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Showing posts from February 26, 2018

Is Apple Planning A Push For Mac Volume This Year

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The PC market has started to stabilise, but continues to trend downwards as longer duty cycles in the enterprise and tablet adoption rates in consumer markets reduce the numbers of new PCs sold each year. 

For Apple this represents an opportunity, one which it may be seeking to grab with both hands if stories of a cheaper MacBook Air arriving later this year are true. 

The MBA is already Apple's cheapest portable offering. Introducing an added value model could help it grab market share. 

More so if the Mac Mini finally gets refreshed at the same time. 

Customers may be reluctant to replace that aging PC with another, but upgrading to a Mac will have a certain appeal, especially for those already in the iOS camp. 

Now this isn't going to take Apple into the mass market by any stretch of the imagination. But bumping overall market share more than a couple of points would be a significant psychological blow to the Windows world.

F1: Robert Kubica Demonstrates The Halo Effect

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How much of a difference is the new Halo going to make to a driver's sight lines and visibility this season? You can judge for yourself in this video, with Robert Kubica taking the Martini Williams for a quick ride around the Aragorn circuit in Spain.
The helmet cam definitely shows that the Halo is intrusive to a driver's eye line, however the continuous movement of a driver's head should prevent the creation of a blind spot.
There does still seem to be a worry that something unexpected could happen behind that front pillar and the driver's view will be blocked for sufficient time for something catastrophic to occur, but the chances of that happening are hopefully remote enough to make it of minimum concern.

Snap Has To Deliver Second Generation Spectacles, Despite $40m Loss On The First Pair

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It isn't unusual to lose a pair of spectacles, it's rather more unusual to lose $40m on a pair of Spectacles, but that what Snap managed to do last year. What's even more unusual is going back for more after taking a beating. Again, that's what Snap intends to do, but I believe it has solid reasons for doing so.
Snap's Spectacles were not actually a product, sure they were sold and were apparently 'in' if you lived in the wrong sort of place. Their main purpose was neither to sell nor to be cool, rather they were a shop window for Snap and Snap's technology.
Snap wants to license the technology behind the Spectacles to mainstream eyewear manufacturers, firstly in order to create an income stream and secondly to get Snap onto people's faces, in turn prompting them to start using the service on their phones.
Snap is at risk from Facebook's management of Instagram, which promises to drive it into the ground. A ground swell in the number of active …

Vivo And Essential May Be Claiming Popup Camera Glory Now, But Huawei Beat Them And Better In 2015

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Following the unveiling of the Vivo Apex Concept phone last week, Essential boss Andy Rubin has already claimed bragging rights for the popup camera tech which enables its true full screen arrangement. Apparently Essential picked up a patent for this last year.
Old news I'm afraid. This Huawei phones, known by different names in different territories, but most commonly the Honor 7i, did the 'now you see it, now you don't' trick with its selfie camera three years ago - and it's a better concept than either Vivo's or Essential's.
The 7i used a then leading edge Sony 13mp sensor for its rear facing camera, which could then be flipped around to be used as a selfie camera too. All the quality, none of the compromise.
Now imagine a modern, 2018 smartphone, using the same concept to popup its fancy rear facing dual camera pack, to create an even better selfie experience. Whilst retaining the slim bezels that customers are apparently going to be demanding this yea…

Dx0Mark Awards Samsung Galaxy S9 For Best Cameras, But Really Is It Even Valid Any More

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Dx0Mark - which throws an impressive array of tests at new smartphone cameras in order to establish which performs best - has identified the new Galaxy S9 as the current cream of the crop. It's probably a fair assessment, knowing that Samsung does a good job with its camera performance makes it a safe bet that the S9 will be another forward step.
However, I'm at the point where I think we can safely say that, for 95% of users and 99% of their photos, any modern flagship smartphone will do the job. 
Let's be honest, in the last twelve months Dx0Mark has flagged the HTC U11, Galaxy Note 8, iPhone X and Pixel 2 as new  high watermarks. In fact after testing the U11 the had to change the scale of the scoring because they were running out of superlatives - and marks to hand out.
Take a look at phone based photo groups on Flickr or Instagram, you'll see that your phone is capable of photos which are breathtaking in their quality. If the photos you are taking aren't as g…

Formula E: Abt Finds Redemption In Mexico City

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Audi Sport driver Daniel Abt won his second race of the 2018 season in Mexico City - and this time it looks like he'll be allowed to keep it. Having had his previous win in Hong Kong erased after the team made a mistake with paperwork - on his birthday as well - Abt's first ever race win ends a losing streak for the Audi team that stretches back to last season.
In a further fillip for the team, reigning Champion Lucas di Grassi finally made it to the chequered flag - albeit in ninth place, after starting from the back of the grid.
The Mexico City race was the first this season to use a permanent race circuit, rather than being held on the streets of the city, which meant a rather different feel from the tight, incident packed races we've become used to. Still there was plenty of excitement to keep the crowd on their feet.
This was the first race where a minimum pitstop time was not mandated - and the result was a hectic pit sequence which saw Abt take the lead from Oliver…

Is Nokia's Sirocco The New LG G6

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The LG G6 was a pretty clever smartphone - one of the first to jump to a 18:9 screen, have dual rear cameras with different optical properties and packed a pretty smart build.
All of which counted for nothing for two reasons. Firstly, the LG badge - not something the company is managing to attach any cachet to. And secondly, perhaps more importantly the outdated processor.
The G6 launched with a Snapdragon 821 at a time when every other OEM was moving their Android flagship to the 835. As a result the G6 got dinged in every single review, performance comparison and test. Many pointed out that there wasn't any apparent performance difference, but they still pointed to the old processor as an potential downside.
At MWC Nokia launched the new Sirocco, an update of the Nokia 8 designed to compete with the big boys - the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X. And they filled it full of Snapdragon 835, just as everyone else is moving to the 845.
Is this going to be a major downside for the Sirocco…

The iPhone Super-Cycle Never Happened, So What's Next

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Far from bringing the storm of upgrades that analysts were predicting, the iPhone X maintained the status quo for Apple sales. The resulting drop in Apple's share price allowed those who had sold at the top of the previous price spike to hoover up shares at a significant discount.
And now we have another round of pump and dump on progress. All sort of people have been saying great things about Apple's future performance - whether that be analysts predicting an iPhone super-cycle starting this Q4 with three new versions of the iPhone X, or Warren Buffet teeling everybody how impressed he is with the company. The net effect has been to drive the price of Apple shares to new all time highs.
The truth is that much of this is an elaborate scam to manipulate the price of Apple stock. Drive the price up as high as you can before shorting it and then driving it back down again, to reap your profits - and its a trick you can keep pulling off again and again.
Apple's iPhone situati…

Jaguar's I-Pace Is A Stunning EV Which Trumps Tesla All Ends Up

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Pause for a second and let your eye drink in the flowing lines of Jaguar's production ready I-Pace EV, sitting, taut - like a sprinter awaiting the gun. Compare it to the lazy, almost jarring lines of the Tesla Model X and its ridiculous gull wing doors, or the ungainly, weirdly humped Model 3.
There's something in the I-Pace that tells you Tesla has had its day in the sun, it has broken new ground and gained something of a cult appeal. But whilst the company is struggling to get Model 3s into the hands of customers who paid deposits back in 2016, Jaguar will undoubtedly be churning these out of their factories at the sort of mass production volumes that only decades of experience can bring.
With a expected range of 240 miles, price and performance to match the Tesla, the lure of the prettier, more storied Jaguar will undoubtedly hurt Tesla's mass market appeal. And with Audi, BMW and Mercedes only just getting into the market buyer choice is only going to widen - and at …

Xbox Update Process Is Completely Ridiculous For A Console

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Here's my Friday early evening. Suggest a game of FIFA with my son before bedtime. Turn on Xbox One to find it requires an update before allowing any games to run.

Wait two minutes for updates to download and a further ten for them to verify and install.

Finally get that completed only to find that FIFA 18 wants it's own upgrade before it will start.

Net result: son's bedtime reached before updates complete.

Level of frustration: extremely high.

Microsoft if you can't see your updates process is broken you don't deserve to be in the console business.

Sony Plumps For Media Focus In Xperia XZ2 Ads

Sony new ad spots for the Xperia XZ2 are focusing on its media features - 4K display, HDR shooting and playback and the embedded rumble motors for its dynamic vibration feature.
This is the phone which marks Sony's comeback to the US, on the basis that it can put together a partnership with a major carrier. That isn't something it has achieved for a while now. Giving the XZ2 a USP which will place it above the iPhone, Galaxy S9 and Pixel 2 in buyers eyes is going to be the only way Sony makes this happen.
Sony excellent reputation for media performance may just be the boost it needs to persuade a carrier to jump onboard, even if the real value of 4K on a 5.7" screen has yet to be proven.

NZ Smartphone Sales In Freefall - A Sign Of Global Contraction To Come

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IDC reported yesterday that the smartphone market in New Zealand fell by more than 14% in 2017 - the first time the market has shrunk since the company started recording data back in 2008.
The 1.6m sales figure represented a new device for every third person in New Zealand - a country with historically high rates of smartphone penetration anyway.
New Zealand is often held up as a market indicator for future changes in behaviour and many companies still test out innovative new products here before releasing them onto the global stage. That's a result of a small, diverse and well educated population. One which quickly reflects trends that might take longer to become apparent in larger territories.
So the size of the decline here, compared to a much smaller one globally, suggests the global smartphone industry is in for a bigger shakeout.
The figures from IDC also show that some OEMs have been planning ahead in order to protect profits in a shrinking market. Average selling prices f…

F1: Mercedes Destroy Opposition In First Barcelona Test - Another Dismal Year In Prospect

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Despite the cold weather problems which affected the pre-season test in Barcelona, enough running was completed for three good days of results. It's the interpretation of these results which make dismal reading for anyone hoping for a more competitive F1 season then the previous four.
Lewis Hamilton finished the final day of running nearly a second clear of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari, despite using a harder tyre which gives away three to four tenths of a second a lap. That's a gulf that Ferrari has no hope of bridging and will mean another year of limited competitiveness at the front of the field.
Given the gulf in performance between Hamilton and team mate Bottas, we might as well hand Hamilton the driver's title now, give Mercedes the team prize and ask the Silver Arrows to stay at home for the season. We might get some form of race for Class B  between Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren.

Discworld's City Watch To Make BBC TV Debut

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The mighty Discworld series might be getting a TV adaptation, if reports in Deadline are accurate. The 41 book work of Terry Pratchett has been sadly lacking a dramatization and the BBC team involved seem to have the right credentials to make sure this is another success.
Silent Witness producer Hilary Salmon and Pratchett's daughter Rhianna are part of the team bringing this to the screen in what will initially be a six-part run with a working title of The Watch.
That suggests the story will follow (to a greater or lesser extent) the progress of Sam Vimes from drunken Night Watch commander to the Duke of Ankh, with plenty of trolls, dwarves and Nobby Nobbs along the way.
Given the depth of the Discworld, and its wide variety of characters, this could prove to be a long running success for the BBC, if it gets the basics right from episode one.

Is Apple Planning A Yoga Book-like iPad

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A patent made public by the USPTO appears to open up the possibility of a new iPad with functionality and design similar to Lenovo's now discontinued Yoga Book. 
That device leveraged a tablet-like size to incorporate two glass displays, one designed to act like a tablet screen, the other creating a virtual keyboard and mouse - as well as some janky pen-paper-screen writing interfaces.
The Yoga Book was smaller and more portable than any Ultrabook, whilst being more capable than a tablet alone - in some ways.
Apple's patent seems to be no more than a variation of the MacBook Pros woeful Touch Bar at first, but the idea that the second screen could extend the full length of the base introduces some rather different possibilities.
Consider an iPad with an attachable lower screen capable of morphing from keyboard to handwriting input to second screen. It would incrementally improve the appeal of an iPad to new groups of potential users, whilst at the same time retaining all the …

Android Go Only Works If Google Commits To Rapid Updates

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Google (re) launched Android Go this week, with six new low-end phones appearing running the cut-down version of the mobile platform. In effect Android Go is a second attempt at Android One, which never achieved its goal of making Android acceptable on cheap phones and has now become the Nexus program which any phone OEM can join.
Go is based on Android Oreo and through changes to the bundled software and core OS itself takes up less storage space and runs in less memory than the standard version of Oreo. The bundled apps are the Go versions of Google's main apps, which have also been tweaked to the same purpose.
In theory this makes a cheap Android smartphone a much better purpose, especially in developing countries where one might turn out to be the only computer an individual has access too.
What is missing here is a firm commitment to Android upgrades reaching Android Go devices quickly. Google's Android page for Go specifically excludes any form of guarantees about eithe…

F1: Mario Andretti's Greatest Grand Prix Drive

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Mario Andretti turned 78 this week and the 1978 World Champion is often overlooked when time comes to talk about all-time greats. The Americano certainly deserves to be a lot higher up those lists and he is rarely given credit for his Grand Prix achievements.
In my view his greatest Grand Prix weekend isn't even one where he claimed victory. But in a Ferrari, at the tail end of a disastrous season, it was one that lifted Ferrari and all of Italy.
1982 was a terrible season for all in Grand Prix racing. Arrows driver Marc Surer had broken both legs in a horrible accident in pre-season testing, the season itself was disrupted by a drivers strike in South Africa and a boycott of the San Marino Grand Prix by half the teams. At Zolder, fifth race of the season Ferrari team leader, Gilles Villeneuve, ran into the back of Jochen Mass's March and was launched into a series of cartwheels which killed the French Canadian.
One month later Italian Riccardo Paletti died after crashing his…

Vivo Apex: Now That's A Bezel-free Phone

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Notches, who needs them? Not Vivo that's for sure, this is the company that appears to be ready to usurp Apple and Samsung has the technology innovator in smartphone design.
The Vivo Apex is a concept phone, but very little on the device is actually a production impossibility. In fact I'd wager that with a few minor changes, Vivo could put this into production today.
The Apex does introduce two new technologies however, both of which are innovative in their own way. The first is an under the screen fingerprint reader which covers the lower half of the display and can unlock with a finger placed anywhere - even requiring two fingers if that's your security preference. The second is a screen vibration technology which turns the whole display into a speaker, for calls or media.
The Vivo Apex just surpassed the Xiaomi Mix as the most breathtaking phone I've seen. Unfortunately it is just a prototype, but even so this doesn't feel like a device which is far from market…

Spotify Continues To Outgrow Apple Music

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Spotify has announced that it will beginning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, in a direct listing which will allow shareholders to sell up to $1bn of stock. That much has been strongly rumoured for a while now. 

The prospectus for the list contains some interesting numbers though. As of December Spotify had 71m paying subscribers and 140m users in total. That number goes to show just how quickly the service has grown and, more importantly, how against the odds it has continued to see off the threat of Apple Music. 

When Apple launched its streaming service Spotify had around 20m subscribers. In the intervening years Apple has grown to a recently announced 36m subscriber base. Which sounds good, but when you look at the gap between he services you have to commend Spotify for impressive subscriber growth. 

Apple Music inherited around 1.5m users from Beats Music,  meaning the gap between the services was about 18 million subscribers. That gap has all but doubled since then. For ever…

With Samsung No Longer Racing To Be First, Who Leads The Mobile Market

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DJ Koh, head of Samsung's Mobile Division, had said that the company will no longer race to be first to market with new innovations or features, instead it will focus on making things available when they are ready.

That's a significant change in the way the company operates. Think about all the features Samsung has got to market with first, often to be trumped when something better arrives (usually from Apple) forcing the company back to the drawing board.

The worry here is that Samsung becomes too risk averse in its design and we lose the innovations that did change the world. Roll back this policy six or seven years and consider whether the new Samsung ideology would have birthed the Galaxy Note.

With Apple stuck in a rut, introducing changes which haven't taken off, like force touch, and Samsung getting cagey by policy, who is going to drive innovation in a smartphone market which is getting increasingly mature?

Amazon Buys Ring For $1bn, But Why

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Ring has a portfolio of products based around home security. Cameras and smart doorbells being to the fore. On that basis it doesn't seem a likely candidate for a billion dollar purchase by Amazon,  but that's exactly what has been announced. 

For Amazon I believe there are two main reasons for making this purchase, both of which follow the companies existing strategy of removing friction from customer's purchases on the Amazon store. 

First off,  adding Alexa to more spaces in the home. Having Amazon's assistant in every home is a goal that the company has been pursuing with partners for a while. The purchase of Ring creates another pathway into the home for customers who wouldn't consider a dedicated Echo or smart speaker. In the same way Google is bringing Nest into the Google Assistant fold,  so Amazon can add Alexa to Ring products. 

Secondly, access into customer's homes for deliveries. We've already seen that Amazon wants to make this a key part of its …

Looks Like Certain Android OEMs Are Going To Slavishly Copy The Notch

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First it was Asus,  now we have seen solid evidence from Evan Blass that Huawei will follow. Then yesterday we had a leak which suggests the next OnePlus flagship will also do it,  which in turn implies Oppo will be incorporating one too. I'm talking about the notch here,  a design feature which Apple introduced on the iPhone X and which all these Android manufacturers have rushed to copy. 

It's an absolute nonsense. The iPhone has a notch to accommodate the Face ID sensor pack,  but none of these phones have anything similar. So why have the notch at all? 

It certainly isn't because it's a desirable  feature.  As Apple has already demonstrated,  it's a compromise which works only so well,  when it works at all. 

No, the only reason for following this design 'feature' is to create a phone that can be mistaken for an iPhone at a glance. And if that's your design ethos,  well you shouldn't be in the smartphone business at all. 

Now I know that the Essenti…

Bad Asus Clones iPhone X, Notch To The Fore

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Asus unveiled its Zenfone 5 today, and what a disappointing effort it is. The design team took an iPhone X and cloned it in order to get a impressively high screen to body ratio.

Problem is that it narrows the Zenfone 5's market to people who want to be seen to have an iPhone X but just can't afford one.

The phone itself packs no more into its notch than the standard selfie camera and speaker, so it's not like Asus were forced into this design choice by the technology.

A 6.2" display which goes into the corners and includes a notch offers no more screen estate than the 6" rectangular screen it announced on the Zenfone 5 Lite. 

The Zenfone 5 promises to be cheap - at around half the price of the iPhone X, but that's a price point where you can now find impressively worthy phones.

Ones that aren't relying on somebody else's designs for 'inspiration'.

Governments Can Now Bypass iOS Security

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There's been plenty of hoo-haa about the inability of law enforcement services to access data on locked iOS devices, and the limited assistance Apple is prepared, or able, to provide in gaining access to them.
That has become an entirely moot argument for now according to a report from Forbes, as Israeli company Cellebrite has been telling governments around the world that it can access any iOS device on demand.
Good news for law enforcement, not so great for those who have something to hide.
There have been several instances of the company unlocking devices for customers with at least one rumoured to be an iPhone X - although the weakness of that phone's Face ID system has already been demonstrated and it would surprise me if most attempts to unlock one need to go as far as Cellebrite at all.

How Microsoft Intends To Send A Computer Recycler To Prison

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This story on The Washington Post is interesting, demonstrating as it does, that Microsoft still has many and varied income streams even from Windows versions which are long dead.
The story has twists and turns and I'm not entirely convinced that Eric Lundgren's story is completely honest, but rather than the fate of one computer recycler, the interest here is in the impact it has for second-hand computer buyers.
Buy a PC which has a valid Windows license and even a legitimate COA and obtain a restore disk copy from anywhere but the OEM and you're in breach of Microsoft's licensing terms. As is the seller. Microsoft charges those OEMs a licensing fee to create restore disks.
Chances are the OEM won't want to sell you the disk, as it wants to sell another computer and Microsoft won't want them to anyway, as it means another older  PC that doesn't run Windows 10 messing up its control of the market.
In practice, anyone creating 28,000 restore disks to distrib…

Why Does Microsoft Still Have An Xbox Division

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Microsoft has spent the last two years ruthlessly culling all of its business areas which sell to consumers - Windows phones, Music Streaming, fitness trackers... all these subtractions add up to a company which can't do business with consumers.
Yet the success of the Xbox division gives the lie to that statement. Microsoft can sell to consumers - if it has the right product and listens to those consumers.
Gaming generated almost as much revenue as Windows, it all but matched Advertising, LinkedIn and Enterprise Services combined. Imagine where it could be now, if Microsoft hadn't botched so much of the Xbox launch as to give Sony the upper hand in the market.
The same is true of every other consumer play Microsoft made. Windows phones were killed just at the point where they were gaining traction. The Band was killed when customers were crying out for an updated version. Groove Music (AKA Xbox Music, Zune Music) continuously failed to deliver features which users on other st…

Blackberry's Move To Android Not Going Well

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TCL's purchase of the rights to the Blackberry brand name seemed like a real opportunity to leverage a once popular brand name and achieve sales success.

That hasn't turned out to be the case. Far from it in fact. Despite achieving some success among tech writers and bloggers with the Key One, total sales in the whole of 2017 were less than a million handsets. 

Now if each handset was sold at a sizeable profit that might be considered some measure of success, especially considering the number of Android manufacturers vying for a slice of the premium market.

Whether that's true or not it's clear that having a good brand name is not an automatic guarantee of success in the mobile market. 

It seems that TCL needs to rethink its Blackberry offering if it seeks sales success by volume.

Qualcomm - Broadcom Merger Now Dependent On Price Alone

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Qualcomm has been forcefully rejecting Broadcom's purchase offers for some time now, however the company is now reported to have agreed terms of a takeover, leaving price as the only remaining sticking point. 

Broadcom's current valuation for the mobile CPU power house is light, according to Qualcomm anyway, and the company is looking for a much bigger pay off before hitting the go button.

Even then the whole plan needs to get through regulatory approval - and you can bet your last Snapdragon 835 that this deal - expected to be the largest ever, will attract very close scrutiny.

Loss Of Apple's iCloud Business A Blow To Microsoft Azure

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The Verge is reporting that Apple is no longer using Microsoft Azure for any of its iCloud storage, reporting that it now relies on Amazon and Google exclusively to provide this service. 

With Microsoft making cloud services a bigger and bigger part of its business model any loss is painful. Given the size of Apple's user base and iCloud offering, this has to be the most painful loss yet. 

With the growth which Azure has posted over the last couple of years, this probably won't worry the execs at Microsoft just yet. But expect them to aggressively pursue this particular contract next time Apple looks to review it's storage purchasing.

Sony's Ear Duo Wireless Earbuds Might Be A Bit Too Far Ahead Of Their Time

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Look, I love the concept of these headphones as much as anyone, the idea of a set of wireless earbuds which deliver an 'outside-in' experience just sounds so good. It's the complete opposite of what Sony has been doing so well for the last couple of years - active noise cancelling.
The Ear Duos are what Sony calls Open Ear headphones. Allowing external audio to mix with ambient noise so you aren't completely cut off from your environment. The full integration with Google Assistant or Siri gives these a second desirable feature.
The problem is that, as much as leaving these in your ears all the time and utilising them with a smart assistant sounds great, there are a couple of drawbacks. Mainly the bulk of the battery / control unit on the back of your ear and the battery life being just four to five hours.
If you live or work in an environment where talking to yourself in public is acceptable your probably going to want to keep these in all the time - at which point th…

Sony Xperia XZ2 Brings 4K HDR Video To The Smartphone World

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Sony has announced its new flagship device for 2018, available in medium and large sizes and packing a few notable features which one up the competition.
The Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are both powered by the new Snapdragon 845 and sport 18: 9 screens. As previously rumoured they also get rid of the headphone jack, leaving you the option of USB-C or Bluetooth headphones.
Sony has packed two new features into the XZ2 which should make them attractive to a key niche in the smartphone market.
Firstly, the new Xperias are capable of recording HDR video at 4K, something that has never been available on smartphones before. Then there is the dynamic sound - a rumble effect for media audio which Sony is claiming will allow you to feel the sound.
As expected Sony also unveiled a new design language - from the front those new 18:9 displays dominate, but from behind there's been a move to conform, becoming more HTC like in the way the rear of the phone is presented.
There's good news fo…

First Ad For Samsung's New Galaxy S9 Arrives

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Unsurprisingly, there's a heavy focus on the new camera in Samsung's first advert for the new Galaxy S9, that's because it amounts to the largest part of the change from S8 to S9.
All of the details are as leaked - the dual aperture camera which switches from f2.4 to f1.5 in low light, the dual camera on the S9+ and the super slow mo, which captures 960fps at 720p.
That latter technology is Samsung's own, not bought in from Sony and has been improved in one key area where the Sony was lacking: motion detection. Whereas the Xperia's super slow mo camera would sometimes miss the action you were trying to record, Samsung has setup the camera to start recording as soon as it detects motion in the frame - you don't even have to fire the shutter.

With just over a fortnight before the first units start arriving, Samsung's commercial is currently as close as most people will get to a handset.

Samsung Bumps Galaxy S9 Prices Up A Smidge, Prepares For Discounts

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Samsung is definitely hoping to cash in on the added capabilities of its new Galaxy S9, with higher prices here in New Zealand meaning a $100 premium on the launch price of the S8.

Considering the updates Samsung has brought, that isn't an unreasonable price hike. However once those early adopters have hoovered up early stocks it's likely the S9 will see some discounts to keep sales moving. 

Last year the Galaxy S8 was offered with a sweetener bundle for early buyers, then a different bundle for fast followers and finally a near 25% discount for those who lagged behind. 

That's on top of any sweeteners the carriers were offering. 

Samsung knows that it will still make a profit on the S9 even at these discounted prices, so having a go at raking in some Apple-style profit levels from early adopters is a easy bet to place. 

This year's bundle seems to be based around a wireless charger and Bluetooth audio extras like headphones and speakers. 

It's unlikely many S8 owners wi…

What Is HMD Global Trying To Achieve With Retro Nokia Phones

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As well as its usual Android fare, Nokia today announced a 'new' 8110 - the banana phone famously used in the original Matrix film.

It wasn't an especially great phone at the time and it didn't even have the spring loaded slider which appeared in the film. So the 'Reloaded'version announced by Nokia today seems to be a pretty faithful copy. 

I assume the market here is for ironic nostalgia. There's no other reason to want this phone. 

Things is, if HMD Global is planning to work its way through Nokia's back catalogue to try and cover itself in retro cool, how long before it meets itself coming back? 

Looking forward to the Lumia 1020 Reloaded once HMD figures out how to build it.