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In an attempt to beat Samsung to the punch, Xiaomi has launched its flagship smartphone in China. The Mi 9 is powered by Snapdragon 855 chipset, has a triple camera setup and features 20W fast wireless charging. While the Mi 9 is not the world’s first smartphone to be powered by the state-of-the-art chipset, Xiaomi reaffirms that the phone would be readily available. Hence, we could say that Mi 9 is commercially the world’s first Snapdragon 855 smartphone. The Mi 9 SE, on the other hand, is the very first phone to be powered by Snapdragon 712.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to the on-paper specifications of both the phones.Xiaomi Mi 9 specifications and price
Mi 9 features a 6.39-inch AMOLED panel which has been sourced from Samsung. It has a Full HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) resolution and supports HDR playback. The phone has a 90.7% screen-to-body ratio due to the waterdrop-style notch implementation on the front. There’s a protective layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 on the front to minimize daily wear and tear.
The phone's chassis is crafted out of 7000 series aluminum and has a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 on the rear. It is 7.6mm at its thickest point and weighs around 173 grams.
Coming to the camera, the Mi 9 sports three cameras on the back and the modules are covered in Sapphire glass for added protection. The three cameras consist of a primary 48MP camera which has a Sony IMX586 sensor with an f/1.75 aperture and quad-Bayer pixel array.
The secondary 12MP camera uses a Samsung S5K3M5 telephoto sensor which has an f/2.2 aperture and 2x optical zoom. Xiaomi has also provided a wide-angle camera which makes up the third camera of the Mi 9. It has a Sony IMX481 powered 16MP sensor with a 117-degree field of view.
DxOMark has awarded the Mi 9 with 107 points which makes it the third-best camera phone in their list, only after Huawei’s Mate 2 Pro and P20 Pro.
On the front, the Mi 9 sports a 20MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture for selfies.
Being a Xiaomi flagship, the Mi 9 is powered by Snapdragon 855 chipset and is backed by 6GB/8GB RAM and 64GB/128GB onboard storage.
The Mi 9 also supports face-unlock and features a fingerprint sensor that’s embedded into the display itself.
Xiaomi’s Mi 9 has a 3,300mAh battery to its disposal and it supports 27W fast charging via USB Type-C. The Quick Charge 4+ adapter is a separate accessory and the phone comes with an 18W charger in-the-box. In addition to that, the Mi 9 supports up to 20W fast wireless charging, a world’s first at that. The company has also launched a wireless charging pad alongside the phone.
The Mi 9 is priced starting at CNY 2,999 (~ Rs 31,700) for the 6GB RAM variant with 128GB storage while the 8GB RAM variant is priced at CNY 3,299 (~ Rs 34,900). There's a China-exclusive transparent variant of the Mi 9 as well with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage which retails for CNY 3,999 (~ Rs 42,300).Xiaomi Mi 9 SE specifications
The world’s first phone to be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 712, the Mi 9 SE (Special Edition) features a 5.97-inch Super AMOLED display. The screen has the same waterdrop design on the front like the Mi 9 which gives it a 19.5:9 aspect ratio with a Full HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) resolution. The Mi 9 SE also has a fingerprint sensor embedded into the screen.
The octa-core CPU is clocked at 2.3GHz and is supported by 6GB of RAM with an option to choose between 64GB or 128GB internal storage.
Like the Mi 9, the special edition also sports a triple camera setup. There’s a primary 48MP camera with an f/1.8 aperture, a secondary 13MP ultra-wide sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and an 8MP telephoto lens.
For selfies, the Mi 9 SE has a 20MP front-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture.
The Mi 9 SE draws power from a 3,070 mAh battery which supports fast charging via an 18W adapter which is provided in-the-box.
As for the pricing, the Mi 9 SE starts at CNY 1,999 (~ Rs 21,100) for the 64GB storage variant and CNY 2,299 (~ Rs 24,300) for the 128GB version.
- Also Read: Huawei P30 Pro will have four rear cameras
Xiaomi has launched its Mi 9 flagship smartphone at an event in China. The new phone is the successor to the Mi 8, and has some novel features and specs – but don’t expect to be able to buy it outside China yet.
The Mi 9 will have a 6.39-inch display, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor, while the notch and bezels are tiny – according to Xiami the screen-to-body ratio is more than 90%, and judging by official images this seems pretty accurate.
While we don’t know the actual dimensions of the device, but one interesting feature is the curved back – since most modern flagship devices have flat backs, the Mi 9 will feel different to hold than many other phones.
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One of the Mi 9's main selling points is its impressive three-camera rear setup, with a 48MP main snapper, 12MP telephoto lens and 16MP ultra-wide lens. Xiaomi is talking up the device’s ‘Moon Mode’, which allows the capture of subjects at a long distances – including, of course, the moon – without a loss of quality.
Joining the three rear cameras is a selfie cam with a whopping 20MP resolution, which should be enough to pick up on every freckle and nose hair on your selfies.
Powering the device is a 3,300mAh battery, which is a pretty standard size for a flagship phone, but the Mi 9’s 20W wireless charging is some of the fastest you can get currently, with Samsung and Huawei still using 15W.
The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, which makes it the first device to launch using the processor – the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 range and OnePlus 7 are expected to use it too.
Image credit: Xiaomi
The Mi 9 also includes a Game Turbo mode, a setting designed for playing games which improves performance and framerate. We’ll be able to see just how big a difference this makes when we get hands-on with the device.
Two variants of the Mi 9 were also announced: the Mi 9 SE, a smaller sibling in the spirit of the Samsung Galaxy S10e, and a transparent limited-edition Mi 9, which has been created as a collaboration with the film Alita: Battle Angel.
The Mi 9 standard edition comes in three sizes: for a handset with 6GB RAM and 128GB memory it costs ¥2,999 (roughly $450, £340, AU$620), for 8GB/128GB it’s ¥3,299 ($490, £380, AU$690) and the special edition Alita: Battle Angel, with specs of 12GB/256GB, costs ¥3,999 ($600, £460, AU$830).
Image credit: Xiaomi
The Mi 9 SE comes in two sizes, both of which have 6GB RAM. With 64GB memory it’ll cost ¥1,999 (which converts to roughly $300, £230, AU$410), and with 128GB memory it’ll cost ¥2,599 (around $390, £300, AU$540).
Those converted prices make the device seem rather affordable – however, it’s likely the phones would launch at very different prices if and when they make their way outside of China. There’s no word yet on a wider release, but the Mi 8 eventually made its way to the West so the Mi 9 likely will too.
The two standard sizes of the Xiaomi Mi 9 start shipping on February 26 and launch dates for the other devices, as well as international releases, will be confirmed at a later date.
Vodafone has successfully connected three commercial smartphones to its 5G network in Spain, claiming a world-first in the process, ahead of a full launch in several major cities across Europe later in 2019.
The trials were held in the capital Madrid and in Barcelona, home of Mobile World Congress (MWC), using three 5G smartphones that will be unveiled at the show next week.
The network was fully compliant with the 3GPP Release-15 5G standard approved last December and achieved peak speeds of 1.5Gbps. Vodafone has built a 5G network across Barcelona and will drive a car around the city during MWC to confirm these speeds.
“Vodafone’s networks are increasingly ready for 5G, which will enable us to deliver significant benefits over time for consumers, businesses and society,” said Johan Wilberg, Vodafone Group CTO. “Our focus now is on optimising the customer experience before we launch 5G in some European cities later this year.”
Vodafone has spent the past few years making its 4G network ‘5G-Ready’ by transforming its radio and core infrastructures and ensuring sites have enough backhaul. It has won some 5G spectrum in markets like the UK, while it is in the process of bidding for airwaves in others.
In Spain, it has 5G sites in six cities, while it has launched 5G trials in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. In Italy and Spain, Vodafone is working with automotive, industrial and public sector organisations to build out the business applications for 5G.
Earlier this week, it opened a public trial at Manchester Airport.
No firm launch date has been given apart from the ‘second half’ of 2019. The first commercial 5G handsets are expected from a number of manufacturers, including LG, OnePlus, Oppo and Xiaomi.
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If you've ever made your own videos, you'll know how tough it can be to find music that sounds good, while also navigating the minefield of rights and intellectual property.
Ecrett Music is a new tool that uses AI to generate unique compositions for videos. Upload your video, choose a scene category (such as 'travel', 'relaxing' or 'fashion') and a mood, and the app will generate a bespoke soundtrack.
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You can then tweak the results, changing instruments and timings to fit the video. Ecrett Music can currently generate between 500,000 and 1,000,000 unique compositions per month.
Make it personal
Ecrett Music is the brainchild of Japanese entrepreneur Daigo Kusunoki, who worked with a team of musicians, composers and engineers to create the web app. Kusonoki made his first venture into music tech with the SoundMoovz wearable, which creates music as you move your wrist.
“It can be extremely difficult for content creators to find affordable royalty-free music for their projects," he said.
"It’s also an incredibly time-consuming process to pick out the ‘perfect piece.’ By introducing the power of AI, users are able to generate the perfect music for their videos with incredible ease and for a reasonable price."
Apex Legends is getting an update today that adds a new weapon to the free-to-play battle royale.
Developer Respawn Entertainment shared a short video on Twitter teasing the new weapon, which is apparently called Havoc.
You can check out the video below:
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Image credit: Respawn Entertainment
However, the teaser video also shows the weapon powering up an energy shot of some kind. So it doesn't look like it will be your run-of-the-mill assault rifle.
The new update and weapon will land in Apex Legends today (although we don't know an exact time yet.
When a flight takes off later than planned, the pilot will often apologise over the intercom and say, "we'll try to make it up on the way." While passengers might end up landing on time, this approach is inefficient for fuel consumption. It involves the pilot accelerating during the flight, and thus burning more fuel than anticipated to make up for lost time.
A recent Honeywell report found that 73 percent of airline carriers believe fuel efficiency to be extremely or very important to their investment plans. High jet fuel prices can put massive bottom-line pressure on the world's airlines. Although prices dropped in January of this year, the unpredictable nature of fuel prices means that airlines cannot simply sit back and relax.
According to IATA, global airlines' fuel costs are estimated to account for a quarter (24.5 percent) of their overall expenditures in 2019. If a global carrier could cut these costs by just one percent, the savings would be in the multi-millions and would help them keep up with international targets for greenhouse-gas emissions.
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Connectivity can help airlines achieve this. The incredible amount of data generated during flights can be harnessed to help pilots make on-the-go decisions that will save fuel. Through a mixture of big data and advanced analytics – coming from real-time flight data and ground-based analytics systems – carriers can make better strategic decisions to optimize fuel usage. Airlines such as Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and Thomas Cook are already turning to fuel efficiency technologies to save on fuel.
Image Credit: Dyess Air Force BaseImproved fuel efficiency
There are fuel efficiency solutions available that come as a subscription model, with four main components: data collection, data quality assurance, analysis and communication. The best of breed of these solutions collect, monitor and analyze data from different airline systems, then compare this information with data from past flights.
This approach helps airline operators identify new ways to reduce fuel costs. Because the solution works in real time, it gives pilots customized and actionable information about how to best optimize fuel consumption at exactly the time they need it. By monitoring current fuel usage and identifying opportunities for savings, these solutions significantly reduce overall operational costs and carbon footprint for airline operators in three ways:
- Help pilots find shortcuts: Harnessing data analytics allows pilots – before or during a flight – to look at historical flight trajectories for a flight path. Pilots can then request suggested shortcuts from the solution in real time to save fuel and shorten journeys.
- Ensure planes take optimal taxi routes: Pilots can view historical information about airports to help them make informed decisions regarding fuel-saving initiatives – like using a single engine to taxi out to the runway.
- Reduce fuel waste: Data analytics allows airlines to better calculate the amount of fuel a plane needs for a journey. Without the software, the calculation for fuel is more of a rough estimate, and pilots may load up to 5 or 10% of contingency. It takes 3-4 kilos of fuel, for each flight hour, to carry 100 kilos. This means that, when aircraft are flying with excess fuel weight, they are paying a carriage penalty. By cross-checking fuel slips, operators and pilots can get a better idea of the amount of fuel a plane should carry.
It’s important to remember that the fuel saved through these solutions not only helps airlines cut costs, but also helps them meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
Last year, International Airlines Group – the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL and Vueling – deployed the GoDirect Flight Efficiency software across its fleet of more than 500 aircraft to reduce carbon emissions and optimize fuel usage. Similarly, as part of their goal to cut carbon emissions, IAG invested in this technology so its airlines could further optimize fuel consumption by analyzing aircraft performance and sharing best practices across the group.
Other forward thinking airlines are also turning to this software for economic benefits and to meet carbon emission targets.
Julie Vasquez, Senior Product Manager at Honeywell Aerospace
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The upcoming Huawei P30 Pro will have four rear cameras, a fact confirmed by none other than the company's CEO himself.
Huawei's Richard Yu posted an lovely image of the moon on Chinese social media platform Weibo – and on the bottom of the photo is a poorly-blurred watermark clearly saying 'Huawei P30 Pro, Leica Quad Camera'.
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This revealing watermark seems to confirm rumors that the P30 Pro will have four rear cameras, making speculation that the P30 boasts three rear cameras seem pretty credible, as this would mean each device had one more lens than its predecessor.
We don’t know the resolution of the various lenses yet, but previous rumors have suggested they won’t have anything more powerful than the 40MP snapper we saw in the P20 Pro.
Yu's moon shot. Image credit: Weibo
The high quality of the image also appears to lend weight to rumors that one of the P30 and P30 Pro’s standout features will be 5x lossless optical zoom, which would let you zoom in closer to subjects without sacrificing image quality.
The Huawei P20 Pro had a three-camera setup, and the inclusion of an additional snapper in the P30 Pro would maintain the range’s edge as one of the best for photography.What else do we know about the Huawei P30 devices?
An earlier leak pegged both the P30 and P30 Pro as having a resolution of 1080 x 2340, a small step up from the P20 devices’ 1080 x 2240 if true.
Before that, leaked renders showed the P30 having a teardrop notch, which would explain the extra few pixels if the dimensions remained similar – those renders also showed it having three cameras.
If those leaks were accurate it would seem the P30 will have a similar display and dimensions to the P20 – the main distinction between devices would be an increase in the camera technology, and previous tips suggested this was Huawei’s intent.
Huawei will launch the P30 and P30 Pro on March 26 at a launch event in Paris – we’ll be reporting on the event live, to bring you all the details plus our hands-on impressions of the new phones.
We’ve been enjoying Apex Legends since the launch of this free battle royale shooter, along with many other gamers, but some PC players have been dogged by constant crashes, and the developer has acknowledged this by publishing a troubleshooting guide to (hopefully) help out with these issues.
Respawn highlighted the guide in its latest community recap on Reddit, in which, incidentally, it also teased a new gun coming to the game soon (more on that later).
Specifically, this is a “list of troubleshooting tips for those experiencing crashes on PC” put together by the customer service team. However, the developer notes this isn’t a “final solution” by any means, and observes that the various tips might just help folks as Respawn continues to work on proper fixes for the PC platform.
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You can check out all the advice here. Really, this is a compilation of workaround tips offered up by players in the community, and the general idea is to try out the stuff that might apply to your PC, and see if it helps.
In other words, there are no hard and fast solutions offered, and this is very much a throw-everything-and-see-what-sticks approach. Still, if you’ve been plagued by crashes, hopefully some of the suggestions therein could work for you, or at least lessen the frequency of crashes.Tweak this, tweak that…
The tips include playing with graphics settings, reinstalling the game (to the C: drive, and making sure external drives are unplugged), ensuring certain apps aren’t running in the background, and a common solution we’ve seen, which involves rolling Nvidia drivers back to an earlier version.
There are some troubleshooting tips provided for console players, as well.
We mentioned a new gun being teased at the outset of this story, and indeed Respawn tweeted a quick video clip of the ‘Havoc’ in action. It looks like this will be an energy rifle, and we’ll get to hear more about it later today, courtesy of a chat with one of the game designers, apparently.
Data miners have turned up references to the Havoc previously, as well as the L-Star EMG, a machine gun that uses energy ammo, too (the latter is a weapon already seen in the Titanfall franchise).
Further delving into the Apex Legends configuration files has also turned up several possible new game modes, including solo and duo squads, along with gladiatorial ‘survival’ and player-stealing ‘recruit’ modes of play.
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Today's the day. Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked launch event is upon us, where we expect to see the smartphone maker unleash a number of devices onto the world, with the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy S10e likely to headline.
We'll be reporting live from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California where the Galaxy Unpacked event kicks off at 11am PT (2pm ET, 7pm GMT).
Our Samsung Galaxy S10 launch live blog starts now though, as there are plenty of rumors, leaks and speculation to whet your appetite ahead of today's announcement.Samsung launch event live blog
All times in US Pacific Time (PT)
04.30 - We potentially got a great look at the foldable Galaxy X this morning, after official looking press renders hit the web. Read the full story here.
This could be the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Image Credit: MobiFlip
03.00 - One of the big questions marks around the new Galaxy S10 handsets is pricing - how much will the new phones set you back? Comparisons will be drawn between the new S10 devices and Apple's fleet of iPhones.
Let us know where you think Samsung will pitch the Galaxy S10 price with our Twitter poll below.
02.30 - We could see even more as well, with new wireless earphones (Galaxy Buds), a pair of fitness trackers (Galaxy Fit and Fit e) and a 5G variant of the S10 (Galaxy S10 X) all rumored to make an appearance.
02.00 - Hello all! There are nine hours until Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event, which gives you plenty of time to read up on the leaks and rumors of what to expect.
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- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus - tipped to replace the S9 Plus, the S10 Plus will likely pack a bigger screen and potentially more storage
- Samsung Galaxy S10e - an exciting new entry if the rumors are accurate, offering a S10 experience at a lower price point
- Samsung Galaxy Fold - more commonly rumored as the Galaxy X, Samsung may reveal more details about its foldable phone today
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active - there's talk the Galaxy Unpacked event won't just be new smartphones, with a new smartwatch potentially on the cards
The world around us is getting smarter and more connected as technology becomes a common sight in many areas.
Digital devices are not just in our pockets or our offices, but increasingly in our homes, buildings, and many places and cities. Helping collect, analyse and monitor data and information about their surroundings, these devices are able to communicate with each other through the ‘Internet of Things’.
Often shortened to the IoT, this worldwide, interconnected network allows devices to talk to each other and to us, delivering reams of data through smarter processes that will greatly increase the quality of life around the world.
The Internet of Things is predicted to revolutionise the way in which we live our lives, with many industry experts tipping it to have the biggest technological impact since cloud computing, as more data than ever before can be collected, stored and analysed.
Many consumers are already enjoying the benefits of the IoT, as popular products such as the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Nest thermostat from Google becoming common sights in homes around the world.
But the wider world can also benefit from the IoT, with businesses being able to streamline previously complex and data-hungry processes through improved automation, freeing up employees for other tasks.
Public sector organisations such as hospitals can also use sensors to monitor patients more effectively, and local governments can monitor pollution, traffic levels, weather data, and much much more.
The IoT is growing fast, and is set to affect more and more areas of our lives in the years to come, resulting in a smart world that previously was only imaginable in science fiction.IoT - the latest news and views
19/02 - IoT technology now vital for business success - Vodafone report finds use cases for IoT are greater than ever...
05/02 - Insecure apps put half of IoT devices at risk - IoT apps lack encryption and leave devices vulnerable to hackers...
28/01 - Japanese government will hack citizens' IoT devices - Unconventional survey planned to help secure consumer IoT devices...
15/01 - UK firms can't tell if their IoT is secure - Only half can detect if their IoT devices have been breached...
14/01 - Open source may be the key to securing IoT - Adding ready-made software to IoT devices without having to write code...
09/01 - IoT devices now top priority for cybercriminals - Hackers utilise Thingbots to launch IoT attacks...
04/01 - IoT spending to reach new highs in 2019 - Manufacturing, transport and utilities will top IoT investment...
03/01 - Fake apps and IoT attacks top 2019 threats - Avast's 2019 Threat Landscape Report sheds light on this year's biggest threats...
27/12 - The Future of IoT connectivity - IoT vendors and network providers must work together...
20/12 - Malware threats continue to rise and target IoT - IoT malware and ransomware still on the rise, McAfee Labs report finds...
17/12 - Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem promises flexible connectivity and low power for IoT - New modem builds on success of predecessor...
05/12 - Top IoT standards could be compromised by hackers - Unsecured machine-to-machine deployments leave IoT devices at risk...
29/11 - Don’t bank on IoT - Trading security for convenience...
07/11 - How banks can create a successful IoT strategy - Infosys Finacle tells us why the IoT could be the key to a new level of innovation...
07/11 - How 5G will enable the next generation of IoT deployments - Canonical head tells us why next-generation networks are the key to innovation...
01/11 - What “x-as-a-service” means for IoT - It's never been easier to become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator...
31/10 - CIOs fear "burden" of IoT projects - IoT multiplies the complexity of enterprise cloud ecosystems...
29/10 - Seven critical questions every business needs to ask before implementing an IoT plan - Fail to prepare, prepare to fail...
11/10 - How interoperability accelerates IoT collaboration - Issues with connecting multiple devices and services have slowed IoT adoption...
10/10 - Enterprises expect IoT results in less than three years - IoT is no longer an emerging technology...
09/10 - Connecting the seas: How radio is aiding maritime IoT - KNL Networks says its radio network can keep ships stay connected...
01/10 - IoT technology 'vital for success' of UK businesses - Businesses of all sizes see this emerging technology as vital to their future success...
01/10 - Steak & chips: how IoT and machine learning will disrupt risk in animal insurance - Even farm animals are becoming connected in today's digital world...
01/10 - Six principles to secure the IoT - It's up to IoT leaders to take the lead in security and privacy...
27/09 - "Most sophisticated" Torii botnet targeting IoT devices - The newly discovered malware strain is building the most sophisticated botnet ever seen...
21/09 - Privacy in the age of IoT: the future’s connected for VPN - Many have asked: do ‘normal people’ actually care about online privacy and VPNs? Yes, they do...
20/09 - How can the IoT transform the sports business? - Sports venues are getting a much needed upgrade from IoT technology...
19/09 - IoT malware grew significantly during the first half of 2018 - New research from Kaspersky Lab reveals how cybercriminals are targeting IoT devices...
06/08 - Why IBM is pushing to be the driving force in the IoT - The IoT and IBM could prove to be a match made in heaven...
03/08 - Qualcomm reveals major IoT push - Chipmaker unveils its plans to help power the global IoT..
18/07 - Vodafone expands IoT range for businesses - New surveillance and energy management tools bring IoT to more companies across the UK...
17/07 - Microsoft and GE team up for major IoT launch - Partnership will see major expansion of Industrial IoT from Azure and GE Digital...
13/06 - Vodafone: 5G smartphone uncertainty means focus on core network and IoT - Vodafone UK CTO says 5G will be a gamechanger, but smartphone innovation in the 4G era won't be matched...
04/06 - Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom test NB-IoT roaming - Two operators claim trial is massive step forward for cross-border IoT...
01/06 - LPWAN is the final piece in the mobile IoT puzzle - Vodafone's IoT business is focusing on services and partnerships rather than technology...
31/05 - GSMA: Mobile operators must change to grab $1.1tn IoT market - GSMA warns that just 5 per cent of IoT revenue will be found in connectivity, so mobile operators need to evolve...
17/05 - Mobile IoT networks to be a 'core component' of 5G - GSMA says NB-IoT and LTE-M deployments are paving the way for massive IoT powered by 5G...
08/05 - Nokia snaps up SpaceTime Insights to boost IoT drive - SpaceTime Insights acquisition allows Nokia to expand IoT work...
24/04 - Telcos exploring mixed approaches to IoT - Communications providers see the potential in IoT but are taking multiple paths, Ericsson report says...
23/03 - Operator partnerships could be the key to IoT success - O2 says it wants to do more than just dish out SIMs and connectivity...
22/03 - IoT security spend to reach £1bn in 2018 - Gartner figures suggests increased awareness of threats is boosting spend...
07/03 - New internet of things security code aims to stamp out Mirai and other threats - The government is taking action on IoT security...
22/12 - Why 2018 could be a decisive year for IoT - Major report highlights struggle between competing technologies over the next year...
Plusnet is frequently part of the conversation when we're discussing the best cheap broadband only deals, and its latest effort is the best yet. Thanks to a juicy £75 pre-paid Mastercard that Plusnet is giving away if you sign up before next Monday, it's effectively the cheapest internet plan you can get in the UK right now.
This deal applies to new customers getting Plusnet's Unlimited Broadband plan. That means average speeds of 10Mb on a 12-month contract for just £18.99 a month. That's a pretty great broadband deal in its own right, and it only gets better when you consider that £75 Reward Card you'll be sent as well. That's £75 to spend in store or online anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.
And to make this offer even sweeter, Plusnet has completely removed all upfront costs. So that means free activation and router delivery. The total cost for 12 months is just a tad more than £150 in total - trust us when we say that's extraordinary value compared to the other broadband deals on the UK market right now.This new Plusnet broadband deal in full: Need your broadband a bit faster?
We love this new broadband deal from Plusnet, but completely recognise its one downside - speed. This is basic ADSL internet and should be fine as long as you don't require much more from your connection than surfing the web, occasional downloads and non-HD streaming.
If you have a larger household all using your bandwidth at the same time or demand 4K streaming and rapid downloads, then it's worth perusing our guide to the best value fibre broadband deals. They're probably not as pricey as you'd imagined.
Assuming you can get fibre on your road, TalkTalk has the best offer right now. Its Faster Fibre package is currently just £19.95 a month, the cheapest price on fibre in the UK - anything under £20 is extraordinary for the kind of speeds you'll be getting. Or if you're willing to spend a bit more, BT is offering a fibre deal with a free reward card and Amazon Echo for just £29.99 p/m to entice you.
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Update: Samsung itself has outed the Galaxy Fit ahead of schedule, showing a picture of the device and confirming the names Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e. Plus we may see the tracker get announced later today alongside the Galaxy S10.
The Samsung Galaxy Fit could soon arrive and it might be one of the best fitness trackers of 2019 when it does. The truth is that we don’t know much about it yet, but based on the strength of the Gear Fit range, we’re somewhat excited by the prospect of it.
The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is currently sitting in our best fitness trackers list, and that’s despite it being a conservative upgrade on the Gear Fit 2. If the Galaxy Fit (which is likely to be the Samsung Gear Fit 3 in all but name) is an upgrade worthy of a whole new name then it could be very impressive indeed.
You'll find all the current rumors below, along with a wish list of what we want from the wearable and some educated guesses as to what it might feature and when it might launch. We'll also add anything new to this article as soon as we hear it, so make sure to check back regularly.Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung's next fitness tracker
- When is it out? Possibly February 20, which is later today
- What will it cost? Likely upwards of $199 / £209 (around AU$370)
There isn’t any real release date news about the Samsung Galaxy Fit yet, but it - as well as the Samsung Galaxy Fit E - has appeared in an official Samsung app (detailed below), seemingly ahead of schedule, but strongly suggesting that it's coming soon.
We've also seen it listed in a Bluetooth certification, which is yet more evidence of an impending launch.
By far the most likely launch date then is February 20 (that's today), as Samsung is holding an event on that date. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is expected to be the star of the show, but numerous other devices might make an appearance, including the Galaxy Fit and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active (or Samsung Galaxy Sport as it might be called).
You can watch the Galaxy S10 livestream from 11AM PT / 2PM ET / 7PM GMT or 6AM AEDT on Thursday 21. Alternatively, it might get announced at MWC 2019, which is a major trade show that runs from February 25-28.
As for the price, all we can do there is look at the current model. The Gear Fit 2 Pro launched for $199 / £209 (about AU$370), so there’s a chance the Gear Fit 3 will have a similar price.Samsung Galaxy Fit news and rumors
The main Samsung Galaxy Fit information comes from the image below, which was taken from Samsung's official Galaxy Wearable app. In other words, Samsung seems to have accidentally outed the device before it has been announced.
From the design, this looks similar to previous Samsung fitness trackers, with a rectangular screen and a likely silicone band, shown here in black. It also looks to have a color screen, as we'd expect.
Image credit: Samsung
Beyond the design, it also looks like two models are in the works, as the picture is labeled 'Galaxy Fit / Fit e'.
This isn't the first time we've heard these names. Samsung trademarked the name Galaxy Fit in May 2018.
That report came alongside the Samsung Galaxy Watch trademark, which turned out to be the name of Samsung's latest smartwatch, so even before Samsung more or less confirmed it, Galaxy Fit (rather than Gear Fit 3 or anything else) was our best guess for the name.
We've also previously seen a Bluetooth certification listing for a Samsung Galaxy Fit E, so the mention of that model in Samsung's leak is no surprise either.
So far there aren’t any other Samsung Gear Fit 3 rumors, but while we wait for more to roll in we can speculate on a few things. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Fit will probably have many of the same features as the Gear Fit 2 Pro, including a heart rate monitor, GPS and water resistance, along with a color screen.What we want to see
While there aren't many rumors about the Galaxy Fit as yet, there are plenty of things we want from it, such as the following.1. A simple setup
Setting up the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is a clunky experience, thanks primarily to the need to download multiple apps onto your phone just to get the most out of it.
So for the Gear Fit 3 we’d like to see a simpler, more streamlined setup process that allows you to get properly up and running (literally) in a matter of minutes.2. Better battery life
With limited usage you’ll get two to three days of life out of the Gear Fit 2 Pro and just one day with heavy use, which isn’t awful but certainly isn’t great.
While we’re used to charging our smartwatches daily, fitness trackers often manage to last a little longer, so we’d like to see an extra day or so added to the life of the Galaxy Fit.3. A reliable barometer
The Samsung Gear Fit 2's barometer wasn't always accurate
One issue we noted with the Gear Fit 2 was that water could mess with the barometer, causing it to think you’ve walked up many more flights of stairs than you actually have.
We’re not expecting this to be an issue with the Samsung Galaxy Fit but we’ll certainly be disappointed if it is.4. A reasonable price
While the Gear Fit 2 Pro isn’t wallet-weepingly expensive it did launch at a higher price than the Gear Fit 2, and that’s despite only being slightly improved and landing over a year later, so there’s a worry that the Gear Fit 3 could be a pricey wearable, but we hope Samsung keeps the price competitive.5. Spotify pre-installed
It’s a small point, but despite Spotify (and specifically its offline mode) being one of the best features of the Gear Fit 2 Pro, it didn’t come pre-installed, even though a bunch of apps did, so we’d like to see the music streamer ready to go out of the box for the Samsung Galaxy Fit.6. A refreshed design
The Samsung Gear Fit 3 could do with a design refresh
The Gear Fit 2 Pro has a fairly nice design, but it’s also pretty much exactly the same as the design of the Gear Fit 2, so we’d like to see Samsung freshen things up a bit for the Gear Fit 3, or even just give buyers a greater selection of colors to choose from.7. A significant upgrade
The Gear Fit 2 Pro is an accomplished fitness tracker, but it’s only a small upgrade on the Gear Fit 2, so for Samsung to stay relevant and excite us we want some big upgrades from the Galaxy Fit.
That could take the form of new sensors, more metrics, greater accuracy, improved smartwatch features or any number of other things, but we hope Samsung does something to make it stand out.
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The Samsung Galaxy X – or Galaxy Fold as it looks increasingly likely to be called – has been rumored for a long time, and we’re likely to get an official look at it in a matter of hours at the Galaxy S10 launch, but ahead of that two leaked pictures may have given us an early peek.
The images were shared by MobiFlip and it’s not clear where they came from, so we’d take them with a pinch of salt. But they show a phone that folds like a book, as we’re expecting the Galaxy X to, and which seemingly has small top and bottom bezels, but larger side bezels than you might expect and a large notch.
That notch is worthy of closer attention, as rather than being central it’s off to the right edge and appears to be completely separate to the screen, thanks to an obvious frame around it. While odd, this is similar to a design we've previously seen on a Samsung 5G phone prototype, so it could really be the design.
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Other things to note include that the Galaxy X as shown here seemingly has a metal frame with a speaker and a USB-C port on the bottom edge.
Beyond the phone itself one of these pictures also uses the name ‘Galaxy Fold’. This is a name we’ve heard a few times now, including in a recent tweet from Evan Blass (a reputable leaker) so there’s a good chance this is the name it will launch under. We might find out later today (February 20).
Windows Mixed Reality had huge potential when Microsoft added support for the virtual reality platform to Windows 10, but that big potential hasn’t translated into big sales, and it now seems that even Microsoft is begging to lose faith.
A report by WindowsUnited.de suggests that Microsoft will no longer pay commission on Windows Mixed Reality headsets sold on the Microsoft Store. Listed as ‘No longer commissionable product’, it looks like Microsoft is ending the incentive to sell more of those devices.
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What’s particularly worrying is that this means the Windows Mixed Reality devices now join Windows Phone devices and the Microsoft Band – all long-dead products – which does not bode well for Windows Mixed Reality.
As MSPowerUser reports, Microsoft has sent an email saying that “With this reclassification, we will focus our investment activities on Surface and Xbox products rather than on the following product categories.”
It certainly sounds like Microsoft is moving away from pushing Windows Mixed Reality.Mixed results
If this is the case, then that is disappointing, as Windows Mixed Reality was a way of offering consumers a wider choice of virtual reality headsets made by a range of different manufacturers, including Samsung, Dell and Acer.
Crucially, many of the headsets offered comparable specs and experiences to the two more expensive VR devices, and with support for Steam VR, it means Windows Mixed Reality was a great way to get into virtual reality gaming on PC.
We’d been hoping that we’d see a new generation of more powerful Windows Mixed Reality devices soon, but with middling sales and Microsoft going rather quiet for a while now, it seems that Windows Mixed Reality’s days could be numbered.
What's the good of a clock that can't tell the time? Very little, which was why the Amazon Echo Wall Clock has finally gone back on sale in the US after a timer issue saw the device pulled shortly after its launch.
The Amazon Echo Wall Clock, despite being part of the Echo family, has no mic or speaker, but instead pairs up with your Echo device in order for you to trigger timers with your voice.
Around the edge of the clock face you get the regular numbered time markers, but also an LED array. And it's here where the troubles sat: These LEDs represented the current point a timer was at, but users reported the clock would regularly fail to match up with the Alexa timers it had set, even if the actual timekeeping was working correctly.
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Arguably worse still was the fact that some users were reporting that, should the Echo Wall Clock drop its Bluetooth connection to an Alexa speaker, the only way to fix the issue was to replace its batteries entirely.
Now Amazon is confident that its fixed these issues, with an over-the-air firmware update rolling out to existing customers still facing problems. That means the Amazon Echo Wall Clock is back on sale at its original $29.99 price point.
However, there's still no word on a UK or European release. Here's hoping that it was this (now fixed) connectivity issue that was preventing a wider roll out, and that we'll see the Amazon Echo Wall Clock on a wider range of Amazon store territories soon.
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Lens manufacturer Tamron has announced three new lenses currently under development for users of DSLRs and mirrorless systems.
The first is the 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043), a lens described by the firm as a portrait zoom for its coverage of popular portrait focal lengths. While Tamron hasn't disclosed the mounts in which the lens will be made available, we expect Canon and Nikon users to be catered for.
The full-frame-friendly model has been designed with low-dispersion and aspherical elements to deal with various aberrations, and also packs a Dual Micro-Processing Unit system to handle autofocus and Vibration Compensation. It also offers a minimum object distance of 17.7 inches across the whole focal range for close-focus shooting.
The second optic is the SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD (Model F045), a wide-aperture prime. The lens is the sole new addition to the company's premium SP series of optics, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and this release has been designed mark the occasion.
Describing the lens as "the embodiment of all optical technology and manufacturing knowhow Tamron has developed to date", Tamron cites a raft of suitable applications for the lens, from photojournalism, landscape and sports through to weddings and family snapshots.
The lens promises appealing background bokeh and a high-speed, high-precision AF system, although the company hasn't gone into details as to which technologies it's using here. As we'd expect for a more premium lens aimed at a more discerning user, the external barrel is also said to be particularly durable, and the image released of the lens (below) also shows a small focus-distance window fashioned into it.
Again, mount option for the lens haven't been confirmed, but as a full-frame-compatible lens we expect this optic will mirror the above option in being available for Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Tamron also points out that both of the above lenses will be compatible with mirrorless cameras from the same manufacturers when used in conjunction with the relevant adapter from each company.
The lens features an RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit, which is claimed to deliver precise and fast focus for stills and quiet operation for video recording, and, despite its wide-angle coverage and fast aperture, Tamron highlights the model's light weight and compact size, and "modest" 67mm filter thread.
The company says the new lenses will be on display at the forthcoming CP+ 2019 trade show in Japan, and at the Wedding and Portrait Professionals International (WPPI) that begins next week in Las Vegas.
Pricing hasn't been confirmed for any territories as of yet, and the company has underlined that specs and appearances may change before any of these lenses are confirmed, although the company expects all three to be available in the middle of the year.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is set to be announced later today, and a rumored smartwatch and a pair of headphones are looking almost certain to launch alongside it, thanks to new leaks from WinFuture that show off both devices from every angle.
That means we've now got a clear picture of the front, rear and edges of the upcoming smartwatch that we expect to see Samsung unveil later today.
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There aren't any game changing revelations with these new images though, as they match a lot of what we've seen in previous leaks. It looks like the watch won't have a rotatable bezel and it'll have two buttons on the right hand side.
This leak doesn't reveal any of the spec we'll see on the watch, but previous leaks have suggested it's set to come with a 1.3-inch 320 x 320 resolution display and will only come in one size, unlike last year's Samsung Galaxy Watch.
WinFuture has also provided a quick look at the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Buds headphones including three shades. Those are white, black and yellow.
The yellow seems to match the leaked Canary Yellow shade we've seen for the Samsung Galaxy S10e, so it may be that the company is looking to set you up with matching vibrant gadgets.
We'll learn exactly what Samsung will be unveiling later today at 11AM PT / 2PM ET / 7PM GMT or 6AM AEDT on Thursday 21. We also have a guide so you can find out how to watch Samsung's big launch yourself.
Do you dream of seeing your music on a Spotify playlist? If you're a SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited subscriber, that dream could soon become a reality, all thanks to SoundCloud's new distribution tool.
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Well, SoundCloud says that it won't take a cut from your earnings, and that artists retain all of their rights to the work. According to Engadget, the company has also said that it will streamline royalty payments to artists, but right now, it's not clear how SoundCloud will do this.
There is a catch however; to use SoundCloud's distribution tool, you'll need to meet its criteria first. As mentioned before, you will need to have a Pro or Pro Unlimited account, be 18 or over, and have no copyright strikes against your music.No remixes, please
SoundCloud also specifies that you will need to have "at least 1000 plays over the last month in countries where SoundCloud ads and listener subscriptions are active."
The distribution tool will reportedly only allow you to distribute original works of music, so you won't be able to send podcasts or remixes of another artist's work to the major streaming platforms.
It's not yet clear if samples of other tracks will also be banned – we presume it will be allowed if you have clearance from the original artist to sample their work.
Engadget says that, if you meet all the criteria, "you'll see a Distribute button in your track manager, and once you've added all the necessary metadata, you can select the services you'd like your music to appear on."
It looks like you'll be able to make your music available on the different platforms immediately, or schedule them for a release date "at least two weeks in advance".
This all sounds rather convenient, but without the marketing know-how of a record label, artists may find that their work gets lost amongst all the other thousands of tracks released each week on Spotify.
That being said, cutting out the middle man could save artists a significant amount of money that they would otherwise have to share with record labels, management, and distributors.
Google is testing new welcome screens for Chrome, with a friendlier look and brighter design to greet new users.
The new design replaces the mostly white screen that currently welcomes users to their freshly-installed browser. There seems to be a limited test group at the moment, and we were unable to trigger it at TechRadar, but writers at Android Police were able to activate it briefly and capture screengrabs.
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The new look might be the start of a more 'fun' overall aesthetic for Chrome, with larger buttons that are easier to read and more amenable to touchscreens.Shiny and Chrome
The new welcome screen encourages you to 'Make Chrome your own' and personalize your browser by selecting a set of bookmarks to get started. Whereas the old design prompted you to sign in with a Google account, the new version doesn't assume you have one, and lets you start customizing the browser without logging in.
It will be interesting to see whether this is the first step towards a more flexible, customizable Chrome that has more in common with Vivaldi, which is also based on Chromium.
Every February, the fashion industry kicks into life by visiting the world’s most renowned cultural capitals as part of its ‘fashion week’ season. From the catwalks of Milan to London, where London Fashion week is taking place this week, a range of retailers compete to showcase the best designs and the rising talent behind them.
The reality however is that the retail sector hasn’t been so fashionable in the UK lately, and the high street in particular has suffered in recent months, with figures from the British Retail Consortium indicating that retailers have just suffered their worst Christmas in a decade. From major closures such as Toys R Us through to damaging data breaches on the likes of Superdrug, there has never been a more challenging time for the sector.
To maintain their market position, retailers must enhance their IT infrastructure so it can support changes in customer demand and emerging purchasing platforms, without compromising on security. But how exactly can this be done in today’s competitive and customer-centric climate while maintaining a consistently excellent quality of service?
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As high street retailers experiment with a more digitised ‘retail theatre’ experience and online retailers expand their inventory, privileged access security has to protect both front-end devices - such as tills, tablets and interactive screens - and the back-end IT infrastructure supporting stores’ retail operations. In the front-end for example, these new experiences increasingly leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services as part of their efforts to emulate ‘Amazon effect’ in their stores; customers can now use phones as coupons to pay for items, and sensors and smart beacon technologies can predict whether a shopper is going to make a certain purchase or not based on their in-store activity. The greater proliferation of devices and indeed data now stored in a shop is creating a whole new threat landscape within the shopping experience, and providing more ‘ways in’ for savvy hackers to infiltrate the network.
This challenge is familiar to online retailers, who for some years have needed to stay one step ahead when it comes to protecting their back-end systems, safeguarding customer data and ensuring consistency of retail operations. To stay secure, retailers must invest in protecting what attackers seek most: privileged access to traverse through the network.
This needn’t be a daunting task and can be broken down into manageable steps. Focus should be placed on critical assets first in order to lock down ‘crown jewel systems’ and reduce their risk of compromise. This approach should be based not only on the critical systems themselves, but also ensuring the most privileged access to these systems is protected first.
Taking these first steps is of increasing importance, especially in the online retail sector where brands are entrusted to store more data such as credit card details and addresses, than ever before. Finally, take a leaf from other sectors. Many businesses across a range of industries from banking to manufacturing are hiring a team of ethical hackers to always test critical systems. To protect from hackers, you have to think like one continuously.
These tactics have to be added to the top of the shopping list if retailers want to stay one step ahead and keep critical customer data safe.
Image Credit: PixabayMaking new mindsets fashionable
Before new privileged access security measures are implemented however, education has to take place. A recent Accenture study showed that 70% of 2,000 UK employees who received cyber security training felt that it enhanced their ability to recognise potential threats and motivated them to be more vigilant. Empowering employees to understand the new threat landscape has to be front and centre. But, it also has to go one step further than this to rewarding employees for spotting any potential threats, and this is where retail needs to progress. Our own statistics from CyberArk’s annual Threat Landscape report revealed that only 39% of IT decision makers working in retail would reward employees who helped to prevent a security breach in 2018. This lags behind IT & telecoms for example at 62%.
How can these mindsets be changed? The fight against cyber-attacks has to involve all employees, right from the staff on the shop floor (who are now interacting with more analytics-based technology more than ever) to the chief technology officers behind major online brands. Basic training in ‘cyber hygiene’ is crucial to ensure that all employees are equipped to deal with cyber attacks before they happen and not let malicious hackers into the network.
This fashion week season, retailers must take steps to refresh their cyber hygiene and ensure that they keep the negative headlines at bay. Delivering an innovative and differentiated customer experience at pace is critical for high street survival today, but ensuring robust security is just as important and shouldn’t be an afterthought. Consumers will only place complete trust in the retailers that take the strongest measures to safeguard their data. Those retailers that stay in fashion will be those that see technology as an enabler for ‘good business’ and place a strong cyber security at the heart of the shopping experience.
David Higgins, EMEA Technical Director at CyberArk
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