Ben Lovejoy


Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer who started his career on PC World and has written for dozens of computer and technology magazines, as well as numerous national newspapers, business and in-flight magazines. He has also written two novels.

He thinks wires are evil and had a custom desk made to hide them, known as the OC Desk for obvious reasons.

He considers 1000 miles a good distance for a cycle ride, and Chernobyl a suitable tourist destination. What can we say, he’s that kind of chap.

He speaks fluent English but only broken American, so please forgive any Anglicised spelling in his posts.


GOOG: 745.91

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The latest market share stats from Strategy Analytics show that Samsung strengthened its lead in the global smartphone market, increasing its market share from 21.3% in Q2 2015 to 22.8% the same quarter this year. The company’s total worldwide sales for the quarter were 77.6M handsets.

Second-placed Apple saw its own market share slip from 14.1% to 11.9%, with a total of 40.4M sales. Xiaomi also dropped significantly, from 5.9% to 4.3%, while Huawei saw a slight rise to 9.4%.

The big winner in terms of growth, however, was Chinese maker Oppo …

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Samsung’s Q2 earnings report show that the company enjoyed its most profitable quarter in two years, building on the progress it made in the first quarter of the year. Year-on-year revenue was up 5% at 50.94T won ($45.2B), with profit up 18% to 8.14T won ($7.2B). The company credited strong sales of its flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 edge for the turnaround, with the edge model accounting for more than half of S7 sales.

The company believes the launch of the Galaxy Note 7 will help it maintain momentum into Q3, saying that it expects total smartphone sales to increase, though it does acknowledge that it won’t all be smooth sailing, with a veiled reference to Apple’s new iPhone launch this September …

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July 26

GOOG: 738.42

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The default option for Google’s two-factor authentication (2FA) is to have a code sent to you via SMS. The US National Institute for Standards and Technology, which sets the standards for authentication software, says that text messaging is not sufficiently secure, and that its use for two-factor authentication will in future be barred …

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July 25

GOOG: 739.77

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Ford announced back in January that all 2017 models would offer Android Auto compatibility through its Sync 3 infotainment system, and the company has today confirmed that this applies across its full range of vehicles: cars, SUVs, light trucks and electrified vehicles. You will, of course, have to purchase Sync 3 as an option if it is not included as standard in your chosen vehicle.

The first 2017 models are already on sale at dealerships, including the Escape, Fusion, Mustang and Explorer, with others due later this year. In addition, the company has promised to bring Android Auto to 2016 models equipped with Sync 3, though the wording – ‘opportunity to upgrade’ – sounds like you’ll have to pay for the privilege …

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July 22

GOOG: 742.74

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Google last year took the title of world’s favorite company from Apple, but this year has lost out heavily – potentially on a technicality.

Each year, FutureBrand looks at the world’s 100 largest companies and asks 3,000 consumers and industry professionals to score them on a range of factors, and to explain how they feel about their preferred companies. However, with Google’s reorganization, only parent company Alphabet is big enough to make it onto the top 100 shortlist – as CNET notes, Google itself doesn’t qualify.

As for Alphabet, that only managed 21st place, likely due to not having the same brand awareness as Google. There was also more difficulty in attributing specific qualities to such a diverse company – as evidenced by the feelings respondents had toward the company …

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July 20

GOOG: 741.19

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In its Android Developer’s blog, Google has explained that the company has boosted the system integrity protection in Android Nougat to prevent a compromised phone booting, or only allow it to boot in a limited capacity. This is a step up from Android Marshmallow, which carries out this check, but merely warns users and allows them to continue with the boot if they wish.

The good news, then, is that your phone will refuse to boot if infected with some types of malware, protecting your data. The bad news, says Google, is that some non-malicious data corruption may also result in a phone that won’t boot …

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July 19

GOOG: 736.96

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Google’s latest Transparency Report, in which it discloses statistical data on government and court requests for user data, show that the number of requests continues to climb, up 18% on the preceding six months. Google’s compliance – the percentage of time where it hands over at least some data – is holding steady at around 64%.

The law requires companies to delay their reporting by six months, so the latest data is for the second half of 2015, where 40,677 requests were received relating to 81,311 accounts. The greatest number of requests came from the U.S. government, followed by Germany, France, the UK, India, Singapore and Australia.

For requests relating to national security, Google has to be much more vague in the information it is permitted to share …

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July 18

GOOG: 733.78

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Good news for Pokémon Go fans in Canada: the game has officially rolled out to the country. Bad news for fans of the game everywhere: the extra load seems to have killed the servers again.

Niantic made the Canadian announcement on Twitter and on the game’s official Facebook page, but so far the company hasn’t responded to complaints that users are again unable to login. It did acknowledge the server problems experienced over the weekend …

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ARM, the British chip designer responsible for the processors in loads of mobile devices, looks set to be bought by Japanese telecoms company Softbank.

The deal will need to be approved by shareholders, but with ARM recommending it and a valuation 43% above last week’s closing price, it looks likely to go through. It is, however, possible that other companies may make their own bid for the company.

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July 8

GOOG: 705.63

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Facebook Messenger is the latest app to adopt end-to-end encryption for its chats, ensuring that conversations cannot be accessed even by Facebook. It’s just in testing so far, but the company says that it will be made available more widely in the course of the summer.

We are starting to test the ability to create one-to-one secret conversations in Messenger that will be end-to-end encrypted and which can only be read on one device of the person you’re communicating with. That means the messages are intended just for you and the other person — not anyone else, including us.

While Apple uses end-to-end encryption as standard for both iMessages and FaceTime, and WhatsApp followed suit in April, Facebook is taking a slightly different approach …

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July 5

GOOG: 694.49

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When you need a spacecraft to fire its rocket for 35 minutes some five years after it left Earth, there has to be an anxious moment or two wondering whether it will work – all the more so when it’s been subjected to a radiation dose equivalent to a million dental x-rays. But NASA’s Juno probe performed perfectly, and Google is celebrating the fact with an animated Doodle

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Android malware known as HummingBad has so far infected 85M devices, putting data at risk, installing further malware and displaying ads sold by the Chinese company controlling it. The claims appear in a blog post by CheckPoint, the security company that first detected the malware.

The group tries to root thousands of devices every day and is successful in hundreds of attempts. With these devices, a group can create a botnet, carry out targeted attacks on businesses or government agencies, and even sell the access to other cybercriminals on the black market. Any data on these devices is at risk, including enterprise data on those devices that serve dual personal and work purposes for end users …

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July 1

GOOG: 699.21

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If you live or work in NYC, you may have already seen the LinkNYC kiosks that offer free gigabit WiFi access, USB charging ports and more, funded by the ads they display on the embedded screens. But Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs believes they can do much more.

According to documents obtained by Re/code, Sidewalk Labs wants to embed into the kiosks a whole range of sensors designed to improve safety and quality of life …

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June 29

GOOG: 684.11

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If you’re an Amazon Prime member in the market for a low-cost unlocked Android phone, the company is offering $50 off the full retail price of two models. The budget BLU R1 HD, normally $99.99, is available for $49.99, while the 4th-gen version of the popular Moto G is down from $199.99 to $149.99.

Each phone is offered unlocked, with no commitment to a contract, giving Prime members the flexibility to switch between wireless carriers and service options to best fit their needs. The BLU R1 HD and Moto G feature Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Google Mobile Services, including Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play … 

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Google has been rolling out more and more instant answers – where the search-engine provides the answer immediately, rather than requiring you to click on an external link. Just yesterday it added song lyrics, and it now appears to be testing a built-in Internet speed test …

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June 28

GOOG: 680.04

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Noise-cancelling headphones are great when you just want to eliminate all outside noise, as you might on board a plane, but there are times when you want to be able to block most outside noise, but not all. Being able to hear car engines while cycling, or announcements while on a train, for example. That’s what the Here One wireless earbuds are designed to do.

The company says it uses smart noise filters to provide what it calls ‘layered listening.’

Control the volume of streamed audio and ambient sound simultaneously. Safely listen to music while riding your bike, or access live commentary at a game while still experiencing the cheering crowd. Unlike normal headphones, Here One doesn’t isolate you from the world […]

Selectively filter out an airplane engine, office chatter, a siren, and more. Amplify speech to tune into every word at a crowded restaurant or party … 

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If you’ve ever Googled for song lyrics, you know what a messy experience it can be – half the sites proving to be just links to other sites, others looking really sketchy. For those in the US, though, things should be much simpler. Google has licensed lyrics from LyricFind, which in turn licenses them from labels, so that a search for a song title with ‘lyrics’ on the end should generate an immediate link.

Of course, Google is arriving rather late to the party …

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The European Union has already filed two sets of antitrust charges against Google, the first accusing it of manipulating search results to favor its own products, the second alleging that Google forces Android device manufacturers to install its own apps and set Google search as the default.

Last summer, it was reported that the company may face a third antitrust case in Europe, this time for abusing its dominant position in advertising, and the WSJ reports that the EU is currently preparing to files these charges, possibly next month …

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June 24

GOOG: 675.22

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Google Trends tells the story of the result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Trending searches include a 500% spike in ‘buy gold,’ a doubling in searches on getting an Irish passport and some people apparently wondering what just happened …

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