, we've heard a conflicting Galaxy S10 rumor from a certification listing which states the Galaxy S10 will have a 3,300mAh battery.

Since then yet another leak has emerged, this time listing a 3,400mAh battery, so it sounds like it will be somewhere in the mid-3,000's, but we're not sure more specifically than that.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 may well benefit from a boost to its wireless charging speeds, with reports linking the upcoming flagship with wireless Quick Charge 2.0.

Not only that, but it might also support reverse wireless charging, that is, working as a charging pad for other devices. 

At least, that's what the leaked image below seems to suggest, showing the rumored Samsung Galaxy Buds in their charging case placed on the rear of an S10.

Image Credit: WinFuture

There's now even more evidence of that feature, thanks to a video that seemingly shows official Galaxy S10 cases, with the back of the box mentioning 'Wireless Power Sharing' (and suggesting that you'll need to take the case off to use this feature).

Samsung Galaxy S10 power

Hottest leaks:

  • An Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855 chipset
  • 6GB or 8GB of RAM
  • 128GB to 1TB of fast storage

We also have an idea of what might be powering the Samsung Galaxy S10, as Samsung has announced the Exynos 9820, which is likely to power the phone in most regions outside the US.

This is an octa-core chipset built on an 8nm process. That makes it smaller than the 10nm Exynos 9810 found in the Galaxy S9 and with that size reduction comes a 10% reduction in power consumption.

The Exynos 9820 also offers up to 20% better single core performance, up to 40% better power efficiency, and up to 15% better multi-core performance than the Exynos 9810.

Gamers meanwhile should see an even bigger benefit, with the GPU offering up to 40% better performance or up to 35% more power efficiency.

The Exynos 9820 also has an integrated NPU (neural processing unit), which allows AI-related tasks to happen up to seven times faster than on the 9810.

It also supports video recording at up to 8K at 30fps, displays of up to 3840 x 2400 or 4096 x 2160, single lens cameras of up to 22MP, or dual-lens ones of up to 16MP. Though don't take that as meaning the S10 will necessarily have those specs.

As for mobile data download speeds, those can apparently reach up to 2Gbps, despite this chip seemingly not supporting 5G. Having said that, there is rumored to be a version of the Galaxy S10 that will support 5G, so that will presumably have to use a different chipset.

Since announcing the Exynos 9820, Samsung has now talked in more detail about some of its capabilities. These include support for HDR10+, which should help HDR content look better, and support for five camera sensors, which, along with an advanced image signal processor, should improve photography.

Other highlights include the ability to compress 8K video files so they take up less space, improved security, the power for a desktop-like experience, lower latency, and a more widespread use of AI.

We've also now seen a benchmark seemingly for the Galaxy S10 model powered by the Exynos 9820 and it has a high score, but not as high as we'd have hoped. It beats most current Android handsets, but comes in lower than the latest iPhones and lower than a benchmark for the Snapdragon 855.

Another benchmark has also now emerged courtesy of AnTuTu, again showing the Exynos chip beaten by the Snapdragon 855. 

However, a newer Geekbench result shows the Exynos scoring slightly higher than the Snapdragon 855, so it's unclear whether there will be much difference between them or not. Speaking of which...

In the US? Then you'll likely get the recently announced Snapdragon 855. This is a 7nm chipset, which is smaller and likely both more powerful and more efficient than the Snapdragon 845 found in many of 2018’s flagships. It's also smaller than the Exynos 9820.

Qualcomm claims it also offers up to twice the performance of another unnamed 7nm chipset, presumably meaning either Apple's one used in the iPhone XS range or Huawei's in the Mate 20 range.

The chipset also supports 5G and has a chip dedicated to processing photos and videos. This is called a 'computer vision image signal processor' and it's a world first.

An early leaked benchmark for the chipset showed it beating any other smartphone chip for power, including the A12 Bionic in the iPhone XS and the Exynos 9820 benchmark mentioned above.

The RAM could also be a big upgrade, as Samsung has announced that it has developed an 8GB RAM chip built on a 10nm process. This, while not confirmed for the Galaxy S10, apparently has a data rate that's 1.5 times as fast as current flagship RAM chips and can also reduce power consumption by up to 30%.

One odd report has suggested the phone may sport 12GB of RAM too, that's a claim that we've now heard a second time, but it seems excessive, so we're inclined to believe the above about an 8GB RAM chip. It's also likely to be reserved for the S10 Plus model if it happens at all.

Onboard storage could also be faster for the Galaxy S10, as Samsung is set to start using UFS 3.0 storage in early 2019. This is supposedly two times faster than current phone storage modules and takes up less space, so there's more room for other components.

Plus, the minimum size it comes in is 128GB, so if the S10 uses it then all models will have to have at least 128GB of storage. A couple reports even say that there could be up to 1TB of RAM in the phone, which would be far more than any other handset.

However, the most basic S10 model might have more basic specs, with one source saying it will come with either a Snapdragon 845 or 855 chipset and a choice of 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage.

Elsewhere, we've heard that the standard Galaxy S10 will have 6GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

The Galaxy S10 could also be faster on Wi-Fi than other phones, as it will reportedly support 'Wi-Fi 6' (a brand new Wi-Fi standard).

Beyond the core specs, Samsung might further boost the gaming skills of its flagship, as a Samsung patent points to a 'Neuro Game Booster' feature.

As for the interface, it's likely that Samsung will use its recently-announced One UI Android overlay. Indeed, exactly that has been rumored.

A rumor also talks about an AI-powered "life pattern" mode, which would automate and adjust aspects of the phone based on how you use is.

Samsung Galaxy S10 name

A Samsung website has now mentioned the Galaxy S10 by name, so that's almost certainly what the phone will be called.

This shouldn't be surprising, but is worth noting as we’ve previously heard talk that Samsung might rename the range, launching the next model as the Samsung Galaxy X rather than the Galaxy S10.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs S10 Plus vs S10e
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 - the standard Samsung flagship
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus - a bigger screen and potentially better cameras
  • Samsung Galaxy S10e  - a less powerful, smaller, cheaper model

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is unlikely to arrive alone, with a trio of handsets tipped to launch at the firm's next Unpacked event.

While we've become used to seeing a pair of Samsung flagships launch together each year as far back as the Galaxy S6 in 2015, this time around all the Galaxy S10 leaks are pointing towards three or more phones.

There's the standard Samsung Galaxy S10 that's detailed here, along with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and a new entry in the Galaxy S10e - a smaller, low resolution and likely lesser powered handsets at a hopefully more affordable price point. 

Samsung has seemingly now confirmed that the phone will land as the Galaxy S10e (and that the S10 and S10 Plus will be called exactly that), following rumors of the same. But before that we'd also heard that the Lite model might simply be called the Galaxy S10, as might the model above it, but that would seem confusing.

Several leaks and rumors suggest the Galaxy S10e could have a dual-lens rear camera, with 6GB RAM and 128GB memory and a 3100mAh battery, which would put it behind the S10 and S10 Plus in several ways.

On top of that renders of a Canary Yellow edition of the S10 E show a dazzling design, and suggests the device will launch in a range of interesting colours, with green and blue variants suggested too.

But wait – we could even get a fourth Galaxy S10 handset, as rumors of a big-screened, 5G variant have also begun to crop up. And, of course, Samsung teasing is almost certainly going to be teasing its foldable phone at the S10 launch event.

Samsung Galaxy S10: what we want to see

As good as the Samsung Galaxy S9 is, it’s also rather too similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8, so we hope Samsung changes things up for the S10. Here’s what we want to see.

1. A new design

Samsung's smartphone design is overly familiar at this point

The Samsung Galaxy S9 looks almost identical to the Galaxy S8, so it’s high time we got a new design from the South Korean company.

Whether that means a notch, a new material or even a foldable phone we’ll leave to Samsung, but we want to see something new.

2. Dual or triple-lens cameras on both models

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a dual-lens camera, the standard Galaxy S9 only has a single-lens one. For the Galaxy S10 we want both models to have two lenses, or better yet, three. After all, the Huawei P20 Pro has landed with exactly that to stunning effect.

Samsung’s been delivering top smartphone cameras for a while now, but this year it has some real competition from Huawei, so for the Galaxy S10 we want to see it take steps to get ahead.

The good news is that a triple-lens camera has already been rumored, though it sounds like only the priciest model will get it.

3. An in-screen fingerprint scanner

Rear-facing scanners could soon be a thing of the past on high-end phones

In-screen fingerprint scanners have been rumored for various Samsung phones and the Galaxy S10 is no exception, but now that other companies have launched commercially available handsets with them we might finally see Samsung roll one out.

Having a scanner in the screen means it doesn’t need to take up space on the front or be awkwardly placed on the back, plus it looks high-tech enough to make owners of other phones jealous.

This too has been rumored for the Galaxy S10, so there's a very real chance it will happen.

4. More vibrant photos

While the overall quality of photos taken by the Samsung Galaxy S9 is very high, some lack vibrancy and a few are also more washed out than we’d have expected or liked. This is especially true when there’s background light, so we’d like the Samsung Galaxy S10 to be able to cope with this better.

5. Improved AR Emoji

AR Emoji could really use some work

AR Emoji were one of the more hyped features of the Galaxy S9 range, but they were also one of the least impressive aspects of these phones.

There are a few reasons for this. Beyond their inherently gimmicky nature it can also be hard to create one that looks like you, and when recording a video of yourself using the emoji, the camera’s facial recognition isn’t powerful enough to do it justice.

While AR Emoji will probably never be an essential feature, if Samsung’s going to keep using them we’d like to see them at least rival Apple’s Animoji next time around.

6. Better battery life

Battery life is one thing that doesn’t improve with each new phone generation. In fact, sometimes it gets worse. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus you’re only really looking at a day of life.

And while that might generally be okay for anyone who doesn’t mind plugging their phone in every night, it’s worth remembering that the battery will start to wear out over time, so a day of life when you buy the phone means less than a day a year or two on.

As such we really want to see improvements to the battery in the Galaxy S10, whether that’s through a larger unit than the frankly small 3,000mAh one in the Galaxy S9, or just through more efficient hardware and software.

7. A totally bezel-free look

We’ve said already that we want a new design from the Galaxy S10, but what we’d really like is a complete absence of bezels. As in no notch either, just an all-screen front.

We’re not expecting this, not least because it would presumably mean building the camera and sensors into the screen, but it’s possible and would surely be less ambitious than a foldable phone, which we might also get from Samsung in 2019.

Categories: Tech News

The best TVs under £1000 in 2019

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:34

With so many big, bold and high-performing TVs out there to choose from, picking the best model for your budget can be a real headache. That's why we've put together this shortlist of the very best TVs under £1,000 – so you can bring the warm glow of a television screen to your living room without breaking four-figure sums.

The good news is that your budget will net you everything you need from a modern television. Honestly, a good smart TV platform, 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, and high dynamic range (HDR) color contrast should all be a given at that price. 

Offering four times the pixel count of Full HD and the promise of more naturalistic images, any such UHD TV will represent a significant improvement over a rank and file Full HD model. 

While smart TVs have been commonplace for some time, their feature set is also rapidly expanding, with voice control integration and a host of firmware updates able to improve your user experience over your home Wi-Fi.

But being smart about your purchase isn’t just a case of waiting for sales and retail promotions. A little homework will pay dividends. If you’re buying principally to watch sports, how good is a set’s motion handling? As you move up and down the price scale, image processing is usually the first aspect of a screen to be compromised. 

Similarly, not every mid- or lower-range screen offers the same level of HDR performance, and there could be huge discrepancies in audio performance. A slick narrow bezel design may look fashionably minimalist, but if TV’s sound system sucks, maybe your cash is better spent elsewhere?  

The good news is you don't have to wade through reams of tech specs to come to a conclusion – we've done the leg-work for you by finding the best TVs available for under £1,000. If you want the best budget TVs, you’ve come to the right place!

What is the best TV under £1,000?

Those of you sticking to a £1,000 budget probably weren't expecting an OLED TV in this list! But the LG OLED B7 is a welcome exception.

Due to the organic film used in OLED panels, they're able to offer incredible levels of contrast and deeper-than-deep blacks, but are still highly costly to manufacture. Most will run you into several thousand pounds, though LG's budget 2017 model is now just about scraping the £1,000 mark.

With a beautifully thin panel and LG's easy-to-use webOS smart platform, the OLED B7 is a great addition to any living room, and supporting both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for truly dynamic 4K HDR images.

There are newer models about now, of course – the LG OLED B8 which came out last year, for one – though none that come close to such a competitive price. It may be a couple of years old now, but for top picture quality you won't do much better on this list.

Read our full review: LG OLED55B7

If you’re window shopping for a whopping 4K HDR screen, then Hisense demands your attention with this impressive upper-budget barnstormer. 

Image quality is surprisingly fine: The N6800, which is compatible with the basic HDR10 standard, is inherently bright enough to make peak white highlights zing, and there’s plenty of fine detail and nuanced colour on screen. Likewise, usability is best-in-class thanks Freeview Play, with its roll-back programme guide and comprehensive Catch-Up TV selection.

Gamers have reason to be happy with this one, too: We measured input lag at 29.1ms, which should be fast enough to keep you on your toes.

There are caveats, though: It comes stocked with only four HDMI inputs, two support 4K at 60Hz. There’s also three USBs, plus composite and component AV.

And, inevitably, the set’s audio system is limited. Despite going loud, it sounds thin. You’ll probably want to budget for a soundbar.

Read our full review: Hisense H55N6800

It's good to remember that LG do a lot more than just pricey OLED televisions. If the OLED B7 is still a bit too much for your budget, the LG SK85 Super UHD may be the television for you.

Sporting a regular LCD LED panel, the SK85 still manages impressive black levels and a smooth frame rate almost on a par with LG'd budget OLED models. Audio output is on the slight side, but that's a small complaint in what's still a terrific cost-effective alternative to LG's OLED range.

The 55-inch model comes in at only £799, having seen a notable discount after several months on the market.

The SK85 is also one of the smartest smart TVs we've ever tested. The ThinQ AI platform works tirelessly in the background to switch between appropriate picture modes depending on what you're watching, or respond to Google Assistant-enabled voice commands to navigate your favorite apps and streaming services.

Read our full review: LG SK85 Super UHD

Why fork out for a high-end model when the Samsung NU7100 has everything you need?

The NU7100 offers 4K Ultra HD resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR) on a budget. It sits at the bottom of Samsung’s 4K UHD range, below the Samsung NU8000, carrying broadly the same specs as the Samsung NU7300, just without the curved screen. 

You're not getting the premium specs of Samsung's higher-quality QLED (quantum dot) screens – but hey, this is a sub-£1,000 budget we're working with.

You can get a sizeable 65-inch panel for only £799, while the 49-inch model we reviewed was named one of our best TVs under £500. It's a real bargain for the price, with an incredibly smooth frame rate that brings both low input lag for both gamers and streamers.

The HDR capability could be more impressive, but you're still getting the beginnings of a wider color gamut and improved contrast – more than you'd get in standard SDR images.

The main cop-out is the omission of both Bixby, Samsung's voice assistant, and the UK catch-up service Freeview Play – but all that considered this is a pretty standout three-figure television.

Read our full review: Samsung NU7100

Philips' best selling 6-series range offers a compelling mix of picture quality and functionality. The provision of Ambilight is a huge point of difference between it and its many rivals. Ambilight, Philips' proprietary mood lighting can be used to mimic the colours on-screen, casting vivid hues back onto your living room wall, or used simply paint your wall space in solid shades. When integrated with a Hue smart lighting system, Ambilight becomes even more spectacular.

Image quality is reassuringly sharp too, courtesy of some elegant picture processing technology. While HDR compliant, its peak brightness is limited to around 350 nits. Consequently, we think it actually looks its best with SDR content, be it 4K Sky or BT TV, as well as HD sources. Audio quality can best be described as functional.

There are only three HDMI inputs, but all are HDCP 2.2 compatible. There’s also component AV and twin USB ports. The tuner is Freeview Play, which means a full house of catch-up TV players, plus Netflix and YouView.

It’s worth noting that Philips 6-series is also available in a 6262 iteration, but that cheaper line features two-sided Ambilight, rather than three, and comes with a slightly less fancy pedestal design. It pays to step-up.

Ultimately, though, this screen is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Read more: Should you buy a Philips Ambilight TV?

Categories: Tech News

How retailers can truly understand their audience this Valentine’s Day

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:00

Christmas 2018 was a tough one for many retailers. It has been reported that the Christmas trading period was of one of the worst for sales growth, over the last ten years. If many retailers struggled to entice customers in with festive deals, how will they fare this Valentine’s day? Is it all rosey for the British high street, and what can be done to offer the best Valentine’s Day offers this year and beyond?

Businesses would do well not to fall completely head over heels if they want to avoid an awkward break up for the remainder of 2019.  

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s time to question age-old clichés

Valentine’s Day is strongly associated with red roses,  posh chocolates, champagne, fancy restaurant dinners and frantic last-minute purchases from (mostly) male shoppers on their way home from work. While these images are typical for February 14th, and probably will be for years to come, consumer spending habits are evolving–  unlike ever before they are becoming more questioning and critical of where their money is going and expecting deals that are truly personal and authentic to them.

Roses are red… but think carefully on your stock: As the first image that comes to mind on Valentine’s Day, retailers are likely to stock up on roses to make sure they have plenty to sell during peak times. However, while the red rose is an enduring Valentine’s gift, as a perishable low-cost item, retailers should forecast sensibly to ensure there aren’t too many left on the shelf. This is where drawing on historical sales data is absolutely critical. Retailers should be asking themselves: How many roses did I sell last year? How many did I sell at full price? How many did I have to dispose of or markdown to clear? What profit did I make from this item? When it comes to roses, or any other time-sensitive perishable items, sales strategies and quantities should be based on the answers to these questions.   

Catering for the cost-conscious consumer: It is important to remember that Valentine’s Day will not appeal to everyone, and there will always be those who are cynical of the holiday – who tend to turn away from heavily branded stereotypical gifting. Millennials in particular may be a little more questioning of old romantic gestures. Consumers are also generally watching the pennies a bit more closely -  meaning retailers will really have to demonstrate the value and distinctiveness of their products, offering tailored and bespoke deals to different audience demographics in more innovative ways than ever before. The supermarket sector, for example, is making serious progress in challenging restaurants with ‘top meals for two’ at a fraction of the price.

Geo-analytics, actually: Unsurprisingly, there will always be those shoppers who leave their Valentine’s Day purchases to the Nth hour. The images of men and woman stopping off at a petrol station on their way home to purchase flowers is a cultural reference for a reason. However, retailers should not place orders by relying on this last-minute spike in sales. This is where Geo-Analytics comes to the fore. Where a retailer’s store is based could seriously alter its sales strategy. For example, being strategically placed on the commuter belt, or near a train station, increases opportunities to capitalise on last-minute purchases, or click and collect service. However, being in an out-of-town shopping mall will make passing trade for these sudden spikes in sales less frequent and therefore shouldn’t be banked upon.  

Breaking the mould

While these specific examples are tied into Valentine’s Day, the lessons they carry ring true for all retailers throughout 2019. Keeping close to the mood of the market is key. There is more social pressure than ever for retailers to do something different, and bit ‘out of the box’ to get customers talking. There is also arguably more pressure than ever on consumers to do something different this Valentine’s day, in a society often shaped by what is posted to friends and family on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Many want a story or experience behind their product or service – an authentic experience is absolutely key.

A combination of insights from previous sales, predictive and geo-analytics will also help shape a solid retail strategy, and a love affair with customers that will ensure ongoing loyalty and repeat customers. 

Paul Winsor, Senior Director of Industry Solutions Retail & Services at Qlik  

Rachel Lund, Head of Insight and Analytics at the British Retail Consortium

Categories: Tech News

How to choose a cloud storage and backup provider

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 08:00

You are thinking about moving or backing up data to the cloud. Maybe your team cannot easily collaborate on shared files and synchronize between workspaces, or you need a disaster recovery plan and know you should keep offsite backups. 

Maybe your operations routinely generate so much data that your infrastructure growth appears unsustainable. In short you have data challenges and you suspect that you can address them by moving data to the cloud. 

Choosing the right provider can seem daunting, but you can choose with more confidence by asking the right questions when researching your options.

Before evaluating cloud storage providers here are some key questions to keep in view throughout:

  • What problems do you hope to solve by using a cloud provider?
  • Where a cloud solution seems the better option, as it often is, what would be the alternative? Can you compare and estimate the benefit of choosing one over the other? 
  • Are you ready to adopt that solution not just technically but culturally? Can you imagine your organization using the solution consistently or might many users stick to prevailing methods of storing their data? 
Cloud Storage or backup?

You may think you need cloud storage when you need backup or vice versa. When “cloud storage” and “cloud backup” may seem interchangeable it is important to recognize that they are different. The purpose of cloud storage is to supplement your local and network storage and increase productivity while backup is for data recovery. Having files in cloud storage may enable you to consider them safe from the common risks of data loss, but that safety is ensured by the fact that major cloud storage providers themselves maintain backups of your data.

The kinds of questions you would ask when you need a cloud storage solution might be:

  • Are our team members increasingly mobile and working from multiple environments? 
  • How easily can they collaborate on and share documents? 
  • Do we have large stores of accumulating transactional data and growing archives with creeping operational costs?

The kinds of questions you would ask when you need a cloud backup solution might be:

  • What happens when a workstation, laptop, or server drive fails?
  • How long should we retain database backups?
  • If we take down a VM do we archive it?

Image Credit: Pexels

Consider the fit

After recognizing whether you need a cloud storage solution, backup, or both and how it will address your needs, compare your options by comparing how well they fit not only your immediate data requirements but also other business and technical requirements.

Security: Pay close attention to the security options available for stored data when it is “at rest” and in transmission. It is common for storage and backup services to apply AES encryption to stored data and TLS in transmission. These protections ensure that your data is not readable by the cloud service or by anyone intercepting data sent from you to the service. Depending on the sensitivity of your data you may desire more control and stronger protection. In those cases look for a service that allows you to manage encryption keys and apply different encryption methods as necessary.

Compliance: If you work in an industry with rigorous regulatory and compliance rules such as in healthcare you may think that storing data in a cloud service is more trouble than it is worth to fulfill those requirements. The major cloud storage and backup services have made accommodations for such requirements, such as in the HIPAA case where providers will sign a BAA and adhere to data and physical data center security as well as location requirements. When in doubt do an explicit search in your favorite search engine for the cloud provider and regulation in question.

Access for all Clients: Evaluate how users will access the cloud service and whether it provides clients for the appropriate devices and operating systems. If it is a web client does it work on mobile? Android and iOS?  If it is a desktop client do you need it to be available on Windows, Mac, and Linux?  

User Setup Expectations: Particularly when you are evaluating a cloud backup service consider whether you will ask your users to install a client and configure it themselves or whether you will automate that configuration. How easy must the client be to configure? If configured automatically can the client configuration be restricted to administrators? 

In the case of cloud storage some services may use a “Sync” folder where the files stored on the cloud are also on a user’s local disk. Must each user setup and manage the location of their own synchronized folders?

Ease of Transition: Start with a high level vision for how you will transition to use the cloud storage or backup provider. In the storage case, will you migrate existing data? If you plan on moving many TB of data look into whether the provider allows for “offline” passing of data back and forth via delivery and receipt of hard disks.

Support: Support can vary significantly between services. What may seem like the right cloud service for you and your organization in terms of features may be lacking in the support you need. What support levels are available for the service? Can you escalate issues and if so what is the cost?

Consider the cost

Cost considerations literally affect the bottom line, and you may be tempted to compare cost above considering fit. If a cloud storage solution is indeed right fit, improves the productivity of your team, and reduces strain on infrastructure you will be in a better position to calculate the total cost of ownership for those cloud resources and compare them to the cost of the status quo. That includes the cost of new storage volume acquisition and maintenance as well as the effect of a potentially inefficient file sharing and collaboration approach.

Cloud storage and backup pricing follows one of two models: by user or by usage. When priced per user per month each user will receive access to some volume of available storage. Some backup services do not have data limits while others do. Cloud storage services will less likely have plans without data limits but there are exceptions. The major cloud service providers price storage by volume, adjusted by storage classes such as “hot” vs “cold” storage, and download requests.

The final cost to consider is the cost of migrating your data to the cloud provider. After you have chosen a provider and planned for its adoption you will need to decide its place within your current processes, how users will interact with it, and what data will live there. Migrating data and adjusting to a new process will take time and will require some investment.  

Image Credit: Pexels

Consider the benefits

You may not consider all features of a cloud storage or backup solution when comparing it to your needs. There are some useful features you may want to keep in mind when making your choice that may be lesser in priority but relevant.

For cloud backup:

  • File retention policy. How long are deleted files retained in the backup before they are no longer available to be restored?
  • How frequently do backups occur?  Is it continuous?
  • Can you restore individual files and folders on an ad hoc basis?
  • Does the backup support versioning?
  • What is the SLA for the backup service? Is there any ground for concern that your backup may be unavailable when you need it? 
  • Is multi-region backup available?
  • Does the backup client support multiple cloud services?

It is a great benefit to have an offsite backup for disaster recovery but the more resilient and fine grained the backup the better equipped you will be to handle the unforeseen.

For cloud storage:

  • Can files be shared with anonymous users?
  • What kind of access controls are available for individual users and groups?
  • Can files be versioned?
  • What is the SLA for the storage service?
  • Can files be stored in multiple regions?
  • What integrations does the service provide? E.g. with Office 365 or Google Docs
  • Is the cloud storage provider part of a larger cloud service? Can the opportunity for storage broaden to other use cases as with databases or VM images?
Commit to adoption

The final consideration for choosing a cloud storage or backup provider is the ease of adoption and the possibility of committing to it. How easy the path to adoption is for your organization will likely not involve technical reasons. Convincing others that you have made the right choice for your team or organization can be just as important as making the right technical choice. There is no single method to gain buy-in but as adoption is essential to the success of your project, when you research options imagine how easy or not adoption may be.

It will be easier to gain buy-in if you can commit to your choice, and commitment to a solution will be easier if it fits into a larger ecosystem of applications and services that are consistent with a longer term vision. That may be in the context of a productivity suite you are using or integrating other operations with a family of cloud native services. When possible try not think of services in the cloud in isolation. Even if a chosen provider is not the perfect fit, if it enjoys wide adoption, solves your primary problems, and aligns with your organization’s culture and vision it will be the right choice. 

Not all cloud storage or backup providers are equal and there is no perfect choice. Examine your needs and readiness, consider fit, cost, benefits, and the path to adoption and commitment. Research cloud storage options with all of these considerations in mind and you will choose the right provider for you. 

Brian Jenkins, Solution Architect at DataArt 

Categories: Tech News

The best Presidents' Day sales 2019: a guide to the best deals going on

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 08:00

Presidents' Day sales are officially here and that means savings and deals on TVs, mattresses, appliances and more throughout the long holiday weekend from a plethora of popular retailers.

To help guide you through all the deals and offers, we've put together a list of the best sales that are currently going on and any upcoming promotions that shouldn't be missed. We've also hand-picked the top standout deals that include categories such as electronics, appliances and home items.

We'll also tell you everything else you need to know about the Presidents' Day sale event such as the date, what sales have already started, and what deals you can expect and from what categories.

When do Presidents' Day sales start?

Presidents' Day sales have started to slowly trickle in with retailers like Walmart and Best Buy already promoting deals on TVs and home appliances. Most retailers will start their sales this coming Friday, so you have the whole weekend to shop for the best deals.

The best Presidents' Day sales: Our best Presidents' Day sale picks: When is Presidents' Day?

Presidents' Day always falls on the third Monday in February. It was originally held on George Washington's birthday (February 22) but was moved in 1971 to accommodate the long holiday weekend. This year Presidents' Day is on Monday the 18.

The best things to buy at Presidents' Day sales

The biggest categories that are discounted during Presidents' Day weekend are electronics, appliances, home items, and clothing. Last year Amazon offered 20% off home items, and retailers like Best Buy, Walmart and Home Depot are offering discounts on large and small appliances. Mattresses are also a popular sale category with retailers like Overstock, Temper-Pedic, and Nectar offering big sales throughout the weekend. There will also be clothing sales with some retailers like J Crew discounting its whole site.

Categories: Tech News

The rugged Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 launched in India at Rs 50,990

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 07:24

Samsung’s latest rugged tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2, is launched in the Indian market.

Unlike most Samsung products, this tablet, in particular, puts durability over design and hardware features. Targeted toward outdoor workers and B2B professionals, the Active2 rugged tablet will make for a competent option for those who have to deal with a risk of abuse at their workplace. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 specs and features

This tablet features an 8-inch 1,200 x 800 TFT display and an Exynos 7870 octa-core chipset with 3GB of RAM and a massive 4,450mAh battery powers the Android Nougat-flavoured experience. For storage, it offers 16GB internal memory and a dedicated micro SD card slot (up to 256GB).

Suited for use with gloves thanks to its physical navigation buttons beneath the screen, the Active 2 can withstand dust, water and drops at any angle thanks to its IP68 and MIL-STD-810 ratings. It comes with a rugged rubber casing that keeps the externals intact from accidental drops on any kind of surface. The Active2 also features user-replaceable batteries, so you can swap it out and change with a spare if required.  

This model comes with an S-Pen, similar to the one we saw on the Galaxy Tab S3. It brings additional productivity features to the tablet, making it even more relevant for B2B industry. Since it's a rugged tablet, it comes with a slight compromise on the display and design. Don't expect Galaxy Tab S4 like thin bezels and rich AMOLED display from this tablet. It shares less in common with the company’s slick lineup.

Same goes with the 8MP rear and 5MP front camera. They can be used to click decent pictures for a rugged tablet, but don't expect it to be a reliable photography device. 

However, it gets all the necessary connectivity options like single Nano SIM, WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, USB Type-C, POGO pin for charging and keyboard, NFC and Wireless mirroring. It also has a fingerprint sensor and face unlock for security first level security. 

In terms of availability, Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 will be available in India from mid-March 2019 at a price of Rs 50,990.

Categories: Tech News

Apex Legends has covered a sniper rifle with pink hearts for Valentine’s Day

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 07:10

Apex Legends has got some goodies especially for Valentine’s Day, courtesy of a new patch for the game, which also introduces some important bug and stability fixes.

There are new Valentine’s-themed cosmetic items in the store, namely the ‘Through the Heart’ Longbow Epic DMR skin – although we suspect that many will still be going for headshots, even on Valentine’s Day – and the ‘Love of the Game’ Pathfinder banner frame. These items will be available from now until February 19.

Furthermore, any player who revives a member of their squad will earn a ‘Live Die Live’ banner badge. Again, you can earn this badge at any point from today until February 19.

Supply ship slips stabilized

As mentioned, the patch also implements some important bug fixes, including remedying holes in the map that you could fall through, and areas where you could get stuck. Also, reviving teammates on supply ships has now been fixed, so you no longer fall through the ship post-resurrection.

Furthermore, an exploit whereby players could keep duplicating items in their inventory has also been banished for good, the developer assures us.

Also, if you’ve ever encountered a situation where all your friends are errantly showing as offline, this gremlin has now been squashed.

Various client and server stability issues have been addressed, as well as performance issues, and a general layer of polish has been applied, including a number of tweaks to the interface.

Some slight changes have been made to the core gameplay, as well, with the Arc Star now displaying a grenade warning indicator, so you’ll get more of a heads-up (or a heads-down, rather).

Bloodhound has also received a light tap of the nerf stick, with the Eye of the Allfather ability being shortened in duration by one second.

You probably haven’t failed to notice that Apex Legends reached 25 million players in a mere week – smashing Fortnite’s record.

Via Polygon

Categories: Tech News

Does gadget insurance cover lost phones, laptops, cameras and other tech?

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 07:06

For most people, it takes being denied a claim before you actually start checking more carefully what's covered on your insurance policies. The truth is that we should all pay a little more attention. Considering how much modern technology costs, this applies to gadget insurance too.

If you're paying for gadget or mobile phone insurance but you're not covered when it matters, you're throwing away money. So if you've already asked the question "does my gadget insurance cover lost gadgets?" then you're on the right path and we're here to help you find the answer.

Insurance policies vary widely so you need to make sure yours isn't just to cover you for things like damage or theft. Loss is a very common issue and if you're not covered you could end up out of pocket.

  • Apple user? Then don't miss our guide on getting the best iPhone insurance policy
 Does gadget insurance generally cover lost tech?

For the most part, gadget insurance will be there to cover you for things like a dropped phone with a damaged screen. Or perhaps water damage where you've dropped your laptop in a puddle or your earphones in a pint. Mechanical failure outside the warranty period is also usually covered by this type of insurance too.

The good news is that most types of gadget insurance will also cover loss and theft when outside the home. But not all.

So be sure to check your policy terms to see if loss is covered in your case. Some insurers will have an excess in place for loss that could end up costing you as much as the gadget is worth anyway. Do you really want to be giving the iPhone insurance company £100 to cover a lost iPhone SE you bought three years ago?

Another issue to look out for is exclusions. For example, if you leave your phone unattended, or fail to report the loss or theft - in some cases within as little as 12 hours - then you could invalidate the policy.

That said, there are some better policies that not only cover you, without an excess charge, but also send you a replacement phone to tide you over. 

If you think you're getting your gadget insurance on the cheap, chances are there is going to be a catch. So always check what's covered.

What about lost laptops and cameras?

Since laptops and cameras cost more than the average phone or smartwatch, it's important to check that any policy you have taken out has the laptop or camera's value noted. Lots of policies will cover you for most PCs and snappers but for some higher priced tech you may need to check you're covered.

Does home insurance cover my lost gadget? 

Home insurance does usually let you add your tech gadgets to the policy up to a certain value per item - generally up to around £2,000. The issue is they nearly always apply to inside the home only, so when you leave the house you're not covered. That makes separate gadget insurance for loss much more pertinent.

You can read more about tech and home insurance in our dedicated advice page.

How much does gadget insurance cost? 

Gadget insurance varies in price widely depending on what you're covering, how much cover you need and even how you want to pay.

That's why we recommend that you check out the best gadget insurance deals to find the right one for you.

Categories: Tech News

Ready Player Two: are video games and dating a good match?

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 07:00

Online dating may have long shed its stigma, and practically everyone you know has probably swiped potential dates on Tinder. However, online dating can still be a cesspit of crushing anxiety, as you try to make yourself as Instagram-presentable as your recent photo library will allow. And that’s before you even have to deal with rejection, indifference, or fending off unwanted creeps who won’t stop messaging you.

You might think cutting through the hoops and meeting people IRL might be better, but these are also a mixed bag. I mean, would you normally hang out in this pretentious wine bar? Is a stranger on the Internet really worse than talking to a stranger you probably have nothing in common with? During these multiple forced meet-cutes, you’re not really sure whether to make idle small talk or ask the ‘big questions’.

Suffice to say, I have a lot of scepticism with dating, and am about ready to quietly accept dying alone. Nonetheless, when a new dating event comes along that lets you go and play video games, it means I have at least one reason to check it out.

‘Ready Player Two’ comes from organisers Joypad Bar – London-based retro gaming party specialists with a track record for putting on events like club nights in trendy Hackney warehouses, trashy film screenings or burlesque shows, all of which also happen to let you play video games. To that end, their latest venture is essentially speed-dating, where you also happen to play video games with each other.

Pass the controller

Ready, set, date. Image Credit: Alan Wen

Ready Player Two works much like any other speed-dating event. In a basement bar located just off King’s Cross Station, you’ve got about a dozen men and a dozen women getting to know each other for five minutes at a time. But instead of facing each other awkwardly, you’re both actually facing a CRT monitor, controller in hand, playing through games of yesteryear on a good old-fashioned Mega Drive, SNES, N64 or Gamecube consoles – none of that emulation malarkey.

If nostalgia is a romanticised view of the past, doesn’t that make retro video games romantic by association? Aside from the fact you have to sit together to play old games, Joypad director George Swain highlights the technical merits of retro games for speed dating. “You can just pick them up and play them straight away,” he says. “You can start a race in Mario Kart on the N64 in 8 button presses. On the Switch, it’s something like 28 button presses. It’s just practically better.”

The event does however take a rather traditionalist structure, where the women stayed seated while the men move around at the sound of a ringing bell. It’s a slight imbalance, given that the men get to sample a whole range of retro gaming while the women are stuck with one the whole evening almost like a booth attendant - the upside is they have chosen their game in advance (they can also opt to swap the cartridge or disc if they get bored).

Love Kart

Roses are red, shells are blue...

Mario Kart was a popular choice for the night’s gamer-daters, as was Smash Bros – and there was something charming about getting to play different iterations of these games in one evening (Nintendo consoles were certainly in the majority too). But it was also a chance to replay some obscurities like Duck Hunt (light guns, remember those?) or unusual ports like the hideous Atari 2600 version of Donkey Kong.

Rather than going through the tedium of asking what someone’s into, it felt refreshing having one date nerding out over Star Wars: Rogue Leader on the Gamecube, or another making their choice of Street Fighter III: Third Strike a fun talking point.

Not that anyone’s keeping a tab of gamer credentials. “I’ve always had a slight distaste for the term ‘gamer’,” says Swain. “It doesn’t really have an equivalent in any other media, and I don’t think it has a place anymore in the sphere of people who enjoy video games.”

Indeed, the dates I spoke to all had different relations to games, from those who haven’t picked up a controller since their school days to a few who still actively play the latest releases, while one single parent mentions how her kid ropes her in for the odd session of Fortnite. 

Regardless of experience, an interest in retro games simply puts everyone on an equal footing. “It gives you a talking point,” says Swain. “It’s not really interesting to talk to someone and go, ‘Oh, I got this on at the minute,’ or ‘I was playing this last week’. But say, ‘Oh, I remember when this came out’, and you can talk about that time of your life, maybe you went to similar places or did similar things – it’s a way to just connect in a broader way.”

Two's companies

Image Credit: Alan Wen

Activity-based dating events aren’t exactly a novelty. Dating company Smudged Lipstick, who Joypad has collaborated with for ‘Ready Player Two’, actually puts on many different types of events every month, from Jenga to life-drawing classes to escape room events. Basically, they’re interested in more than “just sitting across someone in a speed-dating scenario,” says founder Jordi Sinclair. “We do all kinds of weird stuff that’s going to challenge people to get out of their comfort zone.”

It’s a bit ironic that a company with an ethos on getting people away from staring at screens and improving communication and body language would get involved in an event where guests are basically staring at screens most of the time. But ‘Ready Player Two’ turns out to be a good match for both organisers: it really is about having fun first, meeting someone second.

“We’re not going to tell you you’re going to meet ‘the one’, or ‘love is just around the corner’,” says Sinclair. “We’re just letting people relax and not feel like it’s a dating event. You just walk in, play a game, have a laugh, and just organically get to know each other.”

Even if it turns out trying to beat someone at Mario Kart or Street Fighter and having a conversation at the same time is trickier than it sounds, the point was it didn’t really matter. There wasn’t any particular pressure to put a tick against someone’s name at the end of the night, so long as you had fun.

“Dating’s always going to be dating. We just do what we can to make it easier,” says Swain. “The worst thing you can say about this event is you came and spent a couple hours playing video games with people. You’re not going to have a bad time doing that.”

Categories: Tech News

Here's everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy A10, A30 and A50

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 06:32

After the launch of the India-centric Galaxy M-series, Samsung is gearing up to refresh its Galaxy A-series with three new smartphones. According to a report by MySmartPrice, the South Korean electronics manufacturer is readying the Galaxy A10, Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50 for launch really soon. The Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50 could also be the very first smartphones from the company to launch with the infinity-U notch design. The Galaxy A10 will still feature the infinity-V waterdrop notch as we have seen on the Galaxy M series.

Samsung Galaxy A10, Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50 specifications

The report by MSP reveals that all the three smartphones will have a plastic construction which indicates that these three phones could be priced in the Rs 18,000 to Rs 25,000 segment. The Galaxy A10 will be the most affordable out of the three phones featuring a 6.2-inch HD+ display and a waterdrop notch design. It is powered by the company's proprietary Exynos 7884B chipset with an octa-core CPU clocked at 1.6GHz and backed by 3GB RAM and 32GB onboard storage.

The A10 sports a 13MP rear camera with an f/1.9 aperture and a 5MP front-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture.

All the three smartphones have a 4,000mAh battery at their disposal but the Galaxy A10 does not support fast charging while the Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50 do.

Moving on to the Galaxy A30, it features a 6.4-inch Full HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) AMOLED display with the infinity-U notch design on the front. This notch design gives the phone an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 and is pretty much in line to what is currently being offered in the smartphone market.

The A30 has a dual camera setup on the back which consists of a 16MP primary camera with f/1.9 aperture and a 5MP secondary ultra-wide camera which has an f/2.2 aperture. It is powered by Exynos 7904 chipset with an octa-core processor. We have previously seen the Exynos 7904 in action on the Galaxy M20 which was launched last month in India. Buyers can choose between two different configurations, with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage or with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The phone supports microSD cards for up to 512GB for memory expansion.

Samsung Galaxy A50 looks like the high-end version in the A-series and features the same 6.4-inch Full HD+ display and infinity-U notch design. It has a triple camera setup on the back which includes a 25MP primary sensor, a 5MP depth-sensing camera and an 8MP ultra-wide camera. There's a 25MP front-facing camera for selfies as well with an aperture of f/2.0.

Powering the A50 will be the Exynos 9610 chipset with an octa-core CPU clocked at 2.3GHz backed by 4GB/6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB onboard storage. Users have an option to increase the storage capabilities of the phone by up to 512GB using microSD card. Another interesting thing about the A50 is that it will reportedly feature an in-display fingerprint sensor which is expected to make an appearance first on the Galaxy S10 lineup due on February 21.

While the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A30 will come in black, white and blue colours, the A10 will come in black and gold hues.

Categories: Tech News

LG G8 ThinQ’s vibrating screen will turn it into a boombox

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 06:23

The upcoming LG G8 ThinQ will use its screen as a speaker, LG has revealed. The feature, dubbed ‘Crystal Sound OLED’, or CSO, by the company, vibrates the screen to create sound in a similar way to how the diaphragm works in a human.

By using the entire screen as a speaker, the G8 ThinQ should deliver better audio clarity and more pronounced bass than other smartphones. This would make it ideal for watching movies – but there’s a chance it won’t work as well for playing games, as fingers touching the screen would cancel the vibrations.

  • MWC 2019 promises to be the most exciting tech event of the year
  • Will LG's tech be enough to steal the thunder from the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10?
  • Find out what we know about the iPhone 11

LG has used the feature in some of its TVs, but it’s new to smartphones – so when we get our hands on the device we’ll need to test it out and see if it really does improve the audio quality.

CSO isn’t the sole form of audio output on the LG G8 ThinQ,  however. The device also has speaker perforations on the rear, and together with the CSO these will be used to provide stereo surround sound for speakerphone mode.

As well as CSO, LG confirmed a range of other sound-related features for the device, including a ‘boombox speaker’ feature which uses the phone’s internal space to resonate sounds, DTS:X surround sound, and Quad DAC Hi-Fi.

With the ‘O’ in CSO standing for OLED, we can also assume that LG is changing the screen on the device. The G7 ThinQ device has an LCD display, while OLED displays were reserved for the V series ThinQ handsets, so it’s  welcome news that the G series is getting the screen tech.

LG has now told us about the G8 ThinQ’s audio features and the technology in its front-facing camera, but there’s still a lot that it’s keeping under wraps. That’ll change at LG’s MWC 2019 conference on February 24, when we’ll find out all about the new flagship device.  

Categories: Tech News

Samsung S10 looking too pricey? These cheap Galaxy S8 deals are the perfect alternative

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 06:10

Galaxy S10 deals will be ready to order in just one week now, but recent leaks suggest we could be expecting a phone with an estimated SIM-free value of around £800, that means some pretty pricey contracts.

If you've been wanting a new Samsung device and that price has left you feeling pretty disheartened then don't worry, we're here to give you the perfect solution in the form of cheap Samsung Galaxy S8 deals

That might sound strange - offering a phone that's almost two years old as a solution to Samsung's newest release - but hear us out...S8 prices have dropped massively recently. We're talking £456 over the two years or, in other words, almost half the expected SIM-free price of the Galaxy S10! And as you'll see from our Samsung Galaxy S8 review, this is a phone that we still love after two years thanks to its stunning display and cracking camera.

So if you want to be the proud new owner of a Samsung device without breaking the bank, scroll down to see our picks of the best S8 deals you can get today. 

These bargain S8 deals in full:
  • Still not sure what phone to go for? Don't worry, we've got you covered with our best mobile phone deals page
Categories: Tech News

Older iPhones will only use Qualcomm chips in Germany

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 06:02

Apple plans to ensure that all iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models sold in Germany are powered by modem chips from Qualcomm rather than Intel in a bid to comply with a partial sales ban in the country.

On December 20 last year, a court in Munich found that certain iPhone models infringed Qualcomm’s patents, specifically those relating to power-saving technology.

The court issued an order requiring Apple to stop the sale and importation of the devices in question and to recall affected iPhones from resellers in the country.

Apple Qualcomm

Apple appealed the decision but has conceded the only way to get around the restrictions is to ensure the affected models use Qualcomm technology.

The row forms part of a wide-ranging row between the two companies. Qualcomm has frequently claimed Apple has violated its patents, while Apple says Qualcomm is abusing its dominant position in the market and charging extortionate fees.

Qualcomm’s modem technology has been used in several iterations of the iPhone, but since the iPhone 7, Apple has diversified its supplier base, using Intel chips in some handsets. However, Qualcomm believes its modems have been completely eliminated from the most recent iPhones, a belief that is supported by independent teardowns.

Also in December, a Chinese court banned the import and sale of several older iPhone models in the country after Qualcomm’s request for an injunction was granted.

Qualcomm alleged that the iPhone violates another two of its patents – one relating to photo editing and another to touchscreen application multitasking – and the two patents had previously been found to be valid by SIPO, the Chinese patent office.

Categories: Tech News

Best business accessories of 2019: Tech tools to help you be more productive

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:15

It's no secret that the modern office is becoming increasingly populated with gadgets and tools aimed at improving connectivity, efficiency and productivity.

But how can you spot the products that will give you that extra boost?

We've rounded up some of these clever extras, from an ultra-secure USB drives, through a tiny docking station, to one of the weirdest gadgets ever to land on Techradar Pro, courtesy of a Kickstarter campaign.

We don't often get Indiegogo projects on our list but we're making an exception for the EyeDisk, which hails itself as the first unhackable USB flash drive. The concept is pretty simple; use your iris as your password rather than cumbersome passwords.

Research has shown that iris recognition is more secure than facial recognition and fingerprint encryption and as a working prototype, it works perfectly well even with the dark. It boasts a binocular registration method and a monocular/binocular verification one.

It is compatible with Windows and Mac but not Linux and you will have to run an app every time you plug it in a client. There's no password to log though, just your iris to be scanned and this takes a few seconds to be registered. You just need to look at a mirror on the side.

We'd prefer to have a sturdier model as this one is made of plastic and would probably not last long in a rugged environment. You will also need to carry a USB type-C at all time to activate the drive as it doesn't have an actual male connector. Other than AES256-bit encryption to keep your data secure, the EyeDisk flash drive consumes only 2W of power and weighs a mere 20g.

It managed some very decent numbers on CrystalDiskMark (130MBps transfer rate on read and 84MBps on write) which means that it won't keep you long. At the time of writing, you can only pre-order it via Indiegogo, the crowdfunding platform, and it is scheduled for delivery from March 2019. With a starting price of $59 plus shipping for the 32GB version and $99 for the 128GB, it is reasonably priced although the prices are likely to go up once the early bird offer ends. 

Having a great display is becoming increasingly important in many home offices, especially as more of us move to a multi-screen environment. Dell's newest 32-inch 4K monitor, the Dell U3219Q. offers a bright and vibrant Ultra HD display that is perfect not just for video or gaming, but for workplace applications such as video-conferencing and data modelling.

The unit is fairly bulky once unpacked, but when set up can be adjusted to fit a number of different space allowances, and thanks to an moveable height option, should mean it's not a strain on the eyes or neck. 

The U3219Q features an incredibly useful collection of connectivity options, sporting not just HDMI, USB and DP ports, but USB-C as well, meaning it'll easily slip alongside your existing laptop or PC. The unit even ships with a USB-C and HDMI cable, meaning set-up is quick and easy - just what you need to smarten up your office.

The Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL looks like no portable battery we've seen before. It uses a soft fabric finish and while it has some hard edges, it minimizes the risk of getting your items scratched by eliminating pointed corners altogether. At $149.95 though, it will be a tough sell with so many choices out there in the market.

Its relatively low capacity (19,500mAh) will be a concern when competitors routinely offer 30,000mAh or more. That said, Mophie claims that the battery will be able to add up to 14 hours to the battery life of a USB-C Macbook which is no small feat especially as Mophie says that this would be additional video playback time rather than having the laptop just sitting idle. 

Apple states that the MacBook has a battery life of up to 10 hours so you'd be more than doubling that. The battery charger also supports Fast Charge and can send 30W of power to any compatible devices. At 390g for a thickness of merely 23mm, it is very portable.

Add in a two year warranty and it looks like a decent deal. Bear in mind though that it has only two ports (one USB Type-C and one USB-A) and that the competition offers more features at less than half the price (albeit without the cachet). 

Jackery, for example, offers a 19,200mAh battery with a 45W output that can charge bigger laptops, ditto for the RavPower Turbo series which packs a larger 20100mAh battery. Both have three USB ports and come with a very significant discount compared to the Mophie (up to 67% off).

Note that there is an even bigger (and even more expensive) Mophie 3XL battery that comes with an additional port and a third extra capacity.

The D300S was announced by Kingston and is an updated version of the D300, launched in 2016, with the suffix S standing for Serialised; more on that later. The drive looks like a standard USB drive but sturdier and much, much more expensive. The smallest capacity - 4GB - retails for £100 while the largest one - a 128GB one - sells for a staggering £520. 

Now there is a reason why the D300S carries such a premium according to Kingston. The drive uses custom hardware for encryption (FIPS 140-2 Level 3 256-bit) and decryption which eliminates vulnerabilities associated with any process done on the host system.

That chip and the rest of the hardware is sealed in a tamper evident epoxy material that hardened when it dried.

The drive is also waterproof up to 120cm and should handle bumps and falls easily. The D300S also uses a digitally signed firmware which makes it impervious to the BadUSB attack and it will delete the encryption key after 10 invalid attempts, thwarting any brute force attacks.

Two additional features that separates the S model from the standard model is a barcode and a unique serial number; together they allow system administrators to scan or read the code when configuring the drive.

There's also a virtual keyboard that reduces the risk of having a keylogger storing the password. Sadly though, it does suffer from the fact that you need to install an application prior to using the drive on Windows and the write speeds claimed by Kingston are shockingly low at 40MBps. Read speeds are better at 250MBps.

All in all, Kingston delivers a solid product but this is a very competitive market with the likes of Aegis, Secure Data or Datashur providing some interesting alternatives.

Note that a Serialised Managed (SM) model will follow shortly if Kingston's website is to be believed.

If you need to have small amounts of sensitive data being carried around, then the 3NX could well be a life saver. It brings advanced data protection features to a mainstream market thanks to its attractive low price ($59 for the 2GB/4GB model) and $189 for the 128GB one.

What you do get is some military grade, enterprise-level features like FIPS 140-2 level 3, real time hardware-based encryption, a platform-agnostic setup and a rugged extruded aluminum enclosure.

The data is encrypted using an onboard 10-digit keypad and is powered by an onboard battery.

The 3NX comes with a three-year warranty as well as an IP67 rating. Apricorn claims that the device can hit read/write speeds of up to 77MBps/72MBps, which is more than decent for a USB 3.1 device.

As part of the package, the key can be configured to support independent admin and user PINs. Having the keypad on the key itself makes it near impossible to hack as the encryption hardware is sealed inside the USB drive, not on the host computer.

Furthermore, the buttons are wear resistant and designed not to reveal the most used buttons. Just make sure you don't forget your PIN as you will only have as few as four attempts before the drive deletes the encryption key and with it the ability to decrypt the data stored.

The thought of packing the equivalent of nearly 1,000 CD-ROMs on something barely bigger than the average human fingernail would have been unimaginable only a decade ago.

Now storage companies like Samsung, Sandisk or Integral are slowly pushing 512GB microSD cards in the market, fuelled by demand from mobile devices.

PNY is one of the latest to do so with the Elite, a card that has a rated reading speed of up to 90MBps and enough capacity to store over 80 hours of full HD video content, plus the bonus of having lifetime warranty.

At $350, it is comparable in price with other products in the same category but far more expensive than the 400GB SanDisk Ultra which can be had for about a third of the price for three quarters of the capacity.

We managed write speeds of around 21MBps and read speeds of 66MBps, which are decent numbers without being spectacular, 

Owning a 512GB card, the highest commercial capacity available, will allow you to dramatically increase available storage on your smartphone. 512GB is the maximum storage capacity available on phones likes the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and a 512GB card essentially doubles that amount; great for 4K footage of field visits or business videos.

Other devices like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 6 tablet will also benefit if you want to extra (removable) storage capacity although the read/write speeds are likely to confine the card to a pure secondary storage role.

Omnicharge's Omni Ultimate battery charger is not for everyone. It is big, it is bulky and expensive. Note that the Omni Ultimate has been approved as plane safe - so you can take it with you in the cabin when travelling. You just need a form to fill in for it pre-boarding, which you can get at the airport/gate.

For a growing community of demanding power users though, this battery pack is likely to be an absolute godsend. So much so that an Indiegogo campaign started beginning of October 2018 is likely to raise nearly $1 million from more than 4000 backers, nearly 20x its original flexible goal.

The external battery is built like a tank and is both dust and splash resistant with rubber flaps covering its power outputs. And its list of features is just as impressive: it has a power outlet that can delivery up to 150W DC or 120W AC output, a 40.3Ah/145Whr capacity, a USB Type-C connector that can deliver up 60W power, two USB ports supporting 15W (5V3A) each, a three-hour fast charging (QC3.0-compatible), pass-through charging and a useful OLED display that shows you battery capacity in real time (and to three decimal places).

You can charge it using a solar panel and it is equipped with pass-through charging plus you can even add a spare battery pack. Note that there is a 230V EU version available (but no UK because of the plug size).

With an SRP of $599 though, it will be a tough sell especially when there are cheaper (but less powerful) options around. The MaxOak K2 for example is cheaper and has a higher battery capacity but doesn't have AC output or USB Type-C connectivity. The RavPower AC Power Bank can output to AC but has a battery capacity of only 27Ah.

The Omni Ultimate will be available via Amazon in Q1 2019 (planned for end of January/start of February) in the UK and in the USA. Other territories will follow.

Ensuring your device is powered up on the go is a daily worry for many of us, and there's nothing worse than running out of battery at a crucial time. Linedock thinks it has the answer with its slim and stylish power bank to keep your Macbook charged up when you need it the most.

At just 9mm across, the device slips in neatly under your laptop and packs in a massive 20,000mAh rechargeable battery that should keep you powered up on the move.

Linedock has nine ports in all, including three USB-C ports, three USB 3.0 ports equipped with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3, an SD card and a DisplayPort hub, and multiple devices can be connected at once.

But that's not all - as Linedock can also act as a spare SSD for your device, with the option of adding 256GB or 1TB of storage as an extra bonus to make this a true mobile work hub.

Lindeock has been designed for 13in MacBook Pro devices, but the company says that it is compatible with any laptop powered by USB-C, meaning PixelBook owners are in luck. At $299, this is simply a must-have for Mac users that work on the go, offering style, power and flexibility.

With conference calls becoming an increasingly common part of modern business life, the need for reliable hardware to support this is greater than ever. The OfficeCore M2 is the latest release from Chinese firm EMeet, and looks to provide a smart and stylish way to make sure your calls go off without a hitch.

The OfficeCore M2 offers 360-degree voice recognition thanks to a number of embedded microphones, supporting a range of up to 26 feet away, with the company adding that should support calls with up to 12 people without interference. The device can also link to mobile smart assistants to facilitate greater communication, with Siri, Cortana and Google Now all supported via Bluetooth, although our tests found that this was often patchy to set up.

The major selling point of the OfficeCore M2 is its portability. Equipped with a 2500mAh battery that should easily last through even the longest conference calls, the device can quickly be picked up and carried around in a shoulder bag or rucksack. At $189, it's not the cheapest speakerphone on the market today, but if you're in the market for a device that can easily be taken on the go, this could be the one for you.

Staying online when working on the go has become an incredibly important issue for all mobile workers, as an unreliable connection can be a disaster.

Netgear is looking to solve these worries with its new Nighthawk M1 mobile router, which it says is the company's fastest yet. Capable of supporting Gigabit LTE speeds, the Nighthawk M1 uses four-band carrier aggregation and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to support mobile downloads of up to 1000MBps, as well as uploads of up to 150MBps. Our time with the device found the actual speeds to be fractionally lower, however streaming and uploading were both fast and reliable, both at home and out and about.

The Nighthawk M1 is slim and lightweight, meaning it can be easily carried around in a rucksack or messenger bag. Netgear says that the battery life of the can last 24 hours, and our tests found it comfortably survived a full working day. Set-up is a quick plug-in process, with no external software needed, and the device can even use its USB connectors to charge your mobile device.

In the UK, the Nighthawk M1 can be purchased from Amazon for £299, or via pay-monthly contract with BT or EE. Both options are fairly pricey, with EE offering the device for £29 a month for 24 months after a £99 upfront payment, but if you're looking for fast and reliable connections, this device is ideal.

Offices can often be noisy places to work, so if you are looking to cut yourself off from the world around you, Jabra's latest Bluetooth headset could be the answer.

The Jabra Evolve 75e is the company's latest attempt to help boost the productivity of office workers everywhere with a comfortable headset that offers long battery life and stylish design.

Jabra says that the Evolve 75e are the world’s first professional UC-certified wireless earbuds, making the device ideal for carrying out external or conference calls wherever you are without the need for tangled phone wires or complicated UC set-ups.

Set-up is simple, as the headset connects to your smartphone, laptop or desktop via Bluetooth and a USB plug-in. There's no need to download any extra apps or services, meaning you can jump on calls right away. The sound quality was excellent, with the buds cancelling out the noise of an active workplace, and the in-built microphone able to deliver a clear input.

The only issue we had with the Evolve 75e is that Bluetooth connectivity would occasionally drop for no apparent reason, but with the compact design and long battery life (Jabra promises up to 14 hours) provided, this seems like a minor hiccup.

As more and more consumers ditch cash for contactless and digital payments, businesses of all sizes also need to adapt. Square has long been one of the most exciting payments companies around today, and has now finally brought its Reader product to the UK for the first time.

The product acts as a mobile POS, allowing customers to quickly pay for their items using a contactless card, mobile or wearable device. Targeted predominatly at small businesses or traders, the Square Reader is slim and compact, easily fitting in the palm of your hand.

The £39 reader weighs in at just 56g, meaning it can be handheld, or tethered to a till or counter using an additional £19 dock, allowing for a truly mobile steup. Anyone signing up to Square's service can get approval to start using the system within the hour, taking much of the headache out of setting up a new payments platform, with Square’s own software system offering a POS service as well as in-depth analytics.

The tool seems like an invaluable asset to any small business looking to grow or expand, or any company looking for a more mobile setup. Perhaps our only gripe would be that the device is potentially too compact, and could be lost - but asides from that, a Square Reader could be the key to taking your business to the big time.


Dealing with a number of connectivity options is now an increasing challenge not only for office workers, but also those whose working habits are a bit more flexible. If you're someone who is constantly connecting in different locations, for example hot-desking in multiple offices, then StarTech has you covered. This new mobile hub hooks up to your smartphone or laptop via USB-C, coming with connections ports for USB, HMDI, ethernet and USB-C, meaning you should never be caught short - and it's small and light enough to be carried in your pocket. The HMDI connection supports UHD 4K displays, with the USB-A supporting Fast-Charge technology, meaning you can power both the adaptor and your device in one go.

Many of us know the pain of conference calls being ruined by poor connection or call quality, and with many businesses today choosing to embrace mobile working ideas and services, the need to stay flexible yet connected is paramount.

Sennheiser is looking to solve these woes with its ultra-mobile TeamConnect Wireless - in essence a portable conference room, which can be packed up and carried around for workers on the go. Made up of four speakers, all carried around in a stylish case which doubles as a charging hub, the system can be connected to any laptop, smart device or VC system via Bluetooth, USB or 3.5mm jack. 

Set-up is quick and easy, allowing users to get up and running in a matter of minutes, with Sennheiser saying the kit can support up to 24 participants at once. Our tests showed the audio quality to be very effective, even with multiple participants on different lines, with no connectivity issues.

The ultra-portable design of the TeamConnect Wireless is the major selling point here, as the stylish case is able to charge up the speakers to ensure you're never caught short, and takes up less space than a rucksack. 

However this stylish product doesn't come cheap, costing £3,940, meaning it may be out of the price range for some SMBs. For those that can splash out though, this is an eye-catching piece of kit that allows you to stay connected and conversant with your team or customers wherever you are.

Another option for workers constantly on the go, the TP-Link M4750 offers download speeds of up to 300Mbps, and 50Mbps. That's not enough to reliably stream high-quality media or teleconferencing, but if you need to work on documents or other files, the LTE Cat 6 network connection should be ideal.

Our tests found that the device was reliable in reaching these speeds, even in central London, and more than enough to enjoy reliable connections whilst on the move. The battery life for the device was excellent, lasting a full working day with ease, as TP-Link says that the M4750 can offer up to 15 hours of  juice, and recharging the huge 3000mAh battery is also quick and easy using the microUSB port. 

The M4750 is also light and portable, being small enough to fit inside a jacket pocket, and its rubber build will help protect from any accidental drops or bumps. Set up is remarkably easy, requiring you to just insert the SIM card and turn on, making this much more straightforward than other similar devices.

The device can also work as a wireless hotspot, supporting up to 32 devices at once, across 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, meaning you can set up multiple connections around the home, or even in a small office if needs be - although speeds will drop if you do so. 

However buying the device in the UK is a bit tricky, as you'll have to go through a reseller to get your hands on one - with prices varying among stores, so stay on the lookout for the best deal.

More and more industries are now choosing to use mobile devices in day-to-day operations out in the field thanks to their portability.

The FLIR ONE Pro offers a compact and powerful thermal imaging camera than can show up in-depth information about the world around you.

Attaching via USB-C, the device clips onto the bottom of your phone, acting as an extension to your normal camera, and displaying heat information on the world around you, with hotter objects showing up in brighter colours (see below).

The technology could prove incredibly useful for a number of industries, such as home inspectors looking to find insulation leaks, or electricians aiming to identify an over-heating connection.

You’ll need to download and register with the free FLIR ONE app in order to start using the device, which is an unneeded extra step for many, but does grant you access to the company’s helplines, galleries and app store.

The actual app was often slow to recognise when we had the device plugged in and turned on, however, and sometimes failed to detect it at all, which was slightly annoying for us, but for a worker in the field could be a major hindrance to getting your work done.

Once you do get it up and running, however, the FLIR ONE Pro’s VividIR imaging system reveals a wealth of information on the world around you, and the compact build and design means it’s easy to carry around (although could also make it easier to lose in a crowded toolbox as well….)

Battery life is also not very long, with our tests only finding the device lasting just over an hour, although re-charging was a speedy process. If you’re out working in the field with a cable though, this could be a major downside.

The FLIR ONE Pro also doesn't come cheap, costing £349.95 in the UK, but it could prove invaluable for workers in such specialised areas, and is definitely worth your consideration.

TP-Link says that the M7650 is the fastest Wi-Fi router it has ever made, offering speeds of up to 600MBps, which is easily enough to stream video to your laptop or tablet whilst on the move, as well as high-quality VoLTE audio through your phone - useful if you don't want to miss that conference call.

Our tests found that the device often reached speeds of over 500MBps, which is impressive for central London, and more than enough to enjoy reliable connections whilst on the move.

The M7650 can support up to 32 devices at once, meaning you can set up multiple connections around the home, or even in a small office if needs be - although speeds will drop if you do so. Set up is remarkably easy, requiring you to just insert the SIM card and turn on, making this much more straightforward than other similar devices.

Battery life for the device was excellent, lasting a full working day with ease, as TP-Link says that the M7650 can offer up to 15 hours of  juice, and recharging the huge 3000mAh battery is also quick and easy using the microUSB port.

The M7650 is also light and portable, being small enough to fit inside a jacket pocket, and its rubber build will help protect from any accidental drops or bumps.

However buying the device in the UK is a bit tricky, as you'll have to go through a reseller. This means you'll also need to be on the lookout for differing price options, but if you get the right deal, the M7650 is a must-have.

We love our smartphones so much so that we carry them all the time even at our work, prompting businesses to consider shedding regular landlines and simply embrace the BYOD (bring your own device) paradigm. 

Which is why it is so surprising that few companies have come up with a product like the Invoxia NVX200. In a nutshell, this £209 device converts/transforms your smartphone into a desk phone with a Bluetooth speaker and a charging dock thrown in. It comes with a bunch of connectors and adaptors to connect most smartphones.

Most Apple devices (including the iPod, iPad and iPhone) are supported, as are the latest Android smartphones, thanks to a USB Type-C port. A clever adjustable stand means that any device will sit snuggly on the NVX200. Connect the device via Bluetooth to the latter, put your smartphone in place and you’re ready to go.

Hold down the voicemail key bring up the settings and you will be able to configure the device to your taste, down to the ringtones.  Outwardly, it looks just like a normal desk phone, with lots of curves, a soft surface and a handset with a cable that’s sufficiently long for the user to stand up. Setting it up is straight forward: connect the device to a power socket, dock your smartphone, connect it to the NVX200 via Bluetooth and you’re ready to go. We did encounter some issues though.

The test smartphone, a Sony Xperia Z3, has a micro USB port located on the side rather than at the bottom of the device. To make matters worse, it is not anywhere near the middle which makes it impossible to dock in landscape mode. Things got a bit more complicated when you factor in the casing used to protect it.

Altogether a wireless solution, which integrates no-wires charging, might have been a better solution but would have restricted its appeal. We couldn’t get the speaker to play music wirelessly but it did somehow play music via the micro USB connector but only, and only if Bluetooth is disconnected.

Fed up with losing your connectivity when out and about? Then check out the Multivox Multisim. It is a service that allows access to multiple UK mobile networks from a single SIM card. 

No need to swap tiny pieces of PCB or opt for a sub-optimal dual-SIM smartphone to eliminate the issues associated with poor connectivity, especially when you are out and about. The technology works on almost any recent smartphones and feature phones and doesn’t need a dedicated app. 

If there is no coverage on the primary access network, then your phone will search for another available UK mobile network and if there is one available, it will connect to it. If there are multiple networks available, then it will pick up and run on the network with the strongest signal. 

The Multisim works without having to manually select a different network to switch to and you get to keep your phone number regardless of the network. The only caveat is that a call will drop when the network being used loses coverage altogether; there is no “incall” switching.

You get unlimited UK calls to mobiles and landlines as well as unlimited texts, all courtesy of EE’s network. Four data packages are available, ranging from 2GB (£29.40) to 10GB (£41.90) excluding VAT. The packages can be configured at Immervox.     

There are a fair few solutions available for digitally-savvy globetrotters looking who whiz across the globe for leisure or pleasure. We might have uncovered one of the best ones yet.

From Knowroaming comes a global hotspot that uses a Novatel Wireless Mi-fi, the 6630, and can connect you up in more than 140 countries with 92 of them offering unlimited data for a flat fee of $7.99 per day (about £6.40), a price that even include free, unlimited Whatsapp.

We tried it during a recent trip to Japan where the cost of connectivity is prohibitive and international data roaming is a no-no unless you want to spend hundreds. The Mi-fi device comes in a nice pouch with a few accessories; we just took it out and used it for a few days. It is sturdy enough to withstand a few knocks.

The 6630 is about the size of a Tic-tac box and its user interface is intuitive with only three buttons and a small screen on its front. On top is the power button as well as two USB ports, one for charging up and the other to provide power to external devices.

Inside the 6630 is a 4,000mAh battery that can power the device for up to 20 hours. It is compatible with Cat4 LTE although KnowRoaming only supported 3G for now and an LTE offer is in the pipeline. In use, the service was as seamless as it could be.

Switch it on and connect to it using the provided login details. Note that you can’t change these from the device itself; that can only be done by accessing the device via a browser. Various options exist on the Mi-fi device including the ability to set a number of restrictions, the ability to view your consumption, the number of devices connected at any time and the battery life left. The 6630 supports dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi but no 802.11ac.

Since this is primarily marketed as a business device, it comes with a number of security features including VPN pass-through, NAT firewall, security hardened web interface, Anti-CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) and session timeouts. Sadly though you won’t be able to buy a consumer version of that yet. Instead, the device is only being sold to corporates for $199 (about £160) with discounts being offered for multiple purchases. 

As it stands, the service is meant to be managed centrally by an administrator or IT manager with an entire backend, cloud-based infrastructure provided by KnowRoaming. Suggested improvement to the Mi-fi device would include a thinner, more pocketable model, support for 802.11ac, the inclusion of a microSD card reader and having a smartphone app to allow you to access admin essential information from your smartphone, rather than through a browser.

Find out more at Knowroaming

If you've ever been stuck for mobile signal when travelling to a new country, then the NUU Konnect i1 could be the gadget for you.

Able to provide 4G connections in over 100 countries, the i1 looks to offer a simple, portable way to get online wherever you are in the world.

Most current mobile hotspots are only able to connect to 3G networks, so the Konnect i1 already has an advantage there, thanks to its LTE Cat 6 Qualcomm modem.

The device supports VPNs and Wi-Fi calling, and is equipped with LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/17/20/39/40/41, meaning there's a wide range of possible connections.

NUU Mobile says that it is trying to target frequent travellers with the Konnect i1. The device itself is small enough and light enough to easily slip into your pocket, and is able to power up using its microUSB port.

Setting up is easy enough, with the capacity to connect up to five devices at any one time.

What's more, you'll only play a flat rate of $10 a day to use the device as much as you want, with no contract or sign-up fees.

However, after the first 500MB of data, you'll be dialled back to HSPA+ networks for the next 500MB you use, and then down again to just 128Kbps speeds for anything more than that, unless you spend more for further LTE usage.

For the moment, you can only get hold of the Konnect i1 if you backed the product on Kickstarter, with news of a wider release not available just yet.

If you're in the market for something a bit more heavyweight when it comes to your 4G roaming needs, then you may be interested in the YRoam YR4.

YRoam's services are available in over 100 countries worldwide, including popular business travel destinations such as the USA, Singapore and France.

Simply select one of the company's price plans, starting at 5.9p per MB when you buy a 2GB worldwide package.

If you're only travelling to one location, YRoam also offers a UK, US or EU specific package, lasting for 30 days.

Any data usage you purchase can be used either on a PAYG basis, or the ability to top up later.

YRoam also offers discounted rates for connections in your home country, say if you're out in a remote locations not served by your current provider, starting at just 3p per MB.

You can connect up to five devices at any time, meaning you could have a laptop, phone, tablet and more all online at once.

The device features a huge 6,000mAh battery, although this does mean that you're stuck with a fairly heavyweight build.

However this means that the device doubles up as a power bank to recharge your devices in case of an emergency, with a USB and microUSB port to connect up.

Overall though this is a sturdy hotspot that should serve you well wherever you are in the world.

If you've just started your own business, or need to work from home often, having a flexible and reliable technology set-up should be one of your top priorities.

In order to keep you from wasting time setting up complex systems, teleconferencing experts GoToMeeting have you covered with an all-in-one box of tools that should allow you to get up and running quickly.

The pack contains an Asus Chromebox PC, Logitech wireless keyboard, Logitech 1080p HD webcam and a FLX UC 500 conference phone from Revo labs - pretty much everything you need to get started. 

The products have all been specially selected to work seamlessly together, meaning most of the usual set-up process can be sped through quickly and easily - even if you're not particularly tech-savvy.

Setting up your new kit can be done in a matter of minutes - all you need is a monitor to hook the PC and webcam up to, with all the rest of the hardware able to just plug and play.

The tiny Chromebox PC is incredibly powerful for something so small (at just 12.4cm wide and 4.2cm tall), coming with a powerful 1.7Ghz processor, 4GB of RAM and 16GB storage, making it a great choice if you are strapped for space in your office. The PC also features 4 USB ports alongside DP, HDMI and LAN connectors, offering everything you should need to get started.

Space saving is also helped by the Logitech wireless keyboard, which connects to the Chromebox via USB tracker, and also includes a trackpad in place of a mouse. If you do prefer using a physical mouse, you'll have to splash out on a separate piece.

All the devices work together quickly and easily, meaning you'll be able to start working, calling and even videoconferencing in no time. The webcam is once again surprisingly powerful for its size, offering a smooth video experience, although we did see some slowdown in some cases.

The only minor downside is the need to buy the entire package, meaning that if you only need a conference phone, or a compact PC, you may be better off buying these separately. 

At the time of writing, the kit is only available to buy in the USA, costing $999, with a subscription fee of $99 a month, making it a fairly pricey proposition - however if you're already an existing GoToMeeting customer, it can be built into your current subscription. 

As many jobs require more computing power, the need for extra connectivity is also becoming a common demand among workers. StarTech's latest hub allows users to connect two PCs, allowing for multi-hardware and screen access all from a single source. The hub supports two Mini DP PC connections, and resolutions up to 4K AT 60Hz, making this ideal for designers, animators, or other graphics-based roles.

Switching between the two connected PCs is as simple as pushing a button on the front of the hub, and users can also set up hotkeys to make usage even easier. As well as the PC connections, there are three USB 2.0 ports on the front, including a dedicated mouse and keyboard slot that offers plug-and-play support for Windows, Linux and Mac accessories.

The hub is also small and light enough at 845g to be carried around in a laptop case or backpack, making it an ideal partner for those moving around different locations.

If you're someone who travels for work a lot, staying powered up on the move may often prove a challenge. Although power banks for mobile devices have been popular for some time, anyone looking for a laptop equivalent could be caught short. However Orico's new SC28 offering provides a huge capacity that should be perfect for staying charged up on a trip. With a capacity of 28,800mAh, the SC28 provides easily enough juice for even the thirstiest laptops, which can be quickly recharged via USB or power socket. 

The latter features a number of adaptors for different markets, meaning you should never be caught short, with Orico promising five hours of life for a 13in laptop. The SC28 can charge up to three devices at once, meaning you can power your laptop, phone and router all at once for the ideal mobile working solution. The device itself looks stylish, with a sleek aluminium alloy body that weighs in at just under 1kg, but should still easily slip into a rucksack or laptop bag.

In modern busy offices, it can be tricky to get some quiet - particularly if you’re trying to carry out a conference call or video meeting from your desk. Sennheiser, which is perhaps better known for its consumer headphone line, is looking to address this with a new headset targeted at business customers.

The MB 660 may resemble normal ‘cans’ style headphones, but in fact can act as a Bluetooth-enabled wireless headset, allowing you to use them as a meeting accessory in today’s UC-dominated workplace.

As you would expect from a brand such as Sennheiser, the audio quality is excellent, whether that’s with a voice call, watching video or even listening to music. This is complimented by the noise-cancelling ability of the headset, which comes with three separate settings that allow you to select your level of isolation. This high-standard audio quality does come at a price, but if you value your calls and media, it may be worth shelling out.

The headset comes with its own stylish and compact carry case, which also house the charging cables and USB connector. Battery life was excellent, with the headset not needing a recharge during our week-long test - and when we did plug it in, recharging was quick and effective.

If you're looking for a slim and stylish accessory to help guide you through your presentations, then Logitech may have just the tool for you. The company has released a new edition of its Spotlight presentation remote, promising "a whole new standard" in presentation control.

The new product offers a stylish minimalist design made out of polished metal, weighing in at just 49g, with the slim build meaning it sits nicely in the palm of your hand. Three programmable buttons on the front giving you the opportunity to control your presentation however you like. The remote is able to highlight and magnify certain areas on screen, allowing you to focus on specific items or points, and has a range of up to 30 metres for those grander presenting occasions, connecting via Bluetooth to your Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS or Android device.

It even comes with a timer, which can show how long you've been speaking for and vibrate to tell you if you're about to run over your allotted presentation time. Battery life is substantial enough to last you through a working day, and is quickly recharged.

The only downside is the price - at £119.95, it is quite an expensive option, but if you're looking for an effective and stylish presentation helper, this is the tool for you.

If you thought that the era of writing stuff down using pen and paper was dead, then Moleskine is here to prove you wrong.

The iconic notebook provider, well-known for its leather-bound pages, is embracing the technology world with its new Smart Writing Set, which it says combines the pleasure of writing with pen and paper with the ease and speed of editing offered by modern word processing software.

The kit consists of a smart Pen+ tool, which, when used to write on the accompanying 'Paper Tablet', will also display what you are writing on an accompanying phone or tablet device. Connected via Bluetooth, your device, boosted by the Moleskine Notes App, then allows you to record and edit your scribblings, meaning you can add extra colour, highlights and more.

The app, which is available on iOS and Android devices, stores all the writing done in your Paper Tablet, meaning you can delete or move pages across devices, and even sync using your Google Drive or Evernote account.

As for the kit itself, it resembles your traditional writing tools, with the Pen+ taking after a standard fountain pen - albeit with a hidden camera by the nib which traces and digitises everything you write. The Paper Tablet is slightly thicker than a usual Moleskine, but features NCode technology embedded in every page to allow the Pen+ to pick up your writing or drawing.

All in all, the device works well - once you're registered on the app, using the Pen+ is smooth, and the data transfer is effective, even if like us, you aren't particularly artistically-minded. But whilst this is clearly a clever product (and at £199, a premium one too...) there remains a slight nagging question about what it's trying to achieve. 

Those of us used to writing with a pen and pad will find some advantages, most notably the chance to edit and remove notes, but with tablet devices and lightweight laptops so commonplace today, it still seems like an odd choice of platform for Moleskine. 

The idea behind the F3 is a simple one: provide with a stand that simplifies and organises a desk while maintaining a clean, functional style, without an expensive price tag.

Satechi achieves it with this product which packs some interesting features on top. It has two, rather than one, preset height options thanks to a pair of sturdy aluminium legs with rubber pads.

Physically, it is a fairly big slap of plastic (550 x 231mm) available either in white or anthracite. Plastic usually infers flimsiness but there wasn’t any in sight. This is proper solid stuff. The aluminium legs slot in within seconds after the shorter, permanent ones are deployed.

There’s plenty of connectivity as well; four front facing USB 3.0 ports plus headphone/microphone ports with long cables to connect to your PC or laptop.

It doesn’t require power as the ports are essentially passive ones. The F3 took the weight of a 27-inch monitor without flinching and there are reports of customers using it with a 34-inch behemoth.

You will be able to put items weighing up to 11Kg on top. There’s enough clearance (about 30mm) underneath the actual plastic stand to slot in a keyboard.

Adding the aluminium feet adds another 50mm. A few more USB ports or a smartphone stand might have been useful together with a couple of extra height options. There’s also the fact that a more premium material like glass or aluminium might have been a better, albeit more expensive, option.

A few vendors (Acer, Lenovo) have tried to deliver laptops with dual displays but these proved to be niche products with high prices and they were commercial failures.

Enter PackedPixels (£149 each, about $194, AU$252), a deceptively straightforward product from Dovetail Technology that brings multiple displays to laptops with one big caveat.

Your laptop will need to be equipped with a DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 1 or 2 ports. Newer Thunderbolt 3 ports won't work even with an adaptor, and obviously older ones like HDMI, DVI or VGA are out of the picture.

Note that you can use a USB 3.0 to DisplayPort converter according to the manufacturer. That is what you will have to do on non-Apple laptops.

If you have a DP or a TB1/2 port (Dell XPS 13 first generation, MacBook Pro etc) then using the bundled universal adaptor, you will be able to connect either one or two displays, each of them 9.7-inch in size and with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels.

That's a 4:3 aspect ratio, something that works well in cramped spaces and is actually the same screen as the iPad Retina Display.

The designers made the right decision to hide the connecting ports (DisplayPort and USB) where the stand is supposed to slot.

Bear in mind that using two extra screens will eat up your battery faster, although, as Dovetail technologies suggests, you might also use a mobile phone adapter or an emergency power bank (like the Aukey 30Ah) to help out.

Given the connector, you won't need any additional driver installation for any operating system. The screens are automatically adjustable and can be used in portrait or landscape mode.

Jackery is a little known company that focuses - like so many out there - on producing portable laptop and smartphone chargers. Its flagship product is the massive PowerPro, a 500Whr/140Ah Portable Power station rechargeable battery pack, The Jackery Titan S is a portable battery (72.4Whr) that can not only charge your mobile or tablet but also, according to its manufacturer, the popular Apple MacBook laptop. 

We didn’t have one at hand to test that claim sadly; note that it is also available in orange which for some reason has a lower capacity. Its black metal aluminium casing ensures that it will survive more than a few drops and it does feel very solid. Shame though about the sharper-than-usual edges on both sides and we’re not fans of the curvy profile of the Titan S as this caused it to slip a few times. 

This is a portable charger/battery pack so don’t expect too much innovation; it doesn’t switch off automatically but does identify the connected device by itself, charging it at the maximum permitted power.

Other than a big power button and a 4-led battery status indicators which means you will never really know when the item will be fully charged when you reach four blue dots or discharged when it shows one blue dot. 

There are two full size USB ports - a 15W one (5V, 3A) and an 18W one (supporting variable voltages thanks to Quick Charge, up to 3.4A) - and a USB Type-C one that can deliver 15W power (5V, 3A); the latter can also be used to charge the battery. 

At 155 x 80 x 22mm for a weight of 435g, it is a tad smaller (volume wise) and lighter than the Aukey Powerbank although the latter has a far superior capacity (30Ah compared to 20.1Ah). The Jackery Titan comes with a micro USB charging cable and a two-year warranty but no carry case. The item is out of stock in the UK at the time of writing. 

This printer is not for everyone. It is slow, expensive to buy and to maintain, and it is not even wireless! But then not all printers can list on their spec sheet that they're the world's lightest all-in-one printer, one that can not only print (obviously) but also scan and copy.

The Primera Trio uses only a normal microUSB cable to charge and to connect to the host computer, and unlike most of the competition, it is truly portable (as in it has a battery inside) and boasts a smaller footprint than most laptops.

Outside of this nifty gadget, you'll be hard pressed to find a compact device that you can take with you to print important documents that need immediate signatures (or at least draft copy). The scanning capability is not a big deal – you can always take pictures instead – although with the Trio, you will be able to do copies fairly easily.

Home working can often be a battle for space within a fairly cramped environment, so wireless accessories have become more and more popular in the past few years.

The Gyration Air Mouse Voice looks to take wireless mouse technology one step further, offering flexible use cases from the desk to the boardroom and beyond thanks to the power of voice.

The device, which costs $99, is able to act as a typical desktop mouse, connecting via Bluetooth, but thanks to in-built microphones, can also double up as an in-air meeting pointer, where it can work with voice recognition to skip through slides.

The voice commands can also be used to zoom in on specific details in a slide, and even open up your web browser - all activated just with a push of a button.

Asides from the voice control, the device can also be used as an in-air mouse, allowing to to navigate around a companion PC or laptop whilst in use, which could be super handy for launching new documents or finding specific details.

Set-up is quick and easy, with no special drivers needed, and each of the three device buttons able to be programmed to specific commands via a desktop app. The Air Mouse voice has a wireless range of 70 metres, meaning it’s ideal for both the boardroom and the conference hall, and works with both Windows and OSX software. 

The mouse itself may not feel particularly premium, with a rather fragile-looking plastic finish, but if you need to give presentations on a regular basis, this could be an ideal product to take your work to the next level.

Your daily meetings might be about to get even more interactive thanks to the GoTouch pen from Anyractive.

Comprised of a wireless pen and camera unit, the device is in theory able to turn any wall, table or even floor into a display that can be written on. The GoTouch works by connecting to a smartphone or Windows PC connected to an external display, which is then broadcast to your surface of choice.

Unfortunately setting up the device is quite fiddly, requiring a separate app download before you can start projecting. Linking to your Android or iOS device is then done by Bluetooth, which is rather spotty, and means connecting your display and smartphone to the app, which can take some time - not ideal if you quickly need to start a presentation.

Once we did get the GoTouch operational, the pen was largely successful when writing, but did cut out several times. As a pocket-sized projector, however, the GoTouch camera was rather more successful.

Battery life was good, with the camera staying operational for several hours of broadcast, and recharging speedily via USB, however the pen is powered by physical batteries, meaning it might need keeping an eye on in case of embarrassing power failures during a presentation.

Ordering the GoTouch may also be a bit tricky unless you are fluent in Korean, with the company’s online store not offering an English-language version just yet. This also means we have no idea how much it actually costs, as although Anyractive’s Kickstarter page (which says the GoTouch costs $89) smashed its initial $300,000 target, the device is yet to start shipping.

Overall, the GoTouch is a great idea, but one let down hugely by setup problems.

Monoprice's latest 27in monitor looks to offer a premium display without the high price, and for the most part, it succeeds.

The Monoprice 18545 comes with a 27in LED backlit IPS display sporting a 16:9 2560x1440 maximum resolution - equating to 1440p. This does mean it isn't 4K-equipped, however our tests showed the display to perform well with HD video content as well as regular day-to-day use.

The device comes with 178° viewing angles and the company's Pixel Perfect guarantee, which promotes the wide range of colours. Thanks to a flexible rear hinge, the device can also be angled for your viewing preference, with a tilt range from +15 to -5 degrees, which can be useful if you sit near a window.

The monitor comes with an incredibly slim build which is just 2.1in thick, meaning that the screen should easily fit into most workplace desktop environments - and the metal base is pleasingly solid, meaning you shouldn't be able to accidentally knock it over.

The polished grey metal design of the Monoprice 18545 should help blend in to your home or office, but be warned though, the corners of the aluminium build can be remarkably sharp if you catch it unexpectedly. The rear of the display was also quick to warm up quite alarmingly on several occasions, although this did not appear to impact performance.

Given that it isn't 4K-ready, the $279 price tag for the Monoprice 18545 is certainly reasonable, however if you are looking for a truly top-of-the-range offering, it might be worth spending a little more money elsewhere.

Keeping workplace data safe is a major consideration for many workers, and the Aegis Secure Key 3Z features one of the toughest alternatives around. 

Primarily targeting those workers who are out and about a lot, and also want to keep their valuable information secure, the device is equipped with a physical keypad to protect what's inside.

Despite only being the size of a regular USB stick, the Aegis Secure Key 3Z is one tough cookie, able to stand up to almost any work environments. The rubber exterior, which is IP58 protective against dust and water, safeguards a rugged aluminium build inside and out, meaning that there is no easy way to break into this device.

The Aegis Secure Key 3Z also features top-of-the-range encryption that meets government standards alongside the onboard keyboard to enter a custom PIN and access the data within. Despite all this protection, setting up and using the device is fairly straightforward, not requiring any extra software or complex processes, with all the protection contained within.

In fact, the only downside appears to be the high price - at $79 for the 8GB model we reviewed, this is a far pricier alternative than other devices around today. But if security is your number one concern, then this is the storage device for you.

With data security becoming paramount for many of us these days, the diskAshur Pro looks to offer a comprehensive security offering to ensure your important data stays intact.

The key selling point of the diskAshur Pro is its obvious physical security - the device comes with a keypad that will only grant access to the data stored within upon entering a PIN number. Far from your usual ATM PIN number though, the device requires an identifier between seven and 15 digits, offering far tougher security, with the number able to be quickly personalised and changed, in order to keep your data safe.

Asides from the physical security (which extends to IP56 water and dust resistance and even a self-destruct feature), the diskAshur Pro also comes with some enviable encryption, sporting XTS-AES 256-bit real-time full disk hardware encryption and EDGE technology to offer even more levels of safety.

This version of the drive offers 500GB of storage, which should easily be enough to store all your vital documents, media and more, and connects to your PC or laptop via a standard USB 3.1 port.

The diskAshur Pro works across all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux, and requires no extra additional software to be installed, meaning using the device is incredibly easy.

Getting hold of the product may be the main issue with the diskAshur Pro, with the company manufacturing and selling many other models of the device on its site. We found this particular model for sale on Amazon for £211.96, and on iStorage's own site for £209.

If you are able to get one, however, the diskAshur Pro is unparalleled in both its physical and internal protection, and the compact build and hard-wearing design make this a must-have for the security-conscious.

The Apricorn Aegis Secure Key cuts a familiar figure; it does look a lot like the iStorage one but has 60x more capacity while costing about five times more. Comparing it to other secure USB drives, it does come across as being a bit of a bargain if you want to store massive amounts of data although it costs around three times the cheapest 512GB USB drive.

The USB drive itself incorporates a full 10-key alphanumeric keypad with two function keys plus three status lights. It then slots into a hardened epoxy-potted rugged aluminum enclosure which makes it dust and waterproof; the device is also certified IP-58 and at 46g and 93mm long is fairly chunky, putting a bigger strain on a device’s USB port than most USB drives.

As expected, it comes with built-in hardware encryption (256-bit AES) which means that it is totally independent from the host client and OS-agnostic. No keyloggers and no BadUSB vulnerability. It can be used where no keyboards are present and doesn’t require any drivers or software. It also means that it is powered by a battery which, unfortunately, adds another potential point of failure, especially as it runs rather hot in use. 

The Aegis Secure Key has also received a FIPS 140-2 level 3 accreditation from NIST, the US-based National Institute of Standards and Technology, which oversees US government IT and computer security. Setting the drive up is the hardest part of the process. There is no factory default PIN so you need to create your own PIN (at last 7 numbers up to 16) to use it. 

The drive can be configured with an admin PIN and a user PIN, both of which are independent and is a particularly useful option in a corporate setup when multiple units are deployed. 

The presence of an on-device keyboard makes brute-force attempts difficult and after 20 incorrect PIN entry attempts, the drive automatically deletes the encryption key, rendering the data unreadable. What’s more, it auto-locks when it is disconnected from the host PC or after a set period. Note that it may not work with a USB-hub because of higher power requirements.

There is also a read-only mode that prevents the user from tampering with data on the drive. Add in a rated data transfer rate of up to 190MBps/160MBps (read/write speeds) and a three-year warranty and you get a very solid product. As always, bear in mind that such a device – especially of this size- doesn’t remove the need to have a secure backup; drives – even those with high MTBF - do fail, get damaged or lost.

Plug in the Kingston Ironkey D300 (IKD300/8GB) in your computer and the first thing you will notice is that the drive shows up as a CD Drive with a 14.4MB capacity.  Surely some mistake! Well, you actually need to initialise the drive before using it for the first on any computer.

Note that Kingston strongly advises not to use the drive via a USB hub. Launching the application will request that you create a password (between eight and 16 characters) and will go on to format the drive.

You will confusingly end up with two “drives”, one with the initialisation software and the other one being the actual empty drive. Insert it in another computer (Linux, Mac or Windows) and you will be prompted to enter the right password.

Otherwise, as for other similar solutions on the market, enter the password wrong 10 times in a row and your content will be erased. As for the drive itself, it is an 8GB model with a zinc casing – which also doubles as a heatsink as the D300 heats up a fair bit under use - and tamper-evident epoxy seal for physical security.

With its cap on, it is waterproof (up to 4ft) and dustproof and at 51g, feels solid. More importantly though, the more compelling protection happens inside the device itself. It is a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified device with 256-bit AES hardware encryption.

There is a hardware cryptographic module inside the device itself which means that the encryption and decryption is done on the drive rather than on the host PC, with digitally signed firmware which makes the D300 immune to the notorious BadUSB exploit.

The D300, which comes with a five-year warranty, also offers a read-only option which allows any user, once authenticated, to open and view content on the drive but not change, update or erase the content.

There’s also a managed version of the drive which, as its name implies, allows the drive to be deployed en masse across an organisation but requires Ironkey EMS by Datalocker which allows for the drives to be centrally managed. This allows for drive-specific policies and allows administrators to disable lost or stolen drives remotely and more.

The drives are available in capacities ranging from 4GB to 128GB. The rated transfer rates of the drive vary between 80MBps to 250MBps (read) and 12MBps to 85MBps (write) depending on the capacity. Rule of thumb is the lower the capacity, the slower it will be.

The 8GB model performed better than expected with CrystalDiskMark benchmark results hitting 237.6MBps and 58.69MBps on Read and Write respectively.

The trend for thinner, lighter and more aesthetically pleasing laptop designs gave us the Apple Macbook, a stunningly beautiful device with only one connector, a lonely USB Type-C port.

There's a plethora of accessories - adapters and docking stations - on the market to solve that problem though, especially as more and more laptops are following Apple's lead and cutting the number of connectors to a minimum.

The Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter is one of them. Available in four Apple-friendly colours, this device quadruples the amount of ports of the aforementioned MacBook.

There's a pass-through USB Type-C as well as two USB Type-A ports and an HDMI connector capable of supporting 4K video content, albeit at 30Hz - we'd certainly have preferred a DisplayPort.

Physically, the device is about 105mm long and comes with a 150mm USB Type-C cable. The enclosure is made entirely of aluminium which has a propensity to get scratched and marked when flung around too often.Compared to other products on the market, having a cable is preferable to avoid accidental damage to your laptop's port.

Note that each USB port on the Slim Type-C hub can provide 5V/1A (or 5W) and that Satechi advises that the maximum power load on the hub shouldn't exceed 10W, which excludes using it for heavy duty activities (e.g. charging two tablets).

The product comes with a one-year warranty. 

Sandberg's Powerbank is neither the cheapest or the most powerful around. However, it does come with a couple of features that make it a rather enticing option.

It outputs to a number of voltages (12V, 16V, 19V and 20V), automatically choosing the right one depending on the device connected to it.

There are also two USB ports and these are obviously hardwired to output 5V on both. There are also 12 different charge tips but none would fit my Dell XPS 13, and they won't be useful for USB Type-C models like the Dell XPS 13 2016 edition.

There are a couple of things that differentiate this from most of its rivals on the market: it uses a brushed, premium, aluminium finish, with bright blue LED status lights that clearly indicate the amount of juice left or how close the battery is to being charged.

Speaking of charging, Sandberg decided to equip the Powerbank with a dedicated input port which allows the device to be charged in record time thanks to a 36W (18V/2A) power supply unit.

In comparison, the Aukey 30Ah we reviewed recently could only be charged using a 12W USB port which makes charging a lengthy process, often an overnight affair. It also means that you don't rely on your laptop or mobile charger to get the battery replenished.

Sandberg has equipped the Powerbank with an automatic 'switch on and switch off' mechanism to save power. It can deliver up to a total of 85W meaning that it can accommodate a massive 70W on its laptop/DC Out port. Note that the device comes with an industry-leading five-year warranty.

Quite a lot of Ultrabooks (and even a fair few graphics cards) now come with Mini DisplayPort connection as standard in lieu of the traditional D-Sub or HDMI ports; which can prove to be a pain if you're planning to deliver a presentation at a client's office and they only have a HDMI projector.

In theory, Mini DisplayPort – which is popular with Apple - has enough bandwidth to drive 4K monitors at 60Hz (HDMI can only do it at 30Hz) which results in a smoother end-user experience. However, today's product doesn't achieve this (it does reach 4K at 30Hz though).

What it does is merely converting the Mini DisplayPort to a HDMI port, all for just over £23 (about $35, AU$45), more specifically from DP m1.2 to HDMI 1.4 without the need for drivers or external power source.

Unlike other passive video adaptors, this one offers active signal conversion which means that it doesn't require a multi-mode DisplayPort source signal (like AMD's Eyefinity) which greatly expands its compatibility option. In addition, mDP supports 5.1 Surround Sound out of the box and is compatible with most Intel Thunderbolt devices. You will still need to have a HDMI cable at the other end though.

From a distance, it looks like a standard USB cable with a microUSB connector on one end and a bigger-than-average one on the other. 

But look closer and you will see that it is a mirroring and KM (keyboard and mouse) sharing accessory. The KMC6105 allows you to view and interact with your Android device regardless of the brand and platform (i.e. tablet, Chromecast, smartphone) as well as sharing your keyboard and mouse.

Perhaps more importantly, it charges your Android device while in use, something that the previous generation model did not offer. Unlike that one, it allows you to use your smartphone as an additional screen. It also offers copy/cut and paste as well as drag and drop across the platform.

You will need to install a small executable file that is located on the device itself. Otherwise it will only behave like a standard (expensive) cable. You will need to enable Developer Options in newer smartphones by clicking seven times on the "build number" menu.

Subsequently, you will need to allow USB debugging which is how the KMC6105 works its magic. The installation process will also download the device's driver where necessary. Note that the device carries a standard two-year warranty and is USB 2.0 only.

The Android OS Mirroring and KM sharing cable is on sale at Lindy for £24.96.

Audio has historically never been a forte for laptops and that hasn't changed for Ultrabooks especially for those at the lower end of the spectrum (one might even say that it became worse).

Which is why something like an external sound card comes in quite handy. USB devices in general usually carry a performance penalty mostly because they use the host's processing power.

They also have a small impact on the battery life. However, given how powerful the recent crop of Intel-based processors has been, that shouldn't be an issue. 

The ICUSBAUDIOMH External USB Card lets you add an S/PDIF digital audio output or a standard 3.5mm analog audio connection to your system through USB and essentially adds a 5.1 sound card.

The device, which is about the size of a lighter, has two 3.5-inch jacks for headphone and microphone (some Ultrabooks like the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro only have one port).

Startech's external card comes at the end of a rather long USB cable, uses a Via VT1630A chipset and is capable of sampling audio at up to 96kHz.

Available in black or white, it does support Sony's PlayStation 3 gaming console and comes with a two-year warranty.

This USB Stereo Audio Adapter External Sound Card is available for sale at Startech.

Categories: Tech News

This little robot can melt and re-form its own legs to change its stride

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:04

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a miniature robot that can re-form its own legs to change its gait on the fly.

Rather than settling with just one skeleton, the tiny bot can alter its 'bones' to change the way it walks to suit different terrain. Its skeleton is rigid at first, but tiny joints within it become flexible when a current passes through them.

Once softened, the joints can be moved into a different position. They will freeze in their new configuration when the current is stopped, giving the bot a whole new walk.

Bend me, shape me

Robots are typically highly specialized, designed to perform a single task as well as possible,  but this adaptive technology opens up a lot of possibilities. The team behind the bot are hoping to develop new models that are capable of adapting themselves for walking, swimming, and even flying.

They foresee future versions being useful in disaster recovery and military surveillance. For the time being, you can see how the adaptable skeleton works in the video below, and witness the bot adapting its body to fit under an obstacle. It's not quite the Terminator, but it's impressive nonetheless.

Via Technology Review

Categories: Tech News

Amazon's Alexa Store now allows some users to create and share skills

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:00

Amazon has opened up its US Alexa Store to allow anyone to publish and share Alexa skills created with its 'Blueprints' program.

So far, there's no word on when this feature will be rolled out to the UK and Australia, but the US launch alone will likely see an influx of new skills becoming available for the voice assistant. 

As well as opening up the Alexa Store to have-a-go skill-makers, Amazon is set to launch a number of new Blueprints templates aimed at bloggers and organizations. 

Skills for days

Blueprints, which was launched last year, allows anyone to make their own skills without the need to be a coding genius, thanks to series of walkthrough templates that allow anyone to knock up a personalized Skill in just a few moments. Save it, send it to the cloud, and within a few minutes, it's ready to use with your Echo speaker.

Using these templates, you can create skills as varied as voice-enabled games, educational tools, and stories to be read aloud by Alexa – and all you need to do is fill out a form with all the features you want your skill to have. 

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

“Are you available for a quick task?” – Keep an eye out for the latest phishing scam hitting inboxes

Latest Tech News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:00

The email scam is one of the most common forms of cyber-attack. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, phishing email scams have cost billions of dollars in fraud losses over the last five years. 

Duo, a cloud-based access protection company that provides a phishing campaign tool for organizations to help identify vulnerable end-users, shared an analysis of 7,483 phishing simulation campaigns conducted from mid-2017 to April 2018. Of more than 230,000 recipients, 44 percent opened phishing emails and 26 percent clicked links within the emails.

“Phishing” is the practice of pretending to be a friend, coworker, business partner, or other reputable source to gain private information. Although many of us know the signs of a typical email scam, multiple organizations are experiencing phishing scams that are harder to detect.

Targeted phishing

In a recent phishing attempt slipping through spam filters, scammers pretend to be your organization’s president. By pretending to be someone the recipient knows, the scammer lulls their target into a false sense of security, luring them into a response. Adding to the vulnerability, many of us check email on smartphones, where an incorrect email address is easy to miss.

Targeted phishing attacks like this have been continuing to rise across the globe, due to their effectiveness and difficulty to stop before they make it to an end user’s inbox.  

Being proactive is the key to keeping organizations and individuals safeguarded.  I recommend companies and/or individuals:

  • Purchase domain names that are similar to your own domain, or that could be easily glanced over if a letter is replaced. If purchasing these domain names isn’t possible, you can block inbound emails from these domains.
  • Add a spam filter that warns users if the message they’re receiving is originating from outside the organization. Seeing that warning can remind you to stop and think before responding. 
  • Call if you’re unsure. Scam emails usually sound urgent to get you to engage, asking things like, “Are you available for a quick task?” Making a phone call to the organization president or perceived sender will ensure that the email sender is who they say they are.

One final proactive measure I recommend is to regularly educate employees on spam and phishing email trends, as well as requesting that employees notify a supervisor or IT leader when a phishing email is seen. 

Image Credit: TechRadar

Falling victim to phishing

If you find that a member at your organization has fallen for or responded to a targeted phishing email, do not panic. Begin handling the incident with a fact-finding mission to determine how large or widespread the event might be. Was this isolated to one individual, or is it possible that others responded to a similar message? Searching your email firewall logs could give you more insight into any other users that may have received or responded to the message. Often, similar messages will be sent to a wide variety of employee email addresses. The information is usually pulled from LinkedIn, where scammers search for companies and target users with specific job titles who are more likely to expect and respond to a message from the president of the organization.

If an end user sent an initial response, the criminal is now ready to begin the real work, trying to extract value out of the interaction. The “value” could be anything from critical or proprietary business information, information to help them further their attack, or in most cases, money. Luckily, many of these criminals aren’t very savvy in their techniques, and most employees will be able to spot the odd response they get, usually with poorly chosen words or strange requests.

So, what can or should you do if the attack has made it past this point and information or money has been exchanged? Depending on the criticality of the information lost or the specific dollar amount, some organizations choose not to share the incident publicly. In some cases, specifically the loss of a dollar amount, you should know your organization’s stance on attempting to recoup the loss. If you find yourself in a situation where serious harm to your organization could occur, I recommend contacting your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible.  

A proactive approach is to know and keep regular contact with local members of your police force. Remain informed by getting involved with InfraGuard, a non-profit organization that serves as a public-private partner between U.S. businesses and the FBI.  

As with any good information security program, there should be continued education and follow-up with employees that continue to fall for phishing emails. Building a culture of security throughout your organization is critical in today’s world.

Richard Kalinowski, Information Security Architecht at  FNTS

Categories: Tech News

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