What Is Net Neutrality and Why Does It Matter?

“Net neutrality” regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, are on the chopping block. The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, on Wednesday proposed undoing the Obama-era rules that have been in place since 2015.

Here’s a look at what the developments mean for consumers and companies.

What Is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, and it’s pretty much how the internet has worked since its creation. But regulators, consumer advocates and internet companies were concerned about what broadband companies could do with their power as the pathway to the internet — blocking or slowing down apps that rival their own services, for example.

What Did the Government Do About It?

The FCC in 2015 approved rules, on a party-line vote, that made sure cable and phone companies don’t manipulate traffic. With them in place, Comcast can’t charge Netflix for a faster path to its customers, or block it or slow it down. Several internet providers said they didn’t plan to do those things and Comcast said Wednesday that it supported undoing the net neutrality rules but did not “block, throttle or discriminate” against internet content.

The net neutrality rules gave the FCC power to go after companies for business practices that weren’t explicitly banned as well. For example, the Obama FCC said that “zero rating” practices by AT&T violated net neutrality. The telecom giant exempted its own video app from cellphone data caps, which would save some consumers money, and said video rivals could pay for the same treatment. Pai’s FCC spiked the effort to go after AT&T, even before it began rolling out a plan to undo the net neutrality rules entirely.

A federal appeals court upheld the rules in…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Apple Cuts Off Payments, Qualcomm Slashes Expectations

Qualcomm slashed its profit expectations Friday by as much as a third after saying that Apple is refusing to pay royalties on technology used in the iPhone.

Its shares hit a low for 2017.

Apple Inc. sued Qualcomm earlier this year, saying that the San Diego chipmaker has abused its control over essential technology and charged excessive licensing fees. Qualcomm said Friday that Apple now says it won’t pay any fees until the dispute is resolved. Apple confirmed Friday that it has suspended payments until the court can determine what is owed.

“We’ve been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms,” Apple said. “As we’ve said before, Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own.”

Qualcomm said it will continue to vigorously defend itself in order to “receive fair value for our technological contributions to the industry.”

But the effect on Qualcomm, whose shares have already slid 15 percent since the lawsuit was filed by Apple in January, was immediate.

Qualcomm now expects earnings per share between 75 and 85 cents for the April to June quarter. Its previous forecast was for earnings per share between 90 cents and $1.15.

Revenue is now expected to be between $4.8 billion and $5.6 billion, down from its previous forecast between $5.3 billion and $6.1 billion.

Shares of Qualcomm Inc. tumbled almost 4 percent at the opening bell to $51.22.
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Sony Returns to Black on Healthy Chip, Game, Battery Sales

Sony Corp. reported Friday a January-March profit of 27.7 billion yen ($250 million) on the back of healthy sales of image sensors, PlayStation 4 game software and batteries for mobile devices, marking a recovery from its red ink a year ago.

Tokyo-based Sony had an 88 billion yen loss in the same period last year, although that was a fraction of the red ink it had posted in years before as it contended with competition from rivals like Apple and Samsung in smartphones and other electronics devices.

Quarterly sales rose 4.4 percent to 1.9 trillion yen ($17 billion).

For the fiscal year through March, Sony’s profit fell 50 percent to 73.3 billion yen ($660 million) from 148 billion yen, partly because of costs related to repair of damage from a major earthquake that hit southwestern Japan in April 2016.

The quake shut down Sony’s semiconductor manufacturing facility. An unfavorable exchange rate also damaged Sony’s results.

Also hurting the annual results was the write-down Sony took earlier this year on its movie division, or what’s called “goodwill impairment,” stemming from its acquisition of Columbia Pictures in 1989.

Sony is projecting a three-fold recovery for the fiscal year through March 2018, because of the absence of quake- and movie-related costs, at 255 billion yen ($2.3 billion), although it warned currency fluctuations could hurt results.

Sony has been reshaping its business by focusing on high-end cameras and video games. It has already sold some assets, including its Vaio personal computer business. Its TV division lost money for years but has recently recovered.

In its movie business, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” released in the January-March quarter was one of its biggest successes in recent quarters, especially with the international box office. Best-selling titles for the year in its music division included Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Sia’s “This Is Acting.”
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Google Home – Review

Something is happening in your home. We’re already totally lost without the internet inside the house, and we fully expect the same connectivity out of the home too. Trouble is, we’re all turning into phone zombies. We’re staring down at our screens and there’s lots of dangerous driving going on as we attempt to use mobile phones at the wheel.

However, there’s a new way of interacting with this technology, and it’s by voice.

Although it might prove awkward for some, there’s an increasing amount of people – like myself – finding that talking to your phone is quite a freeing experience. I tend to find that it fits my thought process a bit better. As an example I can be driving home and something will pop into my head that needs doing the next day. I know that if I don’t make a note of it there and then, it’ll fall out of my head. I can’t fiddle with the phone because, well, I’m driving, so instead I just say “OK Google” and then say, “Remind me to call the bank at 8 tonight”. Boom, it’ll setup a reminder, it’ll ask me if I’d like to save it and then it’ll ping up a reminder at 8 o’clock that evening.

Google Home   Review

Here then, we have the home version, and it’s called “Google Home” too. It’s £129 from Maplin and is an intelligent hands-free smart speaker which is powered by the Google Assistant. After a very brief and simple setup you can play music, handle daily tasks, control compatible devices and get answers from Google in a similar way to your phone. Although it’ll play tunes from Google Play Music, it’ll also hook into Spotify too.

Out of the box there’s a definite familiarity to it. It has a whiff of Ikea styling to it and there’s a touch-sensitive top where you can quickly adjust the volume. It measures​ in at 96.4mm x 142.8mm and is pretty weighty at 477g, but believe me, it’s worth it. The speaker is properly good. More on that in a moment.

Google Home   Review

Don’t worry about this looking out of place either, as you can swap out the bases (above) from £18. There’s a range of colours and styles available from Google and it’s when you pull the unit out of the base that you notice the chunky 2″ driver and dual 2″ passive radiators.

Google Home   Review

There’s two microphones which will detect your voice from quite some distance away even when music is playing. They, and the Google technology behind them, even seem to understand my weird accent.

That said, you will quickly tire of saying, “OK Google, turn the volume down” or “OK Google, turn the volume down a bit more”. So instead you can use that touch-sensitive panel to change the volume to the exact setting you’re looking for. Not only that, but you can also play and pause your music or activate the listening option. Tap once to play or pause, circle your finger for volume control and long press to start a request.

Google Home   Review

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself ever-so-slightly. To be honest that’s OK though, because I’d not really thought about the install process at all. It’s ridiculously simple, and even opening the box is a little bit joyful, if I’m perfectly honest.

Google Home   Review

You plug it into the mains and download the “Google Home” app on your iPhone or Android device. It’ll guide you through the rest of the way, finding your Google Home, passing your home WiFi credentials through and finding any other devices on your WiFi. It found my Chromecast too, and you can give that a name like “Living Room TV” or something. Not only that, but I was able to add in my Google Nest home thermostat, which means that I could just say “Turn the heating up to 22 degrees” and it’ll talk to the Nest to action that.

You can also plug in a lot of services and apps. Philips Hue lighting, Wemo, TuneIn and much more are available. I started off by asking it to play music from a certain artist on Spotify. You’ll need to go through a tiny amount of pain to begin with, just basically approving your Spotify and other online accounts with the Google Home device. Once you’ve done that you’re all set.

You just say, “OK Google, play some Ed Sheeran”, and off it goes. The music will – unless you’ve specified a destination – play on the Google Home speaker itself. It is, and I’m being totally honest here, a very good quality speaker. There’s some hefty bass tones and crystal-clear top notes. It’s loud but without any vibration or distortion. Properly good this.

Google Home   Review

A good rubber foot prevents slippage

It’ll connect through to your WiFi using either 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi and can sync music across speakers that have Chromecast built in. This is really good if you want to have that whole-house music experience or want to do your daily chores and move around the place without headphones.

When you come home, Google Home will let you walk into your home and achieve so much while you’ve got your hands full. No need to put down the shopping. No need to ignore your family while you stare down at a screen. No. Imagine it.. you’ve walked in and you got everything from the shops but forgot the milk…

“OK Google, remind me to get milk tomorrow at 8AM”

“OK Google, play Radio 1 on TuneIn”

“OK Google, volume level 5”

“OK Google, what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?”

It goes from there, but you can see how much you can achieve without having to faff with your phone, and it’ll integrate with your phone too – so if you’re away from Google Home it’ll still remind you. There’s also a slightly conversational element to Google Home, and when (for example) setting reminders you’ll find that you don’t need to say, “OK Google” all the time. The Google Home unit will ask you small questions during the process and you can simply reply – no need for the keyword all the time.

Google Home   Review

My only bugbear with this is that, despite this, I still have to say, “OK Google” a lot which isn’t the most comfortable thing to say repeatedly. It also tended to activate the phone across the room when it was on charge, which perhaps was mainly a problem with my phone being set to have the screen on when it’s charging.

Google Home   Review

The speaker setup, minus the base

The speaker itself is solid, and the sound quality is robust and throaty. It’s more the capable of playing music and filling a room. Filling a house actually. It’s loud, but you can’t output the music to Bluetooth speakers you may have elsewhere in the house. Instead you’ll need to send audio to a Chromecast audio-connected speaker. The local app on your phone will help you set that up, but then you just tell Google to play it on your Chromecast Audio.

What I perhaps like the most is the potential this has, because the more devices that connect in and the cleverer it becomes, the better. At the moment you can still, sometimes, trip up and think that you’re having a nice conversation in places. This happens especially when you’re setting reminders (which I tend to do a lot) and I’ll end up saying, “please” to it because it’s almost human. I also don’t find the need to speak in my strange “generic English” either. I can speak quite freely in my normal way and it understands well.

You can ask it to launch YouTube on your Chromecast or dictate websites. There’s a little helper card in the box to guide you, but after a very short while you’ll be trying new things with a greater confidence.

I liked the fact that you could see what was going on thanks to the smooth lighting on the top and you could mute the microphone so that the mighty Google wasn’t listening (you can always check up on what Google knows about you on myactivity.google.com).

Until very recently this was just for you though, just your account. Me and my wife rather obviously have different accounts, but you could only hook Google Home into one or the other, which was a tad annoying when my wife was trying to set a reminder. It would pop up on my phone and tablet instead. Doah.
Google Home   Review

But wait. A new update, which appeared as I was writing this review, will now recognise voices and will associate those voices with different accounts. Again, it’s the Google Home app that guides you through this process and it’s very easy to setup. In fact, the only minor pain point about all of this is the fact that you will need to spend a minute or two finding your other connected devices and syncing accounts. That’s all done out of the box though, and once it’s done, it’s done.

Google Home   Review

Overall, with the new multi-account feature becoming available, the sensitivity of the microphones, the cleverness of the Google brain and the accuracy of the voice recognition, this is a device which can only get better and better.
Google Home   Review

More functionality is being added regularly and the speaker setup will deliver tunes in different directions around your room. Without fully realising it, it’ll integrate its way into your life and help you be more efficient at competing those little tasks that would normally take even more screen time. It’s fun to use too.

Want one? You want one. You do. Get one for £129 from Maplin

The post Google Home – Review is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.


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  • Review: Samsung Gear VR with Controller

    Samsung’s new virtual reality headset adds a controller, which dramatically helps improve usability. Together with a Galaxy smartphone, the Gear VR and controller will allow you to dive headfirst into exciting virtual worlds. Here is Phone Scoop’s in-depth review.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

    Coolsmartphone Podcast 202 Matteo’s Bitter

    This week’s episode of the Coolsmartphone Podcast is now available to download on your podcast client of choice, listen to here on Coolsmartphone.com or watch on Youtube. Coolsmartphone Podcast 202 Matteo’s Bitter.

    This week Matteo, Garry and Majid got together to talk smartphones, chromebooks and politics. OK maybe saying they talked politics is a bit too much, but they did come up for a solution to long lasting peace in the Android ecosystem. They seem to also have drafted up a roadmap to universal income from app revenue, a democratisation of chipset manufacturing processes, camera module optimisations and the perfect positioning of power buttons.

    Not convinced this is the case? Why not listen to the podcast to find out what they really discussed, and then engage with them on Twitter

    So Samsung Galaxy S8, Honor 8 Pro delivery woes, Chromebook Shininess and more of the Podcast Think Tank outputs. There you have it, wrapped in a nice mp3 file.

    We’ll be back next week, so let us know what you would like us to discuss if you don’t want to go through our rollercoaster of randomness.

    The post Coolsmartphone Podcast 202 Matteo’s Bitter is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.


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  • Amazing Weed Gadgets That Can Modernize Your Vaping Experience

    For many years, smokers kept looking for several ways to take their hobby to the next level. Recreational marijuana has been legalized to some countries like California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine and medical marijuana in North Dakota, Arkansas, Florida and Montana. With this, the technology industry has entered cannabis business just as hard as any […]
    Source: Mobile Magazine

    A Shocking Artificial Intelligence App that Can Predict Future Fights between Couples Before They Even Happen

    Conflicts between couples are not unusual but it’s often unproductive, so we all want to avoid petty fights if possible. No couple wants to get into meaningless fights and make a hole in their relationship. But with our technology today, an artificial intelligence app can now predict arguments among couples and can help them before […]
    Source: Mobile Magazine

    Google to Let Anyone Build Assistant Into their Hardware

    Google today released an SDK that developers can use to add the Google Assistant to all manner of different gadgets and devices. Assistant made its debut in the Allo messaging app, and later arrived on Pixel smartphones, Google Home, Android Wear smartwatches, and other hardware. These have the distinction of all being Google-made products. Thanks to the new SDK, developers, tinkerers, and device makers of all kinds will be able to bring Google Assistant to their gear, for example, Smart Mirrors. Google says this initial SDK is a preview and not everything will work. For example, it is still working to include features such as hotword support. Developers interested in Assistant should visit Google’s developer web site.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News