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Industry & Technology

Switch dominates a great year for game consoles in 2018

Ars Technica - 4 hours 51 min ago

Enlarge / Super Smash Bros. Ultimate helped propel the Nintendo Switch to a great December amid an even better 2018 in the US.

A year ago, we highlighted industry analysis firm NPD's data to show that worries about the impending death of the console gaming industry were way overblown. One year later, NPD's annual sales estimates for 2018 show the US console business is doing even better, thanks in large part to the continued success of the Nintendo Switch.

NPD reports that the Switch was the best-selling system in the US for 2018 in terms of both unit sales and total hardware revenue. That said, the system didn't quite rise to the sales level the PS4 hit in 2015, its extremely strong second full year on store shelves.

December in particular was a banner month for Nintendo's portable/TV hybrid, though. You need to go back to the height of Nintendo Wii mania to find a month where any console made more hardware revenue (December 2009) or sold more units (December 2010) in the US.

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Meizu Zero minimalist phone has no buttons, no ports - CNET - News - 5 hours 29 sec ago
Charging and data transfers are all done wirelessly and the screen is also the speaker.

US asks Canada to turn over Huawei’s CFO on alleged sanctions violations

Ars Technica - 5 hours 1 min ago

Enlarge / Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., left, leaves her home under the supervision of security in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (credit: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The United States government said Tuesday that it is seeking the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou from Canada. In addition to being the chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

Meng was arrested last month on charges that the Chinese telecom giant and affiliated companies have been doing business in Iran in violation of US sanctions laws—and that Meng had been directly involved in covering up Huawei's Iran dealings.

Meng sits on the board of a Huawei partner company called Skycom Tech that US and Canadian authorities have accused of doing business with Iran. "In late 2010, Skycom’s office in Tehran offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros worth of HP gear" to a major Iranian telecommunications provider, Reuters reported in 2013.

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New Shepard makes 10th launch as Blue Origin aims to fly humans late in 2019

Ars Technica - 5 hours 7 min ago

Enlarge / The New Shepard launch system is prepared for Wednesday morning's flight. (credit: Blue Origin)

Under clear West Texas skies on Wednesday morning, Blue Origin's autonomous New Shepard launch system made what appeared to be a flawless flight into space and back. After separating from its booster, the spacecraft ascended to a height of 106.9km before returning to Earth by parachute. The booster also made a nominal powered landing.

For Blue Origin, the company's first flight of its reusable New Shepard system in more than six months served a dual purpose. It provided additional test data for the launch system as the company moves closer to crewed flights, and the launch allowed the company to fly eight NASA-sponsored research and technology payloads into space through NASA’s Flight Opportunities program.

During the webcast, Blue Origin's head of sales, Ariane Cornell, said the company was "aiming" to conduct human flights on board New Shepard before the end of 2019 but stressed that Blue Origin would not compromise on safety to meet any arbitrary dates. The company has yet to begin selling tickets for the six-person capsule or set a price for the 11-minute experience that will take passengers above the Kármán line and provide a few minutes of weightlessness.

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Daily Mail demands browser warning U-turn

BBC Technology News - 5 hours 11 min ago
A built-in tool in Microsoft's Edge app says the Daily Mail's journalism is often inaccurate.

Senior ministers asked: So, are we going to ban Huawei or what?

The Register - 5 hours 21 min ago
All our Five Eyes mates have shown them the door

The British government has been asked to confirm that national telecommunications infrastructure is secure amid growing concerns about Chinese supplier Huawei.…

Boeing's autonomous flying taxi completes its first flight - Roadshow - News - 5 hours 29 min ago
The inaugural trip focused on takeoff and landing, but there's more on the horizon.

Emergency declared near Portland for measles outbreak in anti-vaccine hotspot

Ars Technica - 5 hours 32 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Joe Amon)

Health officials in Clark County, Washington, have declared a public health emergency for a measles outbreak in an area with a high rate of unvaccinated children.

As of Tuesday January 22, officials tallied 23 confirmed cases in the county, which is just north of Portland, Oregon. The case count rose rapidly, more than doubling since last week, and will likely continue to rise amid low vaccination levels in the area.

Nearly eight percent of children in Clark County were exempt from standard vaccination for the 2017-2018 school year, according to state records reported by The Washington Post. Breaking down that eight percent, about seven percent of kids had personal or religious exemptions, and the remaining one percent or so had medical exemptions. Factoring in the rest of the population, the county is below the 92-percent to 94-percent range some experts consider required to prevent the spread of highly contagious diseases such as measles.

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2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S first drive review: The complete package - Roadshow - Reviews - 5 hours 38 min ago
Straight out of the gate, Porsche's new 911 is at the top of its game.

Get two years of nearly unlimited cloud backup for just $24.50 - CNET - News - 5 hours 43 min ago
iDrive's latest deal scores you 10TB of space for your computers and mobile devices. Plus: A third-gen Echo Dot for $20.99?! Yes, with a small catch.

Nothing 'unites teams' like a good relocation, eh Vodafone?

The Register - 5 hours 56 min ago
Cost-cutting effort to see sites close, staffers shifted

Vodafone is rationalising real estate in the UK to cut costs and – in its words – "unite teams", with the lion's share of its Technology heads to be based at Newbury HQ. Redundancies seem inevitable as staff will be asked to relocate, in some cases, hundreds of miles.…

Take this Google quiz to see if you can spot phishing emails - CNET - News - 6 hours 13 min ago
I got five correct out of eight.

Honda teases twee EV prototype for Geneva Motor Show - Roadshow - News - 6 hours 17 min ago
It's really, definitely happening, and that's cause for celebration.

Oracle accused of underpaying women, minorities by $400 million - CNET - News - 6 hours 17 min ago
Labor Department says the company "channeled" women and people of color into lower-paying careers at the software maker.

YouTube TV comes to 95 more US markets in time for the Super Bowl - CNET - News - 6 hours 24 min ago
Formerly restricted to 100 TV markets across the country, the live TV service will soon be available everywhere.

Nationwide UK court IT failure farce 'not the result of a cyber attack' – Justice Ministry

The Register - 6 hours 31 min ago
Incompetence or malice? Pick one

The Ministry of Justice has said a data centre outage was responsible for the widespread collapse of the UK's civil and criminal court IT infrastructure over the past few days.…

Google Hangouts to start heading into the sunset in October - CNET - News - 6 hours 35 min ago
Chat and Meet will take its place.

Pentagon cloud contract sueball: Oh no, Oracle doesn't need those docs, AWS tells court

The Register - 7 hours 6 min ago
Urges it to chuck Big Red's request to depose former Pentagon staffers, too

Oracle's lawsuit over the Pentagon's $10bn cloud contract is cherry-picked "spin", AWS has said in a submission (PDF) aiming to stop Big Red accessing internal documents and deposing two former government staffers.…

Save 30 percent on these wired Lightning headphones - CNET - News - 7 hours 22 min ago
Thore's in-ear and over-the-ear models start at just $21.

15-inch, 4K OLED laptops are coming thanks to new displays from Samsung

Ars Technica - 7 hours 22 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Samsung Display)

Larger OLED laptop screens are coming sooner than we anticipated. Samsung Displays announced that it has made a 15.6-inch 4K laptop display and will begin producing the panels next month. The company plans to provide them to other manufacturers to put into their premium notebooks.

"Samsung's 15.6-inch OLED offers a display solution that is optimized for portable IT devices such as overwhelming HDR, excellent color reproduction and high outdoor visibility," Samsung Display Marketing Director Yoon Jae-nam said in the announcement. "Consumers will enjoy a higher level of visual experience through OLED notebooks."

Samsung's 15.6-inch display has a brightness range of 0.0005 to 600 nits, and its spectrum of 34 million colors is double that of similar, 15-inch LCD panels. Samsung claims that its panel can produce blacks that are 200 times darker than those of LCD panels, and whites will be more than twice as bright. These attributes contribute to the HDR capabilities of the panel, and the company claims that the panel passes VESA's new DisplayHDR TrueBlack standard.

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