Another day, another wild promise about mobile batteries that will last for aaaaaaages. So what’s this new one about? Well, this has been developed in Blighty, and after they harnessed the power of hydrogen for London black cabs, they’re now making a mobile battery that will only have to be charged once a week.
Intelligent Energy Holdings say that hydrogen fuel cells will be made, that are small enough to put in a mobile phone. This tech converts hydrogen into electricity, which leaves water vapour as a byproduct, so you might have to tip your phone out now and then.
“Embedding fuel-cell technology into portable devices provides a solution to the current dilemma of battery life,” says Julian Hughes from Intelligent Energy’s Consumer Electronics division; “With consumers demanding more and more from their phones, battery innovation has not kept up.”
Henri Winland, who is Intelligent Energy’s chief executive, says: “The killer app is a battery with a seven-week refresh life and we think that will appeal to everyone. It’s not just for intrepid explorers.”
Obviously, these people aren’t great at communicating, but the thought of a battery that only needs to be charged once per week, is pretty great.
The company have a deal with an unnamed smartphone maker, which is going to allow them to develop a prototype fuel cell phone, and more than just helping us lot to stop plugging our phones in, the real joy of this tech is that it will help those people who live off the grid, maybe in rural parts of the third world and what have you.
Hughes continued: “What we offer is a solution that is clean and efficient and means consumers could be truly mobile and free from the constraints of the grid.”
Are you an Apple customer, who has had repairs done to your iPhone on your screen or your home button? Have you then tried to upgrade your phone and got the ‘Error 53′ problem? Have you found that your phone has been bricked because of all this nonsense?
Well, this error is Apple’s way of making sure that your phone’s security hasn’t been compromised… and as well as that, it seems to be their way of making sure an unauthorised third party haven’t repaired your device too.
You might think that this all seems reasonable, but there is a problem here – should you be on holiday or whatever, and your phone breaks and there’s no official Apple store around, if your phone breaks and you need it fixed, you’ll be penalised. That doesn’t seem too fair.
An Apple spokesperson says: “When an iPhone is serviced by an unauthorised repair provider, faulty screens or other invalid components that affect the Touch ID sensor could cause the check to fail if the pairing cannot be validated. With a subsequent update or restore, additional security checks result in an Error 53 being displayed.”
“Without this unique pairing [betweeen the touch sensor and "secure enclave" in the phone], a malicious Touch ID sensor could be substituted, thereby gaining access to the secure enclave. When iOS detects that the pairing fails, Touch ID including Apple Pay is disabled so the device remains secure”.
“We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device’s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.”
So, if you’re not able to get your phone fixed by an official Apple work, tough cheese, basically.
There’s been a fair amount of complaining on social media, about Apple’s various outlets being down. One problem sees users being told that they’ve been frozen out of their iTunes account, being asked to validate their details, only to find they still can’t get in.
Other services are on the blink too, with problems arising with the App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match and the Volume Purchase Program. Looks like there’s issues with some iCloud services too.
People have also been reporting problems with iMessage too.
So, basically, if you’ve been trying to buy stuff through Apple, or update your apps, and been having a nightmare with it all, don’t worry yourself unduly – it isn’t just you. Of course, it is really irritating, but at least there’s a load of you that have fallen foul of it, rather than something being wrong with your account.
If you look on DownDetector, you can see that this is a global problem across multiple Apple services. There’s no word on what’s happening yet, but it is safe to assume that Apple are trying to get it all fixed as quickly as possible.
There’s been some concern that prices will go up, if Three and O2 merge. Of course, with the way Three have been treating their legacy customers, it isn’t surprising that suspicion is being aroused by the whole thing.
Well, the firm behind the proposed deal – Hutchison – have vowed that there’s going to be a five-year price, if the £10bn merger goes through. The promise is that the price of voice minutes, texts, or megabytes will not go up for customers.
Canning Fok, group managing director, said: “From the outset, we have followed the principle that as technology improves people should always get more and pay less for their mobile services. That has not always made us popular with our competitors.”
“In short, over the next five years Three+O2′s customers will be getting more and paying less than they do today for mobile services and the wholesale market will also be better off.”
“Over the coming weeks the promises I have laid out will be an important part of the case Three will put to Europe’s competition authorities.”
This merger will see the new company becoming the biggest mobile operator in the UK, so there’s a lot at stake here, as the competition heats up, given that BT and EE are soon to become one.
Microsoft have apparently bought the hugely popular keyboard app SwiftKey for $250 million. It is thought that they’ve bought this, not just for its popularity, but also that it can be used with artificial intelligence in Microsoft’s imminent Word Flow smart keyboard.
The app, if you haven’t ever seen it or used it, allows you to type text without removing your finger from your screen. It uses AI to predict which words you’re using, and analyses your writing style to improve the more you use it.
It has topped the charts on iOS and Android platforms, and has technology that can learn slang, which emoji you prefer, and people’s nicknames. The company themselves say that they’ve saved almost two trillion keystrokes and over 23,000 years in combined typing time.
It looks like this.
However, like a lot of businesses with a good idea, SwiftKey has not exactly been a great business model. That’s where Microsoft are hoping to change things.
Microsoft have indeed been busy of late, buying to-do app Wunderlist, the Sunrise calendar app, and Acompli. It looks like Microsoft are staying relevant by acquiring third-party apps. Could be a winner, provided they don’t make a hash of it.
If you’re all ‘Alphabwho?’, then remember, that’s what Google changed their name to.
Why should some arbitrary list be of any importance? Well, there is something to be said about being top of this list. Once upon a time, IBM were top, who were then surpassed by Microsoft, who were in turn toppled by Apple, who have now been replaced by Alphabet.
Looking at that list, you can see how certain companies just start to fall out of favour, and given that Google and Apple were once best buds, before falling out over the development of the Android platform, this could be seen as something of a power shift.
Of course, this meant that Alphabet shares shot up this week, and in total is worth $568 billion, while Apple are worth $535 billion.
There’s been numerous analysts and reports, saying that Apple’s appeal is softening of late, and that they’re not shifting the amount of phones they once did. One problem market for Apple is China, where they’re just not that interested in new iPhones and the like.
Google/Alphabet meanwhile, have been doing a roaring trade since the restructuring of the company, while Apple seem to have spent half their time in court with Samsung and other.
Alphabet are hoping that Google’s search engine carries on being as popular, as well as YouTube videos, and not to mention the imminent self-driving cars, the mysterious X research division which does all the secret, weird stuff, and the smart-home thingy, Nest. They’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, and people seem to be responding to that.
The scrap between Apple and Alphabet is on!
There’s some concern over Three’s handling of their legacy customers, who could see their bills being whacked up by the mobile company. It isn’t looking good elsewhere either, as the proposed merger of O2 and Three could see other people’s bills increasing too, according to Ofcom’s chief executive.
Sharon White thinks this merger could hinder competition, and that the regulator has already made their case about it to the European commission, who are going to review the situation.
You may recall that Three’s owner, Hutchison, agreed last year to buy O2 from Telefonica, in a deal worth somewhere in the region of £10bn. However, last Autumn, the Competition and Markets Authority asked the European commission to investigate the deal.
Writing for the FT, Sharon White said that this newly merged company would control two in five mobile connections, reducing the number of available networks to three (the others being EE and Vodafone). This could see a number of problems, the main one being higher costs for customers.
She said: “We are concerned that the smallest mobile network, Three, proposes to become the biggest by acquiring its rival O2. Many of our concerns relate to competition between operators who own the networks on which mobile phones rely. Only these four companies can make your mobile signal faster, more reliable and widely available. Establishing a new mobile network might be one answer, but this would take time, and considerable investment.”
“While the merger is reviewed, Ofcom will keep working to promote healthy rivalry between operators. We want UK consumers and businesses to enjoy fair mobile pries and cutting-edge products for years to come. For that we need strong competition: the basis of protection and the incentive to progress.”
Hutchison have said, in defence of themselves, that this move is a bid to stay competitive with the merging of BT and EE. We’ll have to wait and see how this transpires.
We’ve all seen the latest Three adverts starring a cute fraggle named Jackson who seems to be attempting to make even East17 cool again, but are Three hiding scurrilous shenanigans under those big eyes and purple fluff?
Reports suggest that Three are using the excuse of closing off old tariffs to switch some of their older customers (as in length of time with Three, rather than advancing years) on to new, more expensive contracts, with some customers even complaining of paying more than double their previous cost.
Three says that those on legacy tariffs are being switched to the ‘closest’ existing deal- but as Techradar reports, one customer said that their £15 monthly deal (originally £25, but with an added £10 loyalty discount) had now been increased to £33 a month, although it is unclear if the £10 loyalty discount is then applied to the new cost.
Three claim that they “introduced new price plans giving customers more options in the size of their data and voice bundles, as well as limits and alerts to prevent bill shock” back in March 2014, but increasing a customer’s talk and text capacity doesn’t help if they were after unlimited tethering, for example, which is no longer unlimited on their new plans, and is instead up to a maximum of 12GB per month.
Three has confirmed the process is ongoing, and if you are one of the lucky ones affected, you’ll receive a letter detailing your options going forward. Three said: “We have a lot of tariffs that we no longer sell and moving customers to one of the new plans will ensure they can enjoy the benefits of these plans.” Three also confirmed, however, that all customers who have received a letter are out of contract, and can therefore vote with their feet if they so choose.
Still, many of those affected seem to be none too pleased, but are making good, ironic use of Three’s latest tagline, tweeting their grievances with the hashtag #makeitright. Lol.
When anyone says to you ‘MATE! Click this link immediately! It’s amazing!’, you should be wary. Messages that say things like this either take you to an annoying joke, or something wildly inappropriate, like a RickRoll or some mucky video (we’ll let you decide which is which – you might think Rick Astley is the dirtiest thing you can send a person for all we know).
Anyway, there’s a new one doing the rounds, called ‘CrashSafari’.
Basically, if anyone links you to it, it makes your iPhone crash, overheats it, and generally gives you a pain in the neck. Android phones aren’t too fond of it either. Desktops? Yep. They struggle with it too.
In short, when you click the link, it takes you somewhere that generates a huge, and increasing string of characters, which briefly buggers up your device.
Of course, with TinyURL, Bit.ly, and the like, people are shortening the links in a bid to disguise their japes.
If you’ve been reading this and think ‘Ha! I’m exactly the kind of person who likes to play pranks like this!’, then you need to copy the following URL and send it to someone else. http://crashsafari.com/ If you clicked it, you can’t say you weren’t warned. If you have an add-on or whatever, that allows you to pre-block sites, feel free to add this now.
Facebook have owned WhatsApp for a while now, but they seemed sufficiently separate enough so that people didn’t ditch the messaging app, over privacy concerns which should be present when Facebook are involved with anything.
Of course, the very fact WhatsApp is Facebook-owned should be enough, but now, according to a screenshot that is doing the rounds, you’ll now be able to share data with Facebook from your WhatsApp app. You can assume that it’ll be automatically ticked in the next update.
Now, WhatsApp are looking at adding video calling, document sharing, and all manner of new things. They of course, made their app free recently too.
Despite all that, people might be feeling increasingly uneasy with Facebook sniffing around them, which of course, they already do with the Messenger app.
Either way, if you’re looking at ditching WhatsApp, because you don’t like Facebook or just because you’re after something else as an alternative in the event of an outage or whatever, here’s some of the messaging apps you can try out.
Alternatives To WhatsApp
Telegram - A lot of people are on Telegram these days, which is a great alternative to WhatsApp. One good feature is that you can destroy messages on a timer, if that’s your bag, as well as send a host of media files, and set up chat groups and whatnot. Of all of the messaging apps out at the minute, this is one of the most popular, and well loved. Click here to get it.
Line - The biggest rival WhatsApp has, is Line, which allows you to send messages, send video, and make calls. It basically does everything you’d expect it to do. Get it here.
Viber – Viber is a very popular app, which was originally set up as a competitor to Skype. It is available on all the main systems, and there’s a desktop version if that’s something that’ll sway things for you. Worth a gander. Download it here.
WeChat – Another extremely popular messaging and communications app is WeChat, who have half a billion people using it. It has group chats and all the usual things. Find it here.
Threema – If your main concern is security, then you should have a look at Threema, which likes to crow about such things. All the features you would expect from an app like this. We won’t patronise you by going through them all again. Get at it here.
Also: There’s Google’s various offerings, Snapchat, sending people direct messages on Twitter, BBM, and Apple’s iMessage… but you knew all about them already.
You only have to mention a rumour about a new iPhone, and someone will start yelling about ‘fanboys who will buy anything’, or someone bemoaning about ‘clickbait’ articles. Apple do that to people. That’s why they’re really rich.
Either way, the biggest rumour surrounding the next iPhone they release, concerns a lack of headphone port. This’ll be annoying for a lot of people if it turns out to be true, because it means they’ll have to buy new, special headphones for the occasion.
And the mutterings won’t go away – an iPhone jailbreaker found a reference in the iOS 9.3 beta software which says “Headphones.have.%sinput.NO.”, which is obviously irrefutable proof that Apple are doing away with the usual socket. Obviously.
Please note, ‘irrefutable’ was used sarcastically in the previous paragraph, and shouldn’t be read literally. It could be spot-on though, which means Bluetooth headphones or special ones that work with the Lightning port, would be needed to listen to music through your iPhone. Handily enough, Apple own Beats, who make headphones.
Of course, there’s a lot of complaints about this, and even an online petition (which as we know, fixes everything), but obviously, Apple are rather good at keeping things secret, so we’ll have to wait until we’re closer to the release of the new iPhone, before we get a proper idea of what’s going on.
Skype are introducing a new security feature that, by default, will hide your IP address, so you don’t get trolled and whatnot. It seems the company have brought this into being, mainly to protect gamers who get ragged by people they’ve played online.
They said that they are going to start hiding users’ IP addresses by default in the latest update, in a bid to keep users that little bit safer.
If you’re not a gamer, you won’t know about the DDoS attacks that some do on others, just because they’re angry about the result of a game. While you make think these people are massive softarses, Skype are right to look into this, because gaming is big, big business.
Without someone’s IP address, launching a DDoS attack is just that bit harder.
If you want to hide your IP address on Skype, here’s how you do it: Make sure you’ve updated to the latest version of the app, by going on the desktop version, then go to ‘Help’, then ‘Check for Updates’. On mobile, you’ll update it through the app store like you would normally.
Once that’s done, your IP address will be hidden by default, which is just dandy.
Whether you like it or not, emoji are here to stay, and as more and more people use them, more emoji will be unleashed onto the phones of the world. Even your elderly mum is using them, putting the ‘crying laughing’ face after messages about your dad farting in his sleep.
The newest emoji that are coming our way include bacon, and as anyone knows, bacon is internet gold.
Unicode 2016 batch has loads of new additions, including a murderous looking clown, a shark, crossed fingers, a bald eagle, a croissant, and loads more.
These should be released some time over summer, so you’re going to have to wait (or use words) until then, at which point, you’ll be able to tweet some champagne flutes and a nauseated face, for when you’ve been living it up too keenly.
Here’s the full run-down of emoji contenders for this year (sadly, there’s no genitalia as yet): Pan Of Food, Dribbling Face, Tumbler, a Prawn, squid, Left-Facing Fist, Clown Face, Rolling On The Floor Laughing, Back Of Hand, Cowboy Hat Face, Lying Face, Nauseated Face, Cucumber, Black Heart, Mother Christmas, a Scooter, a Wilting Flower, Potato, Right-Facing Fist, Bacon, Avocado, Motor Scooter, Duck, and Handshake.
Oh, and there’s loads, loads more: Shrug, Shark, Octagonal Sign, Fox Face, Carrot, Eagle, Man In Tuxedo, Croissant, Pregnant Lady, Face Palm, Owl, Dancing Man, Bat, Boxing Glove, Wrestlers, Handball, Salad, Juggling, Shopping Trolley, Spoon, Egg, Football Nets, Third Place Medal, Lizard, First Place Medal, Drum With Drumsticks, Sneezing Face, Someone Fencing, Flatbread, Water Polo, Second Place Medal, Glass of Milk, Deer, Butterfly, Canoe, Pancakes, Gorilla, Rhinoceros, and a rifle.
You want more? You got it: Modern Pentathlon, a Martial Arts Uniform, Baguette, Person Doing a Cartwheel, Peanuts, Prince, Selfie, Clinking Glasses, Call Me Hand, Hand With Index, and Middle Fingers Crossed.
So there you go. Well done if you read all that. That ‘third placed medal’ is going to be used almost entirely for shady purposes, we predict.