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Oculus VP: 2D games will find a new home in VR

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 11:32

Nearly one year ago – in May 2018 – something amazing happened: Beat Saber, a breakout VR game from Beat Games, hit the top of the Steam charts. It was a groundbreaking moment for VR and one that Oculus’ Vice President of Special Gaming Strategies, Jason Rubin, says is a stepping stone for virtual reality.

In an interview with TechRadar at E3 2019, we spoke to Rubin about some of the major milestones in the platform’s life – including the recent launch of the highly popular Oculus Quest headset – and what the platform will look like in the future.

Rubin’s answer? He believes VR adoption will continue to grow with more virtual reality titles hitting the top of the charts, but he also believes that 2D games will also help introduce – and keep people coming back – to Oculus headsets.

VR is like your living room, but better

To understand Rubin’s full answer, you have to look a bit into the future, where headsets like the Quest can not only play VR games, but have access to game-streaming services, too.

"What I believe will happen is that, as games start streaming, modes will be made for these games to play in VR."

Jason Rubin, Oculus

“What I believe will happen is that, as games start streaming, modes will be made for these games to play in VR,” Rubin said. “If you’ve ever used six-degrees-of-freedom VR on Netflix, Netflix isn’t running at 90 frames-per-second. Netflix is running at 24 frames-per-second if it’s a movie or 30 frames if it’s a TV show. But your head is fine because it’s moving at the rate of the device so it’s fine. You can see two frames-per-second on the wall, as long as your head is updating every frame.”

That’s a wild idea right now as most of the world’s biggest tech companies are just barely starting to talk about game-streaming, but streaming 2D games would be far more immersive in VR than they would be when played on your TV… at least, according to Rubin’s vision.

“Imagine playing Doom Eternal and you get 3D effects – not the 3D you see in theaters – but the actual 3D where you can look around corners and where, when something explodes, fire can come out of the screen. On the side is the leaderboards if you’re playing multiplayer. Your friends are in chat. Down here you have a console to set games up and it just becomes the best possible version of that game – even though it’s not a VR game.

"You might use your VR headset for 2D gaming, but still play 3D VR games when it strikes your fancy. That is the promise of VR in a nutshell."

Jason Rubin, Oculus

“It’s like the best possible TV, the best possible 3D instantiation of it, and then all the extras you get around it. Because 2D games aren’t going away – there are a lot of advantages in not putting you in something that’s throwing you around – but once that happens, VR usage will go up but VR gaming usage isn’t necessarily in parallel to that.”

So we’ll stream 2D games in our VR headset? 

If you’re reducing Rubin’s words to a very simple talking point, yes – essentially he believes that streaming will allow standalone VR headsets to play titles they physically don’t have the memory to store, while adding effects to make the experience more immersive and entertaining to use. 

Here's Rubin again: “In this giant mix of things that human beings are going to be doing with gaming, you might use your VR headset for 2D gaming, but still play 3D VR games when it strikes your fancy. That is the promise of VR in a nutshell.”  

  • E3 2019 is the biggest gaming event of the year. TechRadar is reporting live from LA, telling you all about the biggest announcements of the week, from epic game trailers to shocking release date reveals. Follow our expert analysis of the keynotes and what we see on the E3 show floor.
Categories: Tech News

Best headphones under Rs 2,000 in India for June 2019

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 06:02

The best headphones under Rs 2,000 don't come with any of the bells and whistles that one can see on flagship headphones. However, there are only but a few budget-friendly earphones out there in the market that really provide that pristine audio listening experience.

This article is the perfect guide to help you choose between options so that you can purchase the best pair of headphones under Rs 2,000 that are tailored to meet your needs. The pairs listed below offer a budget solution without compromising on sound.

Starting from Bluetooth headsets to over-the-ear headphones and headsets with a microphone to earpieces without a mic, the list covers every category so that you can choose what fits your bill.

1More Piston Fit

1More isn't a popular company here in India, yet. However, it does make excellent headphones which are also value for money purchases for consumers. The 1More Piston Fit in-ear headphones are the most affordable in-ears available in the market today which deliver balanced and clear sound. 

The 45-degree angled design of the front cover fits comfortably in the ears, with two extra ear tips you switch between, depending on your ear shape, but some may find the silicon ear tips to be a little flimsy. 

The sound quality is detailed but low-frequency sounds are lacking making the bass appear weak. If you're somebody who values details over bass, then these headphones are made for you.

SoundMagic PL30+ C 

SoundMagic PL30+ C is well-known for its perfectly balanced audio output. There isn't going to be any need for you to fiddle with different equaliser settings to extract the best sound out of the headphones; the company has already done it for you. However, if you are inclined towards a specific type of acoustics, just choose the default equaliser setting for that respective niche and you’re done.

The appearance of the PL30+ C looks quite premium with its metal housing and quality construction. The headphones come in an attractive packaging which consists of a hard case, 5 sets of earbuds and a couple of hooks. 

Sennheiser CX 275 S

Sennheiser is one of the most premium audio equipment manufacturing brands in the world. The CX 275 S is an entry-level offering from the company for the budget consumer. The headphones still manage to offer decent sound output which is a bit more inclined towards the treble.

The Sennheiser CX 275 S fits quite well in the ears and features a composed yet premium build quality. 

SoundMagic E10C

These are another pair of exceptional headphones from SoundMagic. Just like the PL30+ C, the E10C is also tuned quite well with a subtle emphasis on the bass. In our opinion, this is one of best headsets for bass lovers under Rs 2,000.

Moving on to the build quality, the SoundMagic E10C kills it with metal construction and tangle-free wires. The retail package comprises of a plethora of earbuds, premium hard case, clip and a couple of adapters. The E10C is currently available in four attractive color choices.

Sony MDR-EX255AP

The Sony MDR-EX255AP is a decent pair of in-ear headphones with good sound quality. It sports an extensive range of frequency responses and delivers balanced audio output. Little adjustments to the equaliser can reveal the true capabilities of the headset.

Build quality-wise, the mid-range earphones are at par with the competition. The semi-braided wires along with the metal casing look and feel quite premium. With real-silicon earbuds, the Sony MDR-EX255AP fits quite well in the ears.

Sony MDR-XB450

These on-ear headphones are a paradise for bass lovers. With its huge 30 mm drivers, the Sony MDR-XB450 is capable of producing some extreme bass outputs which are quite unmatchable at its price range. However, this extra bass doesn’t mean that the headsets have weak treble. The MDR-XB450 fares quite well in the mids and the highs too.

Talking of the exterior finishing, the Sony MDR-XB450 looks quite magnificent with its flashy metallic housing and well-cushioned ear pads. However, the build quality is not too good for long-term usage as some external glitches tend to appear after a year of extensive use.

Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD

These headphones offer great build quality with premium metal housing and sturdy cables. Look-wise, there are few headsets in this price range that can beat the Mi Pro HD.

Xiaomi’s Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD is the arguably the best you can get if your budget is Rs 2,000. This is a truly high-end earpiece which is capable of producing top notch sound output as well as unrivaled sound recording ability. The only downside is that the Pro HD requires an extensive burn out period to deliver to its full potential.

Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB50

The Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB50 is another set of bass-oriented headphones from the Japanese company. The earpiece produces exceptional lows with well-balanced mids and highs. The only drawback of this headset is its comparatively lower maximum volume.

The MDR-XB50 is a decent looking product with a glossy metallic finished housing. However, the best part is its true silicon earbuds which fit really well in the ears. Sony also bundles some additional earbuds of different sizes and a carry pouch along with the earphones.

SoundMagic E30 in-ear headphones

The SoundMagic E30 was launched way back in 2013, but still, it is quite relevant to current standards. The earpieces generate a very well-balanced sound output with unmatchable clarity. The best part is that you can enjoy pure music which is not distorted by excessive bass. The E30 focusses more on the treble side while maintaining a composed, yet tight, bass.

When it comes to building quality, the SoundMagic E30 fails to impress. The headphones are made of cheap plastic with sub-standard finishing. The earpieces are designed to be worn over the ears with its cables going around your earlobes. If properly plugged in, the E30 provides exceptional noise cancellation and are quite comfortable too.

Audio-Technica ATH-AX1iS

The Audio-Technica ATH-AX1iS is a great pair of over-the-ear headphones which cost less than Rs 2,000. It offers well-tuned sound output with a somewhat composed bass. These earpieces also feature an inline microphone and volume control keys that work with any Android or iOS device.

Talking about the build quality, the ATH-AX1iS feels quite flimsy and the finishing is not really up to the mark. However, the headset is surprisingly durable and would not break off that easily. Last but not the least, the Audio-Technica ATH-AX1iS fits really well on the ears and you won’t feel uneasy even after extended usage.

Still haven't found what you're looking for? 

Check out our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones or our list of the best wireless headphones available in India.

Categories: Tech News

South Korea reaches one million 5G users

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 05:39

South Korea already has one million 5G subscribers, reaching the milestone in just 69 days – outpacing the adoption of 4G.

The desire within South Korea, one of the world’s most advanced mobile nations, to be a leader in 5G was so great that the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT coordinated a simultaneous launch between three major operators.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus all switched on their 5G networks in December, mainly serving enterprise customers, before launching mobile services in early April this year.

South Korea 5G

In early May, it was revealed that the three networks had amassed a combined 260,000 subscribers, with 17,000 people signing up a day. By way of comparison, it took 80 days after the launch of 4G to reach the one million mark.

At the current pace of adoption, it is thought South Korea will have more than four million 5G users by the end of 2019. This could increase if there is strong demand for devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.

However, there are concerns that adoption is being encouraged by unsustainable subsidies as the three operators seek to win market share from each other. SK Telecom has 40 per cent of the 5G market, while KT and LG Uplus have 30 per cent each. Ultimately, this could harm profits and limit future investment in infrastructure.

There are more than 54,000 5G base stations in the country, but coverage is limited to urban areas at present. Around 85 cities will have access by the end of the year, with work progressing on indoor areas such as airports, train stations and large shopping centres.

5G networks promise superior speeds, enhanced capacity, and ultra-low latency, but the South Korean launch was greeted by complaints about coverage and speed. Although the spectrum being used for 5G networks has far greater capacity than the bands used for 4G, it also has a shorter range. This means operators have to densify their networks with more sites, including micro infrastructure like small cells.

Categories: Tech News

Relocation, relocation: finding your IT movers

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 05:30

Many of us can relate to the headache of moving house. It is often a long, drawn out process, with many obstacles along the way. Finding your dream place, exchanging keys, and packing your belongings into boxes ready for the move can seem exciting. But when it comes to the day of the move, and you suddenly have to move your entire life across town – or even further – it can create chaos in your day-to-day life. 

Likewise, this scenario is now becoming present in the world of IT. Many organisations are embracing hybrid cloud, and this can require workloads to be moved across infrastructures. Because of this, it can often feel like IT professionals are packing up and moving to a new house on a regular basis – only to sometimes have to move back again. But with security, integration and protection concerns being front and centre of migrations, the real question is: does it really make sense to take all of your workloads with you?

Finding your dream location

Technology is constantly evolving, and never seems to sit still. So, companies that are beginning on their digital transformation journey should be looking to take advantage of new technologies as quickly as possible. It’s always been a challenge to move away from legacy technologies in favour of new and better options. The trials around migration have now become accepted, if not expected. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Ideally, IT organisations need to be able to shift data and workloads confidently, seamlessly, and quickly. This can mean moving workloads to and from a number of different locations, including server to server, data centre to data centre, test environments to QA, AWS to Azure, or on-premises and back again. No matter where workloads are moving, IT owners should expect it to be seamless and fast, while also ensuring complete protection to the data in transit. 

Image credit: Shutterstock

Choosing the right ‘removal service’

Mobility solutions have gone through their own small evolution over the past few years. The traditional method to upgrade systems was the ‘lift-and-shift’ method, where applications were lifted from old servers and placed into new hardware. However, the process is both labour and time intensive, and is usually filled with vulnerabilities. 

The biggest problem with approaching upgrades in this way is the substantial amount of downtime that is usually required. Coupled with the large amount of ‘unknowns’ means it is easy to slip up and fail in the initial attempts of major projects. 

This becomes even more critical as companies in every sector begin to embrace software and business applications as key business drivers. Workloads need to be moved around without downtime interrupting the customer experience, whether you’re a retailer dependent on online sales, a bank that needs the most up-to-date app to keep customers happy, or a booking agency that relys on its ‘always-available’ website. 

As this becomes more of a need in our modern, everyday lives, organisations should start looking towards mobility solutions that are agnostic for hypervisor, storage, and cloud. It needs to be able to perform fail-over, fail back, and regression tests prior to the action. 

Image credit: Pixabay

Getting everything moved in one go

To achieve new levels of operational excellence and agility, every company will need to transform and modernise its IT. More often than not, this means moving workloads which, as already noted, is no easy feat. Many companies have too many technology stacks in their environment, and also want to leverage the cloud, which brings even more complexity with it. 

Businesses need to transform with all of this in mind, and still ensure no downtime. Employing a technology that can migrate workloads to the desired location with resilient countermeasures to protect against the impact of these changes is the key.

Using point solutions for migration, protection, and resilience refers back to the ‘lift and shift’ manual movement of workloads that was clunky, complex, and worryingly risky. Trying to combine business continuity and disaster recovery with a separate backup product linked to the cloud infrastructure solution that enables hybrid cloud is also asking for trouble. 

Similar to moving into your new house, once you have hired the removal service to come in, take your belongings, load it into the van and take it to your new house, it’s hard to go back to ‘DIY’ moving. The same can be said for moving and protecting workloads to embrace a new infrastructure model – find a tool that does it all.  

The best tool will be able to easily move a workload to a new site or to the cloud, no matter what the reason is. And as the business’ IT infrastructure grows to become more flexible, it’s important that IT teams feel assured that all workloads, no matter where they reside, are protected, and can always be moved again with ease.

Although moving house can be a nightmare, it’s simply a fact of life – and IT is no exception here. In the same way you’d research into the mover that would be handling all of your worldly possessions, it’s important that you find the right tool that will pack your workloads safely, in bubble wrap if needed, handle them with care, and get them to their destination on time.

Steve Blow, Technology Evangelist at Zerto 

Categories: Tech News

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X leak shows it dominating an 18-core Intel CPU

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 05:24

AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X, a 16-core processor aimed at mainstream users (and gamers, with AMD pitching it as a ‘gaming CPU’), might not be out until September, but a performance benchmark has already leaked, and it looks quite astonishing.

Discovered by prolific CPU leaker TUM_APISAK, the Geekbench 4 result shows the 16-core chip hitting a score of 5,868 for single-core and 61,072 for multi-core.

Assuming the benchmark is the real deal, and actually from a genuine Ryzen 9 3950X, this represents a pretty incredible performance level.

The numbers may not mean much to you in isolation, but they compare very favorably to not just AMD’s existing range, but also rival Intel products.

As highlighted by one of the comments on the above tweet, a typical result for the Intel Core i9-9980XE high-end desktop processor (at stock clock speeds) is around 5,400 in single-core, and 47,000 in multi-core. And that’s a monster ‘extreme edition’ 18-core CPU with a max turbo of 4.4GHz.

And the new chip very much blows away AMD’s own existing 16-core Threadripper 2950X, which as Wccftech (who first spotted the tweet) points out, averages around 4,800 and 38,000 in single and multi-core benchmarks respectively.

But what we really have to remember here is that Intel’s Core i9-9980XE is priced at about $2,000 (around £1,580, AU$2,900), the Threadripper retails for $830 (around £660, AU$1,200) or so online currently, and the Ryzen 9 3950X comes with a recommended price of $749 (around £590, AU$1,080). All this would appear to make the 3950X an extremely compelling value proposition in terms of price/performance.

Caveat corner

Still, before we get too carried away, let’s remember all the caveats here: this is an unconfirmed leak we can’t be certain about, and even if it is genuine, we are only looking at a single benchmark suite, which doesn’t represent the full picture.

Also, if we look at Intel’s mainstream Core i9-9900K Geekbench results, this hits about 6,200 points in single-core and 31,000 points for multi-core. So that single-core result does beat the 3950X by a few hundred points thanks to its ability to hit 5GHz (with a stock chip) on one core.

However, equally we must note that the benchmarked AMD chip could be an early (engineering) sample of the 3950X, as the clock speeds are running slightly slower than we’ve been promised by AMD, with the base clock at 3.3GHz rather than 3.5GHz, and boost to 4.3GHz (as opposed to a 4.7GHz maximum, albeit that won’t be across all cores).

And that means the finished AMD product which launches in September could potentially be even faster, and might just about equal the 9900K even in single-core performance. Note that the 9900K is an 8-core chip, and can be had at the time of writing for around $500 (around £395, AU$725).

TUM_APISAK also floats the possibility that AMD might produce a non-X version of the processor – ie Ryzen 9 3950 – although that sounds like a pretty wild shot in the dark to us.

All in all, this is a very interesting leak, and given that the Ryzen 9 3950X is already breaking overclocking world records, it seems the world of high-end mainstream PC processors is about to seriously kick up a gear.

Categories: Tech News

India vs New Zealand live stream: how to watch today's Cricket World Cup 2019 match from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 05:11

Pray that the rain stays away from Nottingham today, and then settle in for the last two unbeaten teams at the 2019 Cricket World Cup going head-to-head today. You can watch the action no matter where you are in the world by using our guide below to getting an India vs New Zealand live stream.

Having already clocked up big wins against the likes of Australia and South Africa, India rightly go into today’s match having nothing to fear against the tournament’s other team with a 100% record.

While India have taken on two of the tournaments more fancied teams, Thursday’s game represents New Zealand’s first proper test following three routine wins thus far. Nevertheless, the Black Caps will also go into the game confident, not least because they were run out winners in a World Cup warm up between the two sides in the run-up to the tournament.

With both batting outfits in strong form, and Trent Bridge‘s flat pitch traditionally a high scoring ground, winning the toss could prove crucial today. Match 18 is shaping up to be one of the tournament's most anticipated games. You'll be able to watch it from anywhere in the world if you follow our India vs New Zealand live stream guide below.  

Watch a Cricket World Cup 2019 live stream from outside your country

If you're in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, US or India, we've got all the details about who is broadcasting the game in your region below. 

If you're outside of your home country and looking to watch the action you'll likely find you won't be able to thanks to geo-blocking. However, by using a VPN you'll be able to watch the game safely without needing to resort to an unreliable feed from an illegal website.

How to stream today’s match online in India

How to live stream today’s match in New Zealand

How to watch India vs New Zealand in Australia

How to stream India vs New Zealand live in the UK 

How to watch India vs New Zealand: US live stream 

Categories: Tech News

Amazon's Echo Dot Kids Edition is louder and brighter than ever

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 05:00

Having released a kids-friendly version of the Echo Dot last year, Amazon has given the popular smart speaker a fresh new look and a louder sound for 2019. 

The new Echo Dot Kids Edition 2019 comes with child-friendly perks, including a two-year damage replacement warranty, a cute rainbow design, and a year's subscription to the FreeTime Unlimited kid-focused service.

Enabled by Alexa, FreeTime Unlimited gives parents peace of mind that the content their children are accessing is age-appropriate – for example, kids are able to listen to "over 1,000 appropriate Audible audiobooks", as well as "play music, hear stories, call approved friends and family, and explore a world of kid-friendly skills", according to Amazon.

After the year's free subscription, FreeTime costs $2.99 per month "plus applicable tax". The subscription renews automatically every month, but you can "cancel any time by visiting the Amazon Parent Dashboard or contacting Customer Service".

Image credit: Amazon

Safety comes at a price

The Echo Dot Kids Edition 2019 itself costs $69.99 – however, Amazon currently have an introductory price of $49.99. Even with the discount, that's still $20 more expensive than the regular third-generation Echo Dot

So, what's new with this year's kid-friendly mini smart speaker? Well, it now comes with a jaunty rainbow-stripe patterned grille, as well as coming in a more sedate blue color scheme that will probably appeal to older kids. 

According to Amazon, the upgraded Dot is 70% louder than the previous model – so it might be a good idea to invest in some good quality earplugs. Unless you like the sound of your kids' music blaring out at all hours, of course.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Another phone retailer has canceled Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 04:55

If the future of the Samsung Galaxy Fold didn't look murky enough anyway, another blow has been struck to the foldable phone in the form of a retailer canceling all pre-orders.

AT&T in America, which was offering the handset for $1,980 (roughly £1,560, AU$2,860), has just contacted everyone who placed an order, informing the customers that their pre-orders have been canceled.

This follows the news in May that all Galaxy Fold pre-orders will be canceled unless the consumer says otherwise – but now, there's no option to retain the pre-order. AT&T states you'll be able to place orders on the device again when a release date is in sight, but so far there's no idea of when this will be.

And this isn't the first retailer to cancel pre-orders - Best Buy did the same a few weeks earlier.

What's happening with the Samsung Galaxy Fold?

Weeks before the Samsung Galaxy Fold was due to be available to the public, it was given to reviewers – who promptly discovered that the device just kept breaking.

Samsung postponed the release date, to give it time to fix the issues – and has since delayed it several more times. Currently, we've no clue when or if the folding phone will release at all.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold was due to be the world's first commercially available foldable device, so all eyes are on it. When it does get released, or we hear a solid release date, we'll update you, so stay tuned to TechRadar for all the latest news and analysis.

Via Tom's Guide

Categories: Tech News

iPhone 11R could have the best battery life of any iPhone

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 04:54

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max – or whatever they end up being called – might be the most exciting upcoming iPhones, but the lower end iPhone 11R expected alongside them could have them beat in one key way – it might have a longer battery life.

There are a couple of reasons for that, but for one thing it’s rumored to have a bigger battery than its predecessor, the iPhone XR. According to TheElec, the iPhone 11R has a 3,110mAh battery, which would be around 5.7% larger than the 2,942mAh battery in the iPhone XR.

That’s not a big upgrade, but as we noted in our iPhone XR review, it already had better battery life than any other iPhone, so the iPhone 11R’s life might be better still.

We would of course take this size increase rumor with a pinch of salt, especially as TheElec doesn’t have much of an established track record, but this lines up with an earlier claim from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (who does have a good track record) that the iPhone 11R’s battery would be roughly 5% larger.

However, he also said the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max would be getting a bigger boost, with 20-25% and 10-15% increases in capacity respectively. That would leave the iPhone 11 Max in particular with a far bigger battery than the iPhone 11R, but it would also probably have a bigger screen to power.

So right now it’s hard to say with any certainty which upcoming iPhone will have the best battery life, but it sounds like they might all be heading in the right direction. We’ll find out for sure when the range is announced, likely in September.

Via Tom's Guide

Categories: Tech News

UK age verification is flawed, and regulators need a technology wake-up call

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 04:30

Age verification isn’t new: we encounter it daily, whether ticking a box to say that we’re over 13 when signing-up to social media platforms or presenting ID if we’re buying alcohol or opting for the gorier or more risqué choices at a cinema.

Thanks to new regulation, it’s a topic that’s getting attention. In May this year, the Gambling Commission has demanded that online bookmakers beef up their identity and age verification checks while also reducing the time taken to vet each player. Also in May, new industry guidance for online pharmacies mandates that an identity check before supplying certain medicines, particularly those that need monitoring or can be abused. Grabbing the most attention, however, is AgeID—as of the 15th July, the UK government will launch an age-check scheme designed to stop under-18s viewing pornographic websites.

Adult material is a tricky area to regulate. While most people would likely be happy for others to know that they placed the odd bet, and people are used to their medical records being accessed by a number of medical professionals, access to adult material is often something people want to keep very private. Getting this wrong will mean people will want to circumvent rather than engage with the system.

The flaws in AgeID

AgeID has already been subject to criticism before its launch, particularly from privacy and free speech advocates. The proposed aim of the rules are to stop minors stumbling across content that they shouldn’t, but there’s already a lot of scepticism as to whether it will work.

A good analogue is the trend in piracy in recent years. In 2013, 18% of UK consumers used illegal downloads to get their music. Thanks to streaming apps such as Spotify and Apple Music, this is now down to 10%. If you make it easier for consumers to engage with the right way of doing things, then they will do so. Streaming is far simpler than torrents or usenet groups, and far less risky, so people will naturally choose the easier option.

So how simple is AgeID? Consumers will have two options—they can either buy a card from a store, or they can prove their identity online through a number of credentials, such as a credit card or passport.

Buying a card has its advantages—the stores where the card will be available will already have processes in place to make sure its customers are old enough to buy alcohol, lottery tickets, and other restricted items. The problem here is that there is no social taboo associated with alcohol and lottery tickets. Are consumers likely to go through the embarrassment of asking staff for a card that has only one obvious use? Trading Standards has done a great deal of work to ensure that age verification is taken more seriously by retailers than ever before, making some sort of document check more likely. However, unfortunately people are more likely to circumvent this system than engage with it.

Online verification comes with its own problems. One of the most infamous data breaches of all time was that of Ashley Madison, the dating site for those looking to cheat on their significant other. The data exposed led to blackmail, divorces and even suicides. AgeID, no matter the data that it will actually keep on file, is asking a lot of trust in its users.  

Again, people are more likely to try to subvert the system than engage with it. A quick google search reveals that, even before the system goes live, there is already a great deal of advice available on how to bypass AgeID—even the BBC has explained that a VPN is a legal workaround.

Image credit: Shutterstock

How other industries such as online gambling have worked to get it right

Identity verification is vital for online bookmakers, not just for age restriction, but because they can be used for money laundering. Therefore, they are required by law to make sure that their customers are who they say they are, in case a future money laundering investigation demands this information.

So how do they do this? Many engage the services of companies such as HooYu that already perform similar services for the financial sector. Banks must identify their customers for the same reasons as online bookmakers, so it makes sense to use the similar processes for both sectors.

A recent development has been the regulators making these rules tougher—but in the favour of the consumer. Previously consumers could be asked for extra documentation when making a withdrawal and could have to wait 72 hours before receiving their money. This has led to the creation of robust systems that bookmakers rely on to on-board new customers.

In the short history of the internet, it is the adult industries that have innovated and others follow. Adult sectors are credited with pioneering elements of streaming video, payment tools and online credit card transactions. AgeID, however, is an unusual retrograde step, trying to create something new where trusted solutions already exist. In order to make sure consumers use a system rather than avoid it, it must be both trusted and simple. By looking to sectors that have already solved age verification, the adult industry has a much better chance of implementing a system that works.

David Pope, Marketing Director at Hooyu

Categories: Tech News

Pentax KP J Limited DSLR now official

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 04:21

Fancy adopting the Pentax KP for your shooting but find the body a bit dull? Good news: Ricoh Imaging has confirmed its latest Pentax KP J model, just a day after images of the new DSLR leaked out.

The camera, which looks set to be a Japan-only release for now, is a minor variation on the existing KP, which was released in 2017.

The new model will be available in two finishes: black and gold, and midnight navy. Aside from the finish itself, the camera has four main points of difference from the original KP. 

First, it has a custom wood grip crafted by Miroku Techno Wood, a company that makes handles for luxury cars. The black body will come with a red grip, while the navy option will ship with a black one, with both made from walnut.

The lens mount has also been revised, with the involvement of watch manufacturer Citizen. The mount now has a surface-hardening Duratekt Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) Coating, and a glossy dark grey finish, versus the lighter silver mount on the KP.

The third change is the removable custom top cover, which gives the body a different look but prevents the on-board flash or hot shoe from being used. 

The other new addition is a U5 option on the mode dial, which recalls landscape-friendly camera settings that were chosen by photographer Kazutoshi Yoshimura. These include the Raw+ setting, two-shot bracketing, and disabled Shake Reduction. 

The body is a tiny bit heavier than the KP when the wooden grip is fitted, and the dimensions are slightly different too.

Ricoh says orders will start on June 28, with the on-sale date being a month later, and you'll be able to get it from its online and physical stores, as well as its service centers. There's no word on the camera being available outside of Japan yet, although the Yen price works out at about $1,370 / £1,080 / $AU1,980.

Categories: Tech News

The LTE Samsung Galaxy Watch is getting an overdue One UI update

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 03:59

Samsung's Galaxy Watch was updated to One UI - a new software that was first introduced on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active - earlier this year, but one variant was curiously missing.

Until now, the most expensive and high-end Samsung Galaxy Watch - the LTE edition - has been lacking the new software, but it's now rolling out, so if you own one you can expect a hefty update in the coming days.

You'll find the new software is called either R805FXXU1ESE6 or R805USQU1BSE3 depending on where you live, and it will bring with it a variety of new features. The upgrade was previously included on the Samsung Gear Sport and Gear S3 too.

New features in the update include a few new animations and visual changes to the software to bring it more in line with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, and the company's overall cleaner One UI design ethos.

One of the most interesting new features is just the fact that you'll now be able to tap the screen to wake up the watch. This can be turned off in the Settings, but it may mean interacting with your watch is easier than before.

The Settings menu is now easier to navigate after some changes, and you'll find more options under the Quick panel, allowing you to have more settings you can change with just a few swipes.

There are also a variety of new watch faces included if you want to update the look of your watch's screen, plus there are a few changes to Samsung Health, including a new outdoor swimming mode.

If you're finding the battery life isn't good enough on your Galaxy Watch, there's a new battery optimization feature that should help keep your device running longer than it did before the update too.

Via Phone Arena

Categories: Tech News

Two new Nintendo Switch consoles being manufactured outside China

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 03:47

We'd already heard word that not one, but two new Nintendo Switch consoles could be on the way, and now we're hearing whispers that Nintendo may be taking a slightly different approach to their manufacture.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is indeed making a pair of new  consoles, but that at least those destined for US shores will be made outside of China, unlike the majority of original Nintendo Switch production. 

Manufacturing will be moved elsewhere, most likely to Southeast Asia, in an attempt to evade the costs of new tariffs on imports of goods coming from China into the US. With part of the appeal of the Nintendo Switch being its relatively affordable price tag, keeping supply chain costs down for the new Switch machines will be paramount to their continued success.

One affordable, one powerful

The distinction that one new console will be a powerful, souped-up version of the original Nintendo Switch, and the other an even more budget-friendly model with a reduced feature set (potentially ditching the docked concept, and including permanently attached Joy-Con controllers), continues through the latest bout of rumours.

But with the source stating that some production of the original Switch will also move outside China, it's now suggested that the older model will live alongside the work--in-progress machines – presumably as a mid-level tier in a newly defined range.

Despite being an E3 2019 no-show, if the report proves true it suggests that Nintendo is now ready to ramp up plans for its next consoles, and could introduce them sooner than initially anticipated. If you're on the market for a Nintendo Switch, it may be worth holding fire for a bit longer to see what's waiting in the wings.

Categories: Tech News

Freebie alert - get a free Google Home Hub with John Lewis broadband deals

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 03:35

It may not be the name you instinctively jump to when you think about broadband deals. But, with an offer as good as this, John Lewis is showing it means business in the competitive world of internet packages.

When you buy any John Lewis broadband deal for the next few weeks, the retail giant will also throw in a free Google Home Hub with your order. Considering these packages are already pretty affordable, that is a great bit of added value to these broadband deals as John Lewis normally sells the Hub for around £120 on its own.

With plans starting at £20 a month, you don't even have to spend much to get this added incentive. Need convincing further? None of John Lewis's packages carry upfront costs, a feature that seems increasingly rare when it comes to today's internet packages.

You can see all of these Google Home Hub enhanced offers below and with an end date of July 30, you've got plenty of time to compare broadband deals to see just how much you're saving. 

John Lewis broadband deals + Google Home Hub in full: How do I claim my Google Home Hub?

Your Google Home Hub will added as part of your broadband order. John Lewis says that your new Google Home device will be delivered within 60 days of activation of your service. And that there's only one per customer.

How good is the Google Home Hub?

In our review of the Google Home Hub we were big fans of the device. Fulfilling the role of a smart picture frame, smart assistant, speaker and video calling, the Google Home Hub is perfect for those constantly busy and needing a device that does 1000 things at once.

Categories: Tech News

The best cheap 4K TV deals in Australia for June 2019

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 01:18

With so many great 4K televisions to choose from, making a decision about which one to purchase for your family may very well come down to price. A good cheap 4K TV deal can be hard to refuse, and these days there are more great TVs at even better prices than ever before. 

If you need a new television and don't want to pay any more than you have to, why not take a look at our curated list of the best cheap 4K TV deals in Australia for June 2019.

We've been on the prowl for the best value 4K Ultra HD TVs currently on sale, focusing on sets with huge discounts off the RRP. With so much 4K content currently available to stream on Netflix, Amazon and Stan, now's the perfect time to upgrade to an Ultra HD set. And at these prices, can you even afford not to?

Below, you'll find our selection of the best cheap 4K TV deals for the month of February. You better get a move on, though – some of these deals are time sensitive, and may disappear before the end of the month. Now, let's kick off our list with our deal of the month.

TechRadar's 4K TV Deal of the Month Cheap 4K TV deals: 55-inch sets Cheap 4K TV deals: 65-inch sets Cheap 4K TV deals: over 65-inches The best deals on our favourite 4K TVs

Perhaps you're not after a cheap TV, but simply want a good deal on a top of the line telly. In that case, check out some great deals for our current favourite 4K televisions below. 

More 4K smart TV deals

The televisions listed above are but a small selection of the TV deals available online, with loads of sets in various sizes and brands reduced every day. If the TVs above don't suit your needs or fit your price range, you can check out even more cheap 4K TV deals at Getprice.

Categories: Tech News

Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition will offer 20 years of content for $20

Latest Tech News - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 01:16

After the massive success that was Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, it's no surprise that developer Forgotten Empires has chosen to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary by releasing a remastered version of Age of Empires II. 

What we didn't expect, however, was just how much content we'd get: The Definitive Edition includes the base game and every Age of Empires expansion to date for $19.99 - that's over 20 years of content. That means you get 35 civilizations in total, equating to over 200 hours of content. 

All that content is on top of the 4K Ultra HD graphics, a new and fully remastered soundtrack, and The Last Khans expansion - which features three new campaigns and four new civilizations. 

Agelessness of history

Image credit: Forgotten Empires

It's also worth noting that Forgotten Empires has introduced a host of quality-of-life features for the upcoming remastering such as reducing waiting times by being able to multitask or auto-farming, among other things. These updated features aim to gameplay smoother for longtime fans and newbies alike. 

Encouraging new players to get into a series that's over two decades old can be a challenge and the developers are under no illusion otherwise. 

"It can be intimidating," the game's executive producer, Earnest Yuen, explained to us at E3 2019. "In addition to the original William Wallace Campaign, which is the tutorial, we are adding challenge tutorials that will bring you all the way from 'how to hunt a boar without killing yourself to 'this is how you build a castle as fast as possible."

Image credit: Forgotten Empires

But how has Age of Empires managed to keep such a loyal fanbase while enticing new players? 

"I think history is timeless - everybody has history," Yuen says. "I think it's also because we support our mods. The game is shipped with an editor and you can create your own campaigns and stories. It's also because of the multiplayer - it's super important. We've seen how people play with friends and get more friends to start playing. 

"History, multiplayer and mods: those are the three pillars we want to keep as we go forward to different versions of Age of Empires."

UK and Australian prices have not yet been confirmed, but Forgotten Empires has told us that those who own the HD version of Age of Empires II will get $5 off in the US - making the game only $14.99. 

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition will release "Fall 2019" – i.e. sometime in between September and November – on Steam and the Windows 10 Store. You can sign up now for the closed beta test via the Age of Empires website.

  • E3 2019 is the biggest gaming event of the year. TechRadar is reporting live from LA, telling you all about the biggest announcements of the week, from epic game trailers to shocking release date reveals. Follow our expert analysis of the keynotes and what we see on the E3 show floor. 
Categories: Tech News

Samsung’s epic Wall TV just got a ‘luxury’ upgrade – now 292-inches and 8K

Latest Tech News - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 22:39

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Samsung’s monstrous 'The Wall' MicroLED TV would be made available in 75-inch and 219-inch models, but now the South Korean electronics giant is taking things even further, announcing an upgraded version in The Wall Luxury. 

Starting at 73 inches for a 2K model, The Wall Luxury will be available in a variety of sizes, ratios and customizable configurations, culminating with a staggering 292-inch behemoth that will offer 8K resolution.

Despite being absolutely enormous, Samsung's The Wall Luxury has a depth of only 30mm and sports a totally bezel-free design.

Image credit: Samsung


According to Samsung, The Wall Luxury will be equipped with an AI picture quality engine, known as Quantum Processor Flex, which will use AI upscaling and machine learning to optimize picture quality on a scene-by-scene basis. 

On top of this, The Wall Luxury is said to offer Quantum HDR technology for a peak brightness of 2,000 nits, as well as a 120Hz video refresh rate, making it ideal for watching sports or playing video games.

Given the customizable nature of The Wall Luxury, it's perhaps no surprise that Samsung has yet to announce pricing for its next generation of MicroLED TVs, though we imagine the larger 8K models will be prohibitively expensive for most of us when they go on sale globally next month. 

Categories: Tech News

Investment activity in AI gains traction in UAE

Latest Tech News - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 22:33

The hype and excitement around AI are ubiquitous and executives in the UAE clearly see the transformational potential it will have on their organizations in the next three to five years.

With a significant number of companies still in the planning phase, it is companies that have been able to educate and expose their leadership to AI technology that have moved quickly to the front. These companies are also the ones to develop methodologies and associated dependencies related to AI.

Samer Abu-Ltaif, president of Microsoft Middle East and Africa, said that AI is fueling digital transformation across the Middle East and Africa, and, it has the power to amplify human ingenuity as well as extend our capabilities, empowering us to achieve more.

AI skills shortage

AI is finding early traction around the customer agenda, although CFO’s are not being silent and are pushing AI solutions into the core operations to reduce costs and drive up productivity.

According to a survey commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by consulting firm EY across 112 companies and 7 sectors in 5 countries in the MEA region, 80% responded that AI is considered an important topic on the executive management level while 89% expect AI to generate business benefits by optimizing their companies’ operations in the future.

Most AI projects (predominantly machine learning, smart robotics and chatbots) are being executed by specialist digital and IT teams as these top-end skills are not freely available.

“AI is already improving our lives today and promises to change the world in ways unimaginable to us now. The AI maturity assessment study highlights the strategies adopted at different layers of an organization today and helps us understand their readiness in AI adoption, rate of impact and benefits from its implementations, as well as how AI is being approached on a practical level,” Abu-Ltaif said.

The UAE leads the region with AI

In the UAE, AI agenda is driven by direct support from the government with national strategies and programs focused on skills development and capability creation to create the required impetus.

“The UAE is already taking strides to succeed in this journey by achieving remarkable milestones – all the way from appointing the world’s first AI minister, to embracing AI across every sector. We have an ambitious goal to make AI accessible and valuable to every individual and organization,” Sayed Hashish, regional general manager at Microsoft Gulf, said.

Companies in the UAE ranked machine learning and smart robotics as the most useful, followed by text analysis, virtual agents and natural language processing.

According to the report, the greatest amount of investment activity over the past 10 years is seen in Turkey, UAE and South Africa. The number of transactions in Turkey stood at 252 out of the total of 929 transactions in the region, and it is also the leader in terms of the amount invested, being $3.4b, followed by the UAE with $2.15b (160 deals) and South Africa with $1.66b (134 deals).

However, Saudi Arabia made a strong come back in 2018, and Jordan, although behind others in the region, is positioning itself to capitalize on opportunities in the immediate future. Interestingly, the two early starters in 2008 were Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but they remained relatively quiet since with the exception of one large deal for Saudi Arabia in 2018.

Where is AI growing?

Among the sectors, social media attracted the investment most at 60% while social media amounted to only 36% and the balance is shared by cybersecurity and smart mobile beginning to gain some real momentum.

“The airline industry has the broadest AI application, especially in the customer space, even though they started very recently. Banks and Telecommunications companies were the early starters, and continue to move forward at a steady pace as data foundations improve and learnings are extracted from early projects,” the report showed.

Categories: Tech News

Google Photos will no longer integrate with Drive from July

Latest Tech News - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 22:18

Users of Google's Photos and Drive cloud storage services have been able to seamlessly access their photos from either platform for some time now, with the services automatically syncing to each other and even sharing storage space, however the search giant has announced that, from July 10 this year, that will no longer be the case.

Google revealed the change in a blog post, saying that it will “simplify the experience across Drive and Photos” when it comes to accessing photos on either platform, as customer feedback has led the company to the conclusion that “the connection between these services is confusing”.


From July, the photos and videos that all users (including G Suite customers) upload to Drive will no longer be automatically added to your Photos app or desktop client, and similarly, media added to your Photos app won’t appear in the 'Photos' folder in Drive. The same goes for deletions of media in both directions.

The current system has apparently caused users to accidentally delete photos and videos across all of their platforms by attempting to remove them from just one, so Google will instead implement more “granular control”.

The automatic syncing will be replaced with an “Upload from Drive” feature, which will allow users to manually select images or footage from their Drive folders – even shared media – and import them to Photos, at which point they’ll be unaffected by any changes made to them in Drive.

Other impacts

While these changes will affect any photos or videos added to either service from July 10, existing media will remain where it is, although its connection to either service will be severed – so modifying or deleting files on one won't affect the other.

As for the account-wide storage limit, users are still able to upload unlimited ‘high quality’ files to their Photos service without it impacting their storage, however if those files are also stored in Drive, the latter will count towards the storage cap. As before, ‘original quality’ images will count towards the total storage limit on both platforms.

Categories: Tech News


Latest Threats - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 20:00
Risk Level: Very Low. Type: Trojan.
Categories: Virus