Netflix streaming quality has gone downhill with multiple huge ISPs over the recent months, but why is this happening? It's because behind closed doors, there is a fight over who will pick up the bill for the traffic Netflix customers are causing ISPs.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting from sources that "within the past four to six months, Netflix traffic through Cogent's connections to one major broadband provider has at least quadrupled" thanks to Netflix rolling out its new Super HD streaming service. This new high-def service has seen ISPs demand more money from the streaming outfit, money that will be used to help ISPs speed up their networks to meet the increased demand.
Netflix on the other hand, "wants broadband companies to hook up to its new video-distribution network without paying them fees for carrying its traffic". The situation will only get worse if things aren't fixed up, with House of Cards' second season launching last week, and Orange is the New Black's second season to reach us in just a few months time.
China Mobile added a huge number of new high-speed data subscribers in January, with over 14 million new customers joining the world's largest wireless carrier. This is mostly thanks to the iPhone, which China Mobile started selling on January 17.
The 14 million new high-speed data subscribers represents a 7.4% growth for the first month of 2014, with the competition - China Unicorn, seeing an additional 3.2% customers for the month. China Mobile was unable to offer the iPhone until late-2013, but it was locked to 3G on the network's TD-SCDMA technology. Now that it has unleashed its TD-LTE 4G network, things are looking up for the world's largest wireless carrier.
Don't you just hate it when you are out somewhere and you want to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, but you need the login details and all that? It can get annoying when you need your e-mail or Facebook fix.
Well, it looks like the folks over at Google might have a fix for that, in the form of a new app that would "automatically authenticate and connect to its free hotspots inside Starbucks stores or wherever they are available". Google has started this already, moving itself into Starbucks franchises across the United States, replacing AT&T as the official Wi-Fi partner.
Still, logging into a Google hotspot still requires authentication. This new app that Google is working on, would retain your Google account information, logging you in automatically as soon as your phone is near the hotspot. We might not see the app released, ever, but it would be nice of Google to maybe bake this into the next release of Android.
The Microsoft Xbox One next-generation game console is getting hammered by the Sony PlayStation 4, and it's possible an official price cut could be coming soon. Both e-tailers and brick and mortar stores already are offering discounted prices or strong incentives to try and woo consumers to purchase the struggling Microsoft console.
If customers purchase the Xbox One from WalMart, the large box retailer will throw in one free game with the transaction. Meanwhile, Target is now offering up a gift card worth the same amount as one free game title for customers looking to make other purchases.
It's a shame to see the Xbox One struggle so early, and it's going to take games such as Titanfall and other high-profile titles to help boost sales. Microsoft officials recently said it doesn't plan to launch cheaper models, or officially cut prices at the moment, though that obviously could change quickly.
It looks like we should expect HTC to announce its new flagship smartphone quite soon, codenamed M8, as it has passed through, and been approved by the FCC.
We can see soft, curved corners on the unannounced HTC flagship device, which are welcomed of course. This particular handset looks to feature AT&T-capable LTE, as well as bands 2, 4, 5, 7 and 17, but we should expect regional variants to make sure many markets and consumers are covered. We have the usual Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, too.
According to OpenSignal's State of LTE report for Q1 2014, Australia leads the pack in terms of the fastest LTE/4G speeds in the world. Australia's leading ISP, Telstra, is helping to drive that back home for the country.
The OpenSignal report looks at countries all across the globe, analyzing their 4G networks to see who has the best coverage, speeds and carriers. 17 countries in total were compared, with Italy coming in second place, and in second-to-last, the United States. The average download speed experienced in Australia was 24.5Mbps, while the US trailed behind with just 6.5Mbps.
If we compare the speeds with the last report taken, the US was sitting at 9.6Mbps, and is now reaching an average download speed of 6.5Mbps. Australia on the other hand, has increased from 17.3Mbps to 24.5Mbps.
Technology to bring 3D printing closer to the mass market is accelerating, though most 3D printed items tend to be rather small in size. To help demonstrate the effectiveness of printing larger items, BigRep, a company founded in 2014, opens the door to printing items such as furniture. The device is launching worldwide at large trade shows, and begins shipping in two months, with a $39,000 MSRP.
The BigRep One can print full-scale objects in sizes up to 45x39x47 inches, and has the ability to print plastics, nylons, Laywood (wood fibers mixed with polymers), and Laybrick (something similar to sandstone-type of material).
"We know that the need for 3D prints has increased enormously in the creative industries among architects, artists and inventors, among others," said Lukas Oehmigen, BigRep founder, in a press statement. "We have developed printing technology that lowers costs by about 90%, opening the door to a new dimension. Clients may now affordably produce life-size, three dimensional objects."
Google has a new initiative called Project Tango, which comes in the form of a prototype Android smartphone that learns, and maps the world around it. Project Tango is in developers' hands so that they can truly harness the technology Google is working on.
Project Tango is capable of learning the dimensions of rooms and spaces, just by being moved inside of them. So if you're walking through your bedroom or lounge room, the smartphone would learn the shape of your home and its rooms. The point of this? Google could eventually give you very precise directions to a particular point through Maps or Navigation.
The new project comes from the Advanced Technology and Projects Group, one of the special pieces of Google and Motorola's puzzle that it kept through Lenovo purchasing Motorola from Google. Johnny Lee, leader of Project Tango says: "The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion".
With the 2014 Mobile World Congress just around the corner, some of the major players behind the scenes in the mobile device world are beginning to release info on what can be found under the hood of the next-generation devices we will see showcased next week. Broadcom has just unveiled its newest System on Chip (SoC), that is designed for the smartwatch segment of the market.
The new BCM4771 GNSS System on Chip is designed to fix some of the power-hungry issues with GPS on current SoCs on the market. Built on a 40nm process, the chip features a new GPS sensor hub that us designed to not only shrink the component size, but greatly reduce the power draw of the device when used in applications where a small battery may be the only option. This comes in quite handy for devices like smartwatches and smart glasses, where batteries are typically in the 300-500mAh range. Broadcom says the device will launch in late March and will arrive in retail devices by the end of the summer.
Mobile World Congress 2014 is just around the corner, and now we have news that Samsung will launch a new SoC at the event - the Exynos Infinity. The Galaxy device maker teased the new chip, which should be quite the performer.
We should expect the Exynos Infinity chip to be the first chip compatible with the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set, which should feature four ARM Cortex-A57 and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores in ARM Big.Little heterogeneous multi-core configuration for some serious mobile performance. This should be the processor that will power Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone, which should arrive in two models: the standard model, and the new Premium model with the 2K display.
The Galaxy S5 should arrive with LPDDR3 support, 4K video encoding/decoding, 4K rear-camera support, and much more.