Android 9 Pie: there is a name and official download

Google has long been hinting Android’s next version, and some beta versions have even been released. As the final release approaches, we found out that Android P stands for Android Pie, the ninth version of the OS for phones. The name has finally been unveiled, and it is a dessert, just like all the others. This time, Google has focused on AI, as we have known for weeks given its new features.

Android 9 Pie is Google’s new OS. The Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL will officially ship with Android Pie, and we will see the OS slowly but surely in other smartphones other than the Pixel lineup. Meanwhile, the new Nexus phones can now download the official version instead of the beta versions that have been available for the past few weeks. As we already knew, Android 9 Pie has new features like Adaptive Battery, which prioritizes the apps’ resource consumption in order to cleverly save power, and Adaptive Brightness.

Continue reading Android 9 Pie: there is a name and official download

WhatsApp is banning iPhone users for using modified versions of the app

WhatsApp has spoken up against the modified versions of its app on several occasions. The banning issues have always been restricted to Android, as it is so much easier to find and install third-party apps on it. However, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s company is banning iPhone users who run modified versions of WhatsApp, so beware.

WABetaInfo, the main source of information about WhatsApp, informs that users are being banned for using modified versions of the app. It recommends users with modified versions to immediately go to the App Store and download the official version to avoid any issues. We have to bear in mind that phone numbers are banned in WhatsApp’s case, so reverting the situation is much more complicated than in services linked to email addresses or a usernames, for example. Continue reading WhatsApp is banning iPhone users for using modified versions of the app

Some manufacturers are switching back to DDR3 instead of sticking to DDR4

The price of RAM memory has been rising steadily for the past year. Although it is expected to drop a little in the short term, device manufacturers have started to take actions. While the price of DDR4 has increased, the price of DDR3 has remained stable, therefore making it the dominant memory.

TV manufacturers are switching back to DDR3

Price is not the only factor, as a lot of processors launched in recent years are compatible with DDR3 and DDR4, prompting manufacturers to go for the cheaper option given that performance is not impacted in certain cases.

This is happening a lot in the TV sector, as it is the most RAM-demanding sector with shipments estimated to reach 215.7 million units in 2018. More than 70% of theses TVs use SoCs in the SiP (system-in-package) format that integrates RAM. The format is used in Full HD and affordable 4K TVs. Also, the SiP format is cheaper to manufacture, takes up less space and only supports DDR3 because of its temperature limitation. Continue reading Some manufacturers are switching back to DDR3 instead of sticking to DDR4

The EU to study imposing a common USB mobile phone charger

Last February, we reported that the EU was beginning to consider using the power it received in 2014 to force phone manufacturers to use a common charger for every phone sold in Europe. Now, EU regulators have announced they are studying forcing manufacturers to do just that.

USB Type-C, microUSB, and Lightning: the EU says “no more division”

Phones we can buy on stores currently come with one of three different connectors: USB Type-C, microUSB, and Apple’s Lightning. Despite the fact that the market should be moving towards embracing USB Type-C entirely, brands like Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and Nokia keep releasing phones with microUSB in 2018. As for Apple, it refuses to give up its proprietary connector.

According to Margrethe Vestager, EU regulators will study whether they have to force manufacturers to launch a common phone charger given that manufacturers do not seem to be making that decision on their own. The European Commission has been pushing for a common charger for nearly a decade. It has been partially done with microUSB as opposed to USB Type-C, which is yet to be fully featured on every phone range despite being available for three years.

In fact, Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia signed a voluntary memorandum in 2009, agreeing to harmonize chargers for new models coming in 2011. Some of the companies subsequently signed letters of intent in 2013 and 2014 after the memorandum expired in 2012, although it was not necessary anymore because the goal of using the same connector was met: microUSB was chosen after years of different proprietary connectors. Continue reading The EU to study imposing a common USB mobile phone charger

GameFly shuts down game streaming service after being bought by EA

Earlier this year, Electronic Arts (commonly known as EA) acquired GameFly, a streaming platform where gamers could rent over 8,000 games to play remotely. Now after the launch of Origin Access Premier and according to Variety, GameFly could shut down the streaming service later this month.

Founded 15 years ago, in 2002, GameFly started out as a video game rental service that mailed video game discs for a monthly fee. It was in 2015, after acquiring Shacknews and MobyGames, when the company started offering that “service update” by switching to a cloud streaming service.

So this year, the Israel-based team joined EA’s functional teams, including the central technology organization that is responsible for developing and operating Origin, the cutting-edge platform that powers EA’s leading games and services. Continue reading GameFly shuts down game streaming service after being bought by EA

Intel’s 10 nm process is not feasible, it could switch to a 12 nm one

Our regular readers know that Intel is having serious issues with the 10 nm process. When the first-gen Core processors came out, Intel adopted a strategy known as “tick tock”, a shrinking of the manufacturing process every two years.

This system would introduce major advances in terms of performance, power consumption and operating temperatures. However, the fact that Intel gave up soldering the IHS had very negative consequences, so the processor temperature did not improve despite the constant size reduction. To understand the situation, we just have to go back to the moment when the change happened: when Ivy Bridge was launched.

Sandy Bridge processors are fabricated on a 32 nm process and Ivy Bridge processors on a 22 nm process. However, Ivy Bridge processors had really high temperatures that were even worse than those of the previous generation. This was a direct consequence of giving up the Sandy Bridge processors’ soldering, which was replaced by thermal paste on Ivy Bridge processors. Continue reading Intel’s 10 nm process is not feasible, it could switch to a 12 nm one

Smartphone prices will keep rising steadily

Smartphones are facing a highly complicated moment that certainly makes us think. As of today, smartphones are the most popular devices on the consumer market, an outstanding achievement that would have seemed impossible a few years ago.

Smartphones are generally easy to use and offer a lot of features. Besides, they have really affordable starting prices. The arrival of new manufactures onto the market and the rise of Chinese brands have shaped a very competitive sector, benefitting consumers.

We can currently find smartphones with a lot of features for reasonable prices, but high-end models have shown a clear tendency: they are increasingly expensive. This is something that major analysts say will remain the same in the short and mid term, but the situation could also extend to mid-end models.

What is happening?

The first thing to take into account when talking about prices is the cost of the materials. A phone is made of a series of components like the SoC, RAM memory, display, cameras, and the NAND flash memory that works as the storage system.

Well, the cost of a lot of the components is rising significantly, affecting the cost that vendors have to cover, which in turn impacts consumers. DRAM memory is the most perfect example, as it has gotten alarmingly expensive in recent months. OLED panels have experienced the same after Apple released the iPhone X.

If the price of components keeps rising, especially for those in high-end phones, then it is evident that those phones will be increasingly more expensive, although this is not the only reason to bear in mind. Continue reading Smartphone prices will keep rising steadily

No, pirate sites are not the main source of malware

Those who know a bit of how the internet really works also are ware there is a disinformation campaign surrounding piracy. We are not talking about condoning downloading and/or using illegal content but about the myth saying “one download, one unsold copy,” which was even debunked by the European Union despite its attempts to hide the truth.

However, the alleged dip in sales is not the only argument against piracy, as some reports claim that pirate sites and pirate content streamed via Kodi are a major source of malware. This is what reports like the one published by Internet Matters, a UK non-profit group, to protect children from the online world, and Mumsnet, a UK forum for parents. Both teams published a guide titled “Internet safety and the dangers of digital piracy.”

According to the guide, “if your children stream illegal content online, also known as digital piracy, it can expose them and you to cyber threats, disturbing pop-ups and unexpected harmful content.” We certainly had to mention Kodi, as anti-piracy lobbyists have been keeping a close eye on it. “The risks typically associated with digital piracy can take place on dodgy websites and preloaded streaming devices, sometimes known as Kodi boxes, but they can also occur through any number of illegitimate apps on mobiles, tablets or smart TVs.” It is clearly known that streaming content from unofficial sources is not good if you want to remain secure. However, baseless statements like the one below can make people doubt the guide. Continue reading No, pirate sites are not the main source of malware

How to uninstall AVG on Windows 10 without facing long-term issues

In order to protect ourselves against increasingly complex threats that put our PC at risk, several antivirus software use increasingly aggressive techniques to always be one step ahead of malware execution and possible security issues, therefore keeping us safe. When we decide to uninstall our PC’s antivirus, a lot of flaws and issues come flooding in. Sometimes, those issues are impossible to solve, prompting us to restore the PC so it can go back to normal.

I recently came across a PC on which the internet connection stopped working after AVG was uninstalled. It is unclear what the AVG uninstaller did. After the program was uninstalled, the PC stopped getting the IP address via cable and Wi-Fi. After trying all kinds of settings and possible solutions, nothing worked. The only way to solve the problem was to restore the PC to its factory settings to make it go back to normal while also keeping personal files.

If there is an antivirus on the PC and we want to uninstall it (to use Windows Defender, for example), we will tell you how we can do so while minimizing the chances of something going wrong. Continue reading How to uninstall AVG on Windows 10 without facing long-term issues

H310 motherboards will support 8-core Coffee Lake processors

The first rumors about 8-core Coffee Lake processors seemed to suggest that Intel might limit the support of these new CPUs to Z370-Z390 motherboards. The idea seemed plausible for a few weeks, but today we can say it was completely tossed aside according to ASRock.

The renowned motherboard manufacturer has confirmed through an image that even the most affordable motherboards with the H310 chipset will support 8-core Coffee Lake processors seamlessly. However, it is important to bear in mind it will be impossible to use CPUs with an unlocked multiplier due to the chipset’s limitations, as those processors will still require a motherboard with a Z370 or Z390 chipset.

This is good news for users who built a Coffee Lake-based low-end PC and for users who are contemplating building a PC with Intel in mind but have a tight budget. The support for H310 motherboards certainly confirms the same support for motherboards with better chipsets including the B360 and H370. Continue reading H310 motherboards will support 8-core Coffee Lake processors