Trading in HTC shares has been suspended pending a major announcement and HTC employees are getting invited to company-wide meetings, pointers to the recently rumoured sale of the company to Google.

One question remains: which company? Will it be the HTC smartphone manufacturing company or the Vive VR company?

Recent speculation has been all about the purchase of HTC's smartphone division, assets and patents. Which seems entirely reasonable given that HTC manufactured Google's Pixel phones and will continue to manufacturer the smaller of this year's offerings.

However there's still no real reason why Google should want to acquire another smartphone manufacturer, especially after the debacle which surrounded its purchase of Motorola.

So is Google actually looking to acquire the Vive VR unit in order to boost its Daydream offering? The company has already 'acquired' former Vive chief designer Claude Zellweger, why not follow that with the VR vision he helped create?

For HTC that would be the end of the line. It's smartphone division is bleeding to death and any income from the sale of Vive would merely extend the slow death. The reverse would certainly not be true.

It's a strange deal whichever way it works out. Google doesn't really need a smartphone business, HTC can't afford to lose the Vive business. This deal only makes sense if Google is acquiring HTC lock, stock and barrel; and intends to strip its assets somewhere in the future. Probably before pulling the plug on the unprofitable side of the business in the process.




Let's get straight to the bottom line here, the Moto G5 might just be the best budget smartphone you can buy today. Coming in at rather less than NZ$300 and packing a Full HD screen which would not be out of place on many more flagship devices this is a phone that makes a good first impression.

As you use the G5 and get to know it, that first impression is only reinforced. Lenovo absolutely hit this one out of the park. Irrespective of price this is hands down one of the best devices of 2017.

As well as that impressive screen, the G5 packs a lightning fast fingerprint sensor, which also does double duty as a touch sensitive controller. Swipe left and right to go back or launch the task window, tap to go home, short press to power down and long press for Google Now. The net result being that you can disable the on-screen controls and use the whole of that 5" beauty for viewing.

In the hand the G5 feels more than a budget phone too. Its removable rear cover has a metal centre section which feels cool to the touch and lends an aura of quality above the price point where it competes.

At this price point you don't get USB-C, however the micro-USB port supports both OTG for accessories and fast charging. As a bonus you'll get to re-use those numerous micro-USB chargers you have lying around.

The main camera is a 13mp shooter, with support for Auto HDR and 1080/30 video recording. There's a slow-mo mode, however this drops the resolution to 540p to achieve its 120fps. Still that's a reasonable effort on a phone at this price point. Which is true of the whole camera experience. There's nothing missing - even a pro mode is included - and in good light you can capture some impressive shots.

Performance is pretty good too. Everything zips along and the experience is lag-free. The 2GB of RAM seems to be enough to keep plenty of apps open in the background and there were never any delays resulting from the G5 closing apps to save memory.

The G5's Android 7 build is impressively stock too, other than the Moto app, which enables access to the gesture contols - karate chop to turn the torch on, twist it for the camera and other useful shortcuts - and the Android security build is reasonably up to date, two updates having arrived since I acquired the Moto G5, the latest bringing the update level to August. It would also seem that the G5 will get Android 8 in the not too distant future, a level of future proofing that few phones at this price point can match.

In fact that's very much true of everything about the G5, to get a better phone than this you'll have to spend and awful lot more money. In a month when smartphone prices have smashed through the roof, there's a part of me that wonders if this isn't a better offering than those premium devices. Pound for pound it's certainly better value.

Californian Electric Bus company Proterra has announced that one of its Catalyst E2 Max vehicles recently completed a certified 1,102 miles on a single charge, setting a new world record for EV range in the process.

Now the result is a little skewed because it was achieved with the vehicle unloaded. Packing in thirty of forty passengers would certainly bring real world endurance crashing down to something around half that.

However for every city based bus company - i.e. most of them - and most rural bus companies that sort of range is more than enough to meet daily service duties for their vehicles.

In fact given the way that bus companies operate, it's likely to be far more range than will ever be required.

According to TfL figures, the average London Bus covers around 100 miles per day. Even if the E2 Max were charged only a couple of times a week this would be plenty to keep it running.

There's a smaller Proterra which packs a 62-mile range and a thirteen minute recharge time. For London Buses this would actually make for an ideal vehicle.

The average service day for a Bus in London involves two heavy duty shifts based around the morning and evening rush hours, each followed by a long period of downtime when most buses are parked up. There are fewer passengers by far during the day and late evening, so fewer buses run.

It's this downtime which would allow bus batteries to be topped off before the rush hour run. For those buses still being run during the day, a five minute turnaround at the end of each journey would be sufficient time to boost the batteries whilst maintaining normal service.

So whilst its the headline 1,100 mile range which is getting all the attention, it really does appear as if Proterra has reached a point where its vehicle's range is more than good enough to meet service operator's needs.

For quite a while now I have been cautioning against the purchase of a Windows 10 Mobile for any user, with Microsoft abandoning the platform and developers following suit it's just not viable as a mobile phone platform in just about every use case.

There is one group of users for whom I have maintained Windows 10 Mobile is the best choice of mobile platform and that's parents giving phones to their kids.

Yes I know you trust your kids and wouldn't dream of monitoring their smartphone usage, but if you haven't experienced a incident where this has gone completely pear-shaped (for the child and their family) amongst your peers, a few seconds of web searching should be enough to change your mind.

Kids, young ones and older ones, make bad decisions. And the internet never forgets. 

So my view remains that until they have reached adulthood and are, at the very least, paying for the phone and service themselves, you can and should be monitoring their activity.

Microsoft Family makes this incredibly easy for Windows 10 on PC and Mobile. Which is one of the reasons why I have recommended Windows 10 Mobile for this use case for so long.

Unfortunately my son's smartphone requirements - school and personal - can no longer be met with a Windows phone. Some quick research has shown me that replacing his Lumia with an Android or iOS device is going to be incredibly painful if I wish to able to continue to monitor his usage.

Of all the moments which have punctuated the long drawn out death of Windows as a mobile platform this one, for me, promises to be by far the most painful.

For Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari Sunday evening's start line accident in Singapore was hugely expensive. Whilst the World Championship is never sealed until it's mathematically sealed, failing to take the expected race victory and maximise the points gain to Lewis Hamilton, by leading the Red Bulls home, was their only opportunity to take a defendable lead into the final races of the season.

The accident, which took out both Ferraris, was not punished by the stewards - and rightly so. This was a pure racing accident, where no party was in control of all the contributing factors which caused the collision.

Of the three drivers who were involved the one driver who comes out with absolutely no blame is Max Verstappen, and those seeking to apportion some of the blame are clearly wrong, as demonstrated by any angle you choose to view of the collision.

Neither Ferrari driver was able to see what was happening on the other side of Verstappen's Red Bull, which is why both appeared to squeeze the Dutchman, resulting in Raikkonen's initial contact with the Red Bull and the subsequent disaster for Ferrari and Vettel.

Those people who have never sat in a racing car, let alone won Grand Prix or World Championships, lecturing drivers about how aggressive they should be on race day just don't get it. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't. Failure bias is just as fallacious as success bias when assessing these outcomes.

So the iPhone launch is out of the way, the Note 8 is starting to reach customers and next up is Google and the launch of the Pixel 2 on October 4th.

Samsung and Apple have moved the needle since the first Pixel launched and whilst Google's computational photography still produces amazing results, the HTC built handset doesn't look great value compared to the new market leaders. 

The new Pixel is strongly rumoured to be built by LG, and will likely sit somewhere between the G6 and V30 in terms of build, specs and design.

But where will it be priced?  

Will Google return to the days of earlier Nexus handsets and offer premium features at a more reasonable price? In short, will Google undercut Samsung and Apple in order to boost Pixel sales and recognition? 

It will very much depends upon Google's ambitions as a device manufacturer. Volume and better market share; or thought leader and flagship for the Android range of devices, much in the way Microsoft uses the Surface to drive manufacturer and customer engagement.

The pricing which gets announced in early October will give us a huge clue as to the direction Google is taking.

Now screen size isn't everything and the AMOLED screen on the iPhone X is higher in pixel density and resolution than the traditional IPS display used in the iPhone 8. Its also more power efficient. 

What it isn't though, is bigger. In fact in terms of usable display area it's way behind the iPhone 8 Plus. 

The traditional aspect ratio of the 8 Plus screen clocks in at 83.6 square cm of surface area, whilst the tall and narrow iPhone X is only 83.1 square cm, if you treat it as a traditional rectangle. Which of course it isn't. Those rounded corners and that sensor cutout both reduce the actual size significantly. 

So in portrait mode those web pages, apps and books are going to be less easy to read, whilst in landscape you're going to need to be ready for a lot more scrolling. Never mind accommodating apps which haven't been updated for the new screen limitations. 

How can a 5.8" screen be smaller than a 5.5" screen? Easy, its all down to aspect ratios. The very tall thin iPhone X screen makes for an impressive diagonal without actually creating a great deal of usable space. 

That's not the end of the story though. The choice now becomes one of features and price. Do you prefer the larger screen and Touch ID, plus $200 in your pocket; or would you prefer a smaller device,  Face ID and that AMOLED screen? 

Microsoft recently claimed that there are now 330 Million active monthly users of its Edge browser in Windows 10. That's a story that nobody is finding easy to swallow and its easy to see why.

Edge has struggled to gain any traction in Netmarketshare's usage surveys, peaking at just over 5% of the browser usage as measured by the company. For a PC market of around 1.5 billion users that would peg Edge's active user base at around 75 Million - or less than a quarter of the number Microsoft is claiming.

So why the discrepancy? After all Windows 10 has more telemetry that any platform has ever had. If that telemetry is telling Microsoft that 330 Million users are using Edge each month, then you can be sure that they are.

Just not for web browsing.

That 330 Million number obviously includes the 75 Million we've extrapolated from Netmarketshare's numbers. It also includes a large number of new users who open Edge in order to download Chrome or Firefox. Which clearly isn't enough on a monthly basis to make up the shortfall.

However PDF reading does fill in the gap. And because Microsoft made the decision to make Edge the default PDF viewer for Windows 10 you can probably assume that its these users who are making up the difference.

After all, there's plenty of evidence that even the most naive or newbie of users will choose to download Chrome or Firefox for browsing. Changing their PDF viewer? That's unlikely to be on their radar. So each time they open a PDF file Microsoft registers them as an active users of Edge for that month. And Netmarketshare doesn't, because there's no traffic to a monitored website.

So the truth is that Microsoft is entirely accurate about the number of people using Edge on their PCs, it's just that they don't use it for web browsing.

Some has been busy managing the message around Face ID these last few days. The embarrassing slip during the keynote notwithstanding, Apple has more than a few challenges with this new technology and selling it to all but the most blinkered customers.

Chief among them is the idea that Face ID will become second nature because it's so fast and easy.

That is easy to disprove because Android devices have both fingerprint sensors and face recognition. The difference between the way both work clearly demonstrates how Face ID is inferior to Touch ID.

Over the weekend I enabled tap to wake and face unlock on my Xperia XZ to overcome this.

To be clear here, I am not talking about the speed or accuracy of Face ID compared to Android's face unlock. Just the speed comparison between the two methods and their relative fingerprint unlocking process.

So fingerprint unlock with the Xperia. Press the power button as you pull the phone out of your pocket, pick the phone up or otherwise interact with it and unlock its instant.

There's no perceptible delay between the unlock intent and unlock happening.

Face unlock is a very different thing. Tap the screen to wake the phone (you could use the power button if haven't registered a finger otherwise it instantly unlocks the phone), point it at your face and check the lock icon to confirm it has worked. You can then swipe the screen to access your device. Identical to the process Apple has implemented. 

As you can see, one seamless process has become three disjointed actions. The difference is significant and whilst it may only be an additional second to unlock its still a backward step in usability.

It's not an Android or Xperia issue either. The face recognition portion of the process is as quick or quicker than that which Apple demonstrated last week. The delay comes from the transition between the different stages of the face unicorn process. 

My view is that the iPhone X will be the only phone Apple releases without Touch ID. The next generation of iPhone X will have the ability to scan a fingerprint directly on the screen. The technology we believe was planned for the iPhone X.

What is interesting is Apple's refusal to be pragmatic about this shortfall and place a Touch ID sensor on the back of the iPhone.

The hubris which allows Apple to claim Face ID is the correct answer is endemic in everything Apple does. It's just a shame so few commentators are prepared to call them out on it. 

Lewis Hamilton has all but claimed his fourth World Championship after making the most of an opportunity presented by a start line accident which wiped out both Ferraris. In a race where realistic expectations were for a fifth place finish behind the Ferraris and Red Bulls, Hamilton instead romped to victory and is now within site of the Championship.

All the remaining circuits favour Mercedes, making the likelihood of a Vettel comeback remote indeed.

However, Hamilton's victory at Singapore was not handed to him on a plate. With the cars in front and alongside him on the grid eliminated, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo should have been favourite to snatch victory. Instead Hamilton comfortably outran, even with the usual Singapore Safety Car interventions.

For all that the turbo-hybrid era has been a Mercedes benefit, this was a race that Hamilton picked up with a large slice of luck and a solid drive on a tricky track. Whilst he was favourite to regain the title before this weekend, he walks away with the job almost done, barring a major reversal of fortune.