Ben Lovejoy

@benlovejoy

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.

Today

GOOG: 775.01

-6.55
Stock Chart

There seems no end in sight to Samsung’s troubles with the Galaxy Note 7. Just days after reports that replacement devices were experiencing high battery drain and slow charging, the WSJ says the company is investigating complaints that some replacement units are overheating.

In several cases reported in the U.S. and in South Korea, consumers who received a replacement smartphone said that the new device was too hot to place next to the ear during a phone call.

Samsung claims that the issue ‘does not pose a safety concern,’ but news that exploding phones have now been followed by exploding Samsung washing-machines certainly won’t be helping consumer confidence in the brand …

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Yesterday

GOOG: 781.56

-1.45
Stock Chart

BlackBerry’s move from its own smartphone platform to Android doesn’t seem to have done it much good. A few months after the Android-powered Priv suffered from both slow sales and high return rates, the company has announced that it is quitting the hardware business altogether.

Re/code reports that the company made the announcement as it recorded a net loss of $372M …

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Samsung is celebrating the first anniversary of its Samsung Pay mobile wallet service by offering the chance to win one of 365 Gear S2 smartwatches in a $100,000 giveaway. The Gear S2 currently offers beta support for Samsung Pay …

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9to5mac 

September 27

GOOG: 783.01

8.80
Stock Chart

Today’s Google Doodle has the company celebrating its 18th birthday – old enough to almost buy beer in its home state of California. But perhaps the company has already been drinking, because as the Telegraph notes, it doesn’t quite seem to be able to remember its own birthdate …

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Xiaomi has announced a high-end version of its popular Mi 5 smartphone, the Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus. The new models are very much geared to going head-to-head with Apple’s new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, with very similar specs and form-factor. We first heard it was on the way back in June.

The Mi 5s offers a 12MP camera using a Sony 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor for the same large pixels we’ve already seen on the Nexus 6P and HTC 10. There’s a wide aperture f/2 lens, and a dual-tone flash for more accurate colors for both outdoor and indoor shots. Video is 4K at 60fps. The Mi5s Plus goes one better with a dual-camera setup similar to that used by Huawei and Apple, though Xiaomi has opted for a combination of color and black-and-white sensors rather than a wide-angle and telephoto lens.

The most advanced new feature is an ultrasonic fingerprint reader embedded into the display …

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If you love watching YouTube videos on the move but hate large data bills, Google has good news for you: it is introducing YouTube Go, an app specifically designed to minimize mobile data usage.

The bad news is that YouTube Go will initially be available only in India, but the company has said that it will be rolled out to other countries later, and hinted that both the U.S. and Europe are on the list.

The app seems pretty clever, offering four separate ways to reduce mobile data usage …

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9to5toys 

September 26

GOOG: 774.21

-12.69
Stock Chart

Tonight’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is likely to be the most-watched presidential debate in history. A little background:

The first debate for the 1960 election drew over 66 million viewers out of a population of 179 million, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history. The 1980 debates drew 80 million viewers out of a 226 million. Recent debates have drawn decidedly smaller audiences, ranging from 46 million for the first 2000 debate to a high of over 67 million for the first debate in 2012.

There’s no shortage of ways to watch the debate, whether that’s on broadcast TV, Apple TV, Mac, iPad or iPhone – here are just a few of them …

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September 22

GOOG: 787.21

10.99
Stock Chart

September 19

GOOG: 765.70

-3.18
Stock Chart

The root cause of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explosions and fires that forced the company to recall all 2.5 million devices sold was the company rushing to market ahead of the iPhone 7 launch, claim Bloomberg sources. Based on reports that the iPhone 7 would be a ‘dull’ upgrade, the company decided to take advantage by bringing forward its own launch.

The top brass at Samsung Electronics, including phone chief D.J. Koh, decided to accelerate the launch of a new phone they were confident would dazzle consumers and capitalize on the opportunity, according to people familiar with the matter. They pushed suppliers to meet tighter deadlines, despite loads of new features, another person with direct knowledge said. The Note 7 would have a high-resolution screen that wraps around the edges, iris-recognition security and a more powerful, faster-charging battery. Apple’s taunts that Samsung was a copycat would be silenced for good.

The move backfired in the most literal sense, and may ironically have contributed to the iPhone 7 selling better than expected …

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electrek 

September 16

GOOG: 768.88

-2.88
Stock Chart

The president of Samsung Electronics America has issued a video apology for the fires and explosions the Galaxy Note 7 devices, stating that the company has so far replaced 130,000 of the 2.5M faulty devices worldwide. Tim Baxter also emphasized the importance of powering down devices until they have been replaced.

If you have not yet replaced your original Note 7, please, please, power it down and return it.

This follows data suggesting that owners were continuing to use faulty devices. Baxter said that replacement phones will be available no later than 21st September.

However, while Samsung said that it is working closely with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the commission itself strongly criticized Samsung’s handling of the recall …

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September 15

GOOG: 771.76

9.27
Stock Chart

Millions have been hit by a Gmail outage, with the U.S. and UK the main countries affected. Users reported getting a ‘service not available’ message. Google said that the outage was limited to those using Google for Work, with Google Chat also hit.

Google first acknowledged the issue at 8.16am PT yesterday, with service restored for ‘some’ users around 90 minutes later. The company then issued a series of updates to its status page, indicating that service was gradually being restored to increasing numbers of users …

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September 14

GOOG: 762.49

2.80
Stock Chart
9to5mac 

September 6

GOOG: 780.08

8.62
Stock Chart

September 2

GOOG: 771.46

2.68
Stock Chart

Samsung has suspended sales of its newly-launched top-end Galaxy Note 7 after numerous reports of the devices catching fire or exploding. It had earlier ‘paused’ shipments. Today’s planned launch of the device in the UK and other countries has been abandoned.

The issue is a huge one for Samsung, both in PR and logistical terms. Altogether, the company has manufactured 2.5M of the devices, of which 1M have been sold.

Samsung issued a brief statement saying that a ‘thorough investigation’ into the fires had revealed that faulty batteries were responsible. It said that it is carrying out a ‘voluntary’ recall of existing devices …

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August 26

GOOG: 769.54

0.13
Stock Chart

A report in The Information cited by Gizmodo says that Google Fiber take-up has fallen well short of the company’s expectations, and that the company is slashing its workforce in response and seeking to dramatically cut costs.

Fiber executives had ambitious hopes of signing up around 5 million subscribers in five years, said a person close to Google’s parent, Alphabet. But by the end of 2014, more than two years after service began, Google had only signed up around 200,000 broadband subscribers, said a former employee. The current number isn’t known, but it’s still well short of initial expectations, said another person close to Alphabet […]

Last month, Alphabet CEO Larry Page ordered Google Fiber’s chief, Craig Barratt, to halve the size of the Google Fiber team to 500 people, said the second person close to Alphabet … 

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9to5toys 

August 25

GOOG: 769.41

-0.23
Stock Chart

Samsung first announced its Pink Gold version of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge back in April, but the color was then exclusive to Korea. The company is now bringing it to the U.S. as of Sunday, but only at Best Buy …  expand full story

electrek 

August 24

GOOG: 769.64

-2.44
Stock Chart

VPN services can increase the security of your net connections when using public WiFi hotspots, as well as sometimes allow you to appear to be in a different country when accessing geo-limited services, but they usually cost money. Opera has today launched Free VPN, which is both free and unlimited …

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August 23

GOOG: 772.08

-0.07
Stock Chart

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