Apple and Fitbit cause a surge in smartwatch sales

Smartwatch sales have been improving in the last quarters. According to Strategy Analytics, Q3 2018 saw annual sales increasing 67%.

Despite not being the “hit” analysts predicted them to be when they were launched for potentially being similar to smartphones, the last generations of smartwatches are showing a strong presence on the market. This has put smartwatches at the top of the wearables segment, even surpassing smart bracelets, which are cheaper and have less features.

Apple’s Watch and Fitbit’s Versa lineups were the ones responsible of the surge in sales. We also have to mention the improvement of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch. The wearable brand Garmin rose slightly, but it still lags behind other companies. Continue reading

Chrome 71 will block websites that show “abusive ads”

Google is stepping up its fight against abusive ads on the internet. From Chrome 71 onward, Google will block websites with this type of ads.

Web ads have a bad reputation. What should be (and what really is for some) a legitimate source of income a website can depend on to stay afloat has been messed with by some that use “abusive ads.”

Google has specific rules against this type of ads, but some sites are simply not complying with them. Abusive ads include ads that trick users into thinking they are system notifications or fake messages so users click on buttons that do not do what they are supposed to. An example is an exit button that automatically redirects users to another page to steal their personal information, carry out a phishing scam or prompt malware downloads.

Starting with Chrome 71 (the stable version will arrive in December), the browser will completely get rid of web ads that fail to comply with the company’s rules, giving the websites a 30-day window to act once they have been flagged. Before any changes are made, webmasters can check if their websites have ads that activate Google’s filters by using the Abusive Experiences Report in their Google Search Console.  Continue reading

Android 1.0 and the platform’s first phone turn 10

A day like today, ten years ago, the first Android version was launched and the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1 (internationally known as HTC Dream), was announced. It might not have seemed important back then, but Google’s platform has turned into a tech giant in just a decade.

In July 2005, Google acquired a small California-based company called Android Inc., which received funding from Google and produced software for phones. It was there where it all started. Rumors about Google’s interest on making its way into the phone market were circling in the following months until November 2006, when the company officially unveiled Android.

The system’s official announcement was as important as the introduction of the Open Handset Alliance the same day. The Alliance is a group of big hardware, software and telecommunication companies led by Google to develop phone standards. Android, the group’s first product, was dubbed as the “first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices.”

Google was capable of convincing manufacturers and operators of the advantages of a Linux-based open-source system that is also royalty-free, flexible, updatable and customizable, making it ready to compete against Apple’s first iPhone announcement that made a revolution. Beyond Android’s specs, the industry’s support was key for the platform’s success. Continue reading

Google Yeti: the game streaming service is real

Google Yeti is real. A Chromecast-related code might have confirmed the subscription-based game streaming service that was unveiled in February.

The open-source browser development is a reliable source to get a glimpse of “secret projects” Google is currently working on. The discovered code shows the need to fix the audio and video sync issues experienced with Chromecast, Google’s official streaming service. This is a must for a streaming service, especially one focused on gaming.

This is a technical piece of information that fails to provide details of the service, but “people behind Yeti” knows about it, according to comments on the code. The existence of a dedicated device that works closely with Chromecast has also been confirmed.

We cannot rule out the launch of a more powerful “gaming device” for Google Yeti. It would be surprising if such device worked with Chromium (therefore with Chrome). This might shake the multimillion dollar video game industry. Continue reading

Chrome OS now runs Linux apps on the stable channel

Yesterday, Google rolled out Chrome OS 69, the latest version of the OS based on GNU/Linux (Gentoo) and Chromium.

Chrome OS has the a lot of the same features and novelties of Google’s Chrome web browser, so the first thing we notice is the Material Design 2.0 interface, which gives the OS a really modern and attractive look. Additionally, another novelty is that running GNU/Linux apps is now possible on the OS’ stable channel that focuses on cloud storage.

This means it is not necessary to use developer tools starting with Chrome OS 69 to be able to have support for GNU/Linux apps. Regular users can now do so freely. However, even if it does not require switching channels, it does not mean the support is enabled by default. Not every chromebook is supported because they need a virtual machine. An example of this are BayTrail-powered computers for which the support is not available. Continue reading

PCI Express: a single bus is the PC’s future

PCI Express is an In/Out bus that is an essential part of every PC’s current architecture. It is more commonly used for GPUs and can be used for putting network and sound components, and storage units like the fastest SSDs on the market to replace hard drives and SATA SSDs.

PCI Express (you will see it as “PCI-E” or “PCIe”) is used both for the internal connection of chipsets on the motherboard and the connection of external GPUs on the respective slots. The most widely used version is the 3.0, although the 4.0 and 5.0 versions (which are delayed) will improve performance and turn the standard into a single bus that will be the future of the PC. We will go over the features of the interface, the existing types and its future.

What is the origin of PCI Express?

The PCI Express standard was developed by PCI-SIG (PCI Special Interest Group), an organization formed by 750 members representing every major tech company on the industry. The organization’s objective was to develop a single standard to replace previous buses like ISA, AGP and PCI (on which PCIe is based).

PCIe provides an essential advantage over PCI because it supports point-to-point topology, full-duplex and serial links. Basically, each single PCIe port and its installed cards can get the best performance out of the bus over the slower and saturated PCI in the case of multiple masters.

PCIe 3.0 is the latest update on the market and the one you can currently find when you buy a motherboard. This is a major improvement over PCI 1.0 because it quadruplicates the data transfer up to 8 GT/s; its total bandwidth up to 126 Gb/s (15.8 GB/s); and its bandwidth per lane up to 15.8 Gb/s (1969.2 MB/s). Continue reading