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NC50 Noise Canceling Earphones

Apple's Apology for Batterygate Didn't Go Far Enough

Apple openly admitted last week that they have been screwing with their customers for years by throttling devices with "older" batteries. Apple claimed that this was to make the device have a similar run-time as with a new battery, but the fact was, the device performance seems to get shorter every time a new device is released. It seems a bit odd that it happens like clockwork every single time. Apple in turn said that they'd sell you a new battery for your old device for only $29. By and large, this is a decent deal, but it isn't the answer I'd be looking for if a company was screwing me in order to push me to buy their latest product. Free batteries for all. Minimum.

One major difference between our proposed apology and Apple's: We suggested Apple say they were sorry and offer free battery upgrades for any consumer who wanted one. Apple saw it differently. It offered an apology but not a free battery. Instead, it is offering a new (normally priced $79.99) battery at a discount: $29.99, $50 less than usual cost. The deal is available starting in late January and running through the end of 2018 and only on iPhone 6 and 6S.

Source: USAToday

Blockbusters and Blunders in Tech from 2017

Apple had more than a few blunders in 2017 - with the latest of these being Batterygate, but they had a bit of a solid device with the Apple Watch 3. Google botched several major things with their Pixel line, but also had a bit of a winner or two as well. Alexa came into it's own this year and Facebook sucked like a fish when it comes to their VR. Overall, there are some big wins and some big losses as well.

It had to grapple with claims of poor Surface reliability and questionable design decisions, such as underpowered chargers. The Xbox One X's high price didn't do it any favors and gave the PS4 Pro another advantage. Windows 10 S was meant to offer an alternative to Chromebooks with similar security and more flexibility, but the dearth of hardware didn't exactly put Google on notice.

Source: Engadget

Samsung and LG Don't Slow Older Phones

Apple has had a lot of damage to control recently with their crappy batteries and the fact that they admitted to purposely slowing down older phones to make you buy new phones. Apple claimed that "everyone" is doing it, but Samsung and LG claim that they are not. After coming out and saying that they don't slow down their older hardware, they'd better be telling the truth. This continues to be even more bad news for Apple.

Samsung and LG’s responses come a day after The Verge reported statements from HTC and Motorola, with both companies saying they did not throttle their phones’ performance as batteries age. Taken together, the statements make it clear that Apple’s battery management practices aren’t standard industry behavior. Whether that’s because other phones don’t need this kind of performance adjustment or that’s because other companies didn’t think to do this is something we can’t say, but the broad frustration and confusion over the issue suggests Apple went too far.

Source: TheVerge

DDR4 16GB Memory Roundup

We have just posted a bit of a DDR4 memory roundup to wrap up 2017 and kick off 2018. We have kits from Crucial, Mushkin and Patriot on the bench and see how these 16GB kits stack up. We've got memory ranging from 2400MHz all the way up to 3200MHz. Take a look and see if the extra speed (and price) equates to significant performance gains as well. Check out that and more in our roundup.

As we wrap up 2017 and kick off 2018, we have a look at three new kits of memory from Crucial, Mushkin and Patriot. We are going to quickly dive in and compare this kits to the current kit powering our Core i7-5820K Quad-Channel system. It's a pretty robust system, but it's not the latest generation of CPU.

DDR4 Roundup

South Korea announces new cryptocurrency regulations

South Korea is one of the first countries to announce new regulations on cryptocurrenty, and as suspected, Bitcoin takes a ~12% plunge. I doubt this is the last country that will announce regulations and the Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies), could take a kicking as a result.

TechCrunch has the full story.

The South Korean government announced new legislation today that would put increasingly tough regulations on the country’s burgeoning cryptocurrency markets. Under the legislation, Korea, which is the third largest market for cryptocurrencies in the world after the U.S. and Japan, would ban anonymous accounts and continually monitor crypto exchanges.

Perhaps more ominously, the Wall Street Journal reported as well that the Ministry of Justice is considering unilaterally closing all crypto exchanges in the country, although didn’t provide any detailed guidance or timelines on when such a policy might be enacted.

The news slammed cryptocurrency prices. Bitcoin was hit about 12%, dropping from around $15,500 to eventually hitting a bottom of $13611, according to Coindesk. Ethereum was hit about 8% in the aftermath of the news.

Tech Report Cards

As the end of the year draws near, the big announcements have stopped and everyone is looking back at the year that was 2017.

The guys over at The Verge take a look at some of the biggest names in tech and give them a grade. Spoiler: Nintendo did good, Uber is going to need their parents to come in and meet with the principal.

2017 has been a tough year for most people, and tech companies were not spared. Most companies found themselves grappling with moral, cultural, and political responsibilities, such as fighting the spread of fake news and advertisements and correcting toxic corporate cultures. Others found runaway success with a viral release of a much needed, innovative product. So, how did giants like Facebook, Google, Nintendo, Uber, Tesla, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, and more do compared to last year? Find out as we take a look back in our 2017 tech report cards, compiled by The Verge staff.

Apple says sorry

Apple must have been really feeling the heat as they apologized yesterday for slowing down your older phones because of degrading batteries. As a token of their extreme amount of sorriness, they're offering $29 battery replacements to make it all better (down from $79). 

Personally, I don't think this cuts it, and I don't think people are going to give Apple a pass on this one. It would have been one thing if they'd told people why their phones were running slower and offered a solution (replace your battery), but I think it'll be a tough pill to swallow for some as Apple didn't say anything until they'd been caught. Maybe I'm just grumpy...

CNBC has more on the big apology from Apple.

"We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There's been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we're making. First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that."

 

Microsoft year in review

Microsoft is one of those companies that gives us a bunch of material every year for our podcast, WeeklyTechUpdate. While Microsoft does hit some home runs, they also strike out and make some pretty odd calls every once and a while. 2017 was no exception and the folks over at PCWorld take a look back at the best and worst of Microsoft last year.

Microsoft’s 2017 may as well be known as the year the company turned away from the consumer and, sadly, back toward the enterprise. 

This past year was notable for two casualties: Microsoft’s phone business finally died, as did Groove Music, the music subscription service that Microsoft abandoned in favor of Spotify. In fact, you could argue that Microsoft’s software and services didn’t succeed nearly as well as its hardware, where a new generation of Surfaces and Xbox One consoles were generally well received.

HTC and Motorola pile on

As Apple hopes that people forget about them slowing down older phones because of "battery issues", HTC and Motorola both happily have piled on and said that they don't slow down their older phones like Apple does. I'm sure Apple is very happy that their competitors are taking a chance to kick them while they're down. The Verge has the full story.

I can't be the only one who thinks this story about Apple throttling devices is far from over?

HTC and Motorola say they don’t throttle their phones’ processor speeds as their batteries age, something Apple last week acknowledged doing to prevent errors after iPhone owners documented slowdowns. In emails to The Verge, both companies said they do not employ similar practices with their smartphones. An HTC spokesperson said that designing phones to slow down their processor as their battery ages “is not something we do.” A Motorola spokesperson said, “We do not throttle CPU performance based on older batteries.”

The Verge also reached out to Google, Samsung, LG, and Sony for comment on whether their phone processors are throttled in response to aging batteries. A Sony spokesperson said a response would be delayed by the holidays, and a Samsung spokesperson said the company was looking into it.

Update: Samsung and LG also confirm they don't slow down their phones either.

Blackberry KEYone Black Edition 64GB Evaluation

We have just posted our evaluation of the Blackberry KEYone Smartphone. This phone has a full physical keyboard, some nifty hardware and software tricks and the reliable Blackberry name that many have grown to love and trust. We take a good long look at it and try and help you decide if it should be your next Smartphone. Check out the article for all the details.

This is the first Blackberry device I've used in many years, so I really hoped that it lived up to my expectations. While it certainly isn't an entry-level phone, it's not quite a flagship either in terms of performance. It falls in the super-crowded mid-range device and as such it has a lot to compete with and live up to...

KEYone Black Edition

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