Preventing data loss in a perilous digital age

After decades of an eager and unbridled embrace of the online ecosystem, companies and consumers are becoming painfully aware of the vulnerabilities associated with the digital age. A superfluous series of high-profile data breaches, cases of corporate mismanagement, and tragic insider thefts are causing many people to question the efficacy of our relationship with the internet and its abundance of immersive platforms. 

As a result, positive brand awareness is quickly becoming intertwined with competent data protection, and, as expected, many companies are struggling in this regard. 

  • We’ve also highlighted the best data loss prevention software

Big data has big problems

For instance, in March, Facebook launched an ambitious public relations campaign intended to help the company restore its damaged reputation after the often-reported Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that an unprecedented level of mismanagement and ignorance allowed a third-party to siphon the personal data of 87 million users.

To support the initiative, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, released a cogent statement explaining, “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.” 

Nevertheless, the company closed out September with news of yet another data breach, this time compromising 50 million accounts. Publicly, Facebook says that it’s prioritizing data security, but protecting their users’ data continually proves challenging. 

To be sure, Facebook is not alone. Yahoo, Equifax, Under Armour, and even the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. electrical grid have endured network breaches.

For all their problematic peculiarities, each of these incidences share a common theme. They were perpetrated by malicious but external bad actors. Unfortunately, these and other organizations are also frequently plagued by numerous internal risks that threaten to undermine data security. Internal threats like accidental sharing or intentional data theft actually lead to more data loss than exploitation of software vulnerabilities and external threats combined.

What’s more, since social media conglomerates aren’t the only companies with significant amounts of data to protect, this shifting and increasingly perilous digital landscape can seem daunting for companies consider. 

A problem with a solution

Fortunately, the current data loss prevention crisis is not a problem without a solution. In fact, there are tangible steps that any company can take to secure their data, protect their brand, and promote their bottom line. 

Data visibility

According to Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, a swelling number that is only growing as the internet becomes more ingrained in every platform, service, and activity. Companies contribute a significant share of that data, and they are responsible for managing and securing their portion. 

Everything from the plethora of emails sent each day to the sensitive customer information that underpins modern platforms collectively creates this incredible amount of data, and companies need visibility into this information to protect its integrity. 

It’s common for many employees to transfer data across multiple platforms through several different access points. Data visibility initiatives can provide companies with a real-time snapshot of their data landscape and security vulnerabilities, allowing them to make informed and immediate decisions to protect their data. 

Nobody can afford to be ignorant about their data, and a software empowered snapshot can help IT administrators best understand and respond to their active data environment.

Activity monitoring

User activity monitoring software can provide companies with a more detailed view of user activity with sensitive data, with the ability to identify usage patterns, unintentional misuse, and intentional data exfiltration attempts. 

As a result, creating, implementing, and monitoring company policies regarding technology use and data appropriation leveraging employee monitoring software is a highly effective way for organizations to protect their information against insider threats. 

In a data environment where compromise can be catastrophic, all avenues for data protection should be available to IT administrators. 

User behavior analytics

Advancements in machine learning are making it possible to combine data visibility and activity monitoring activities into a comprehensive user behavior assessment. 

When employees and team members become insider threats, user behavior analytics can indicate behavioral changes and other markers that can help identify and address potential threats. Real-time identification allows companies to pursue quick investigations to mitigate the risk of intentional or accidental data theft. 

A differentiating factor

Increasingly, companies can differentiate their business model and their brand by providing a secure and intelligent data monitoring apparatus. It can be difficult or impossible to repair a brand’s image after a data breach – look no further than Facebook’s public relations nightmare and their subsequent $120 billion devaluation – but companies that secure their information on the front end can benefit from the inverses effect. They can achieve a brand boost predicated on integrity and intentionality. 

The current technological landscape may be perilous, but there are clear steps that organizations can take to better protect their data and support their customers, employees, and bottom lines.

Isaac Kohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Teramind 

  • These are eight data storage trends to watch in 2018

Days Gone delayed until April 2019 ‘for further polish’

Sony has announced its upcoming zombie survival horror Days Gone has been delayed until April 2019. 

Days Gone was originally due to release on February 22 2019 ( the same day as Crackdown 3 and Anthem). However, in a recent blog post, Sony revealed it has pushed the release date back from the “crowded February timeframe” to April 26, 2019 to “further polish” the title.

Days Gone

Sony confirmed the release Days Gone at E3 2018. The open-world zombie apocalypse sees you take on the role of a drifter biker trying to survive the post-apocalyptic – including unpredictable weather, attacks from other human factions, infected wildlife and roaming Freakers.

Contending with a high-profile title such as Anthem was always going to be difficult, so it seems Sony has decided it’s a battle it isn’t willing to take.

  • Best PS4 games 2018: 33 essential PlayStation 4 releases

Upgraders rejoice: Surface Pro 6 is compatible with older Type Covers

If you’ve recently picked up a Surface Pro (2017), but now want the latest model with its vastly improved quad-core processor, Microsoft has good news for you. The company recently confirmed to Windows Central that the Surface Pro 6 is backwards compatible with older Type Cover accessories.

This is mainly thanks to the fact that the tablet’s design has largely gone unchanged year over year. Microsoft itself said as much in a statement to the outlet.

“As there are no changes to the exterior of Surface Pro 6 compared to last year all cases, adapters, accessories, skins, and more all work without issue,” Microsoft confirmed.

Since the Type Cover is rather inarguably essential to the Surface Pro experience, this should come as good news to existing Surface Pro owners. Folks that already own a Surface Pro can essentially avoid a $159 (£149, AU$249) premium on the new hotness.

So, here’s your PSA for the day: upgrading from an older Surface Pro to Surface Pro 6 won’t cost you as much as you might have assumed. Granted, if Microsoft just included everything in the box, like Samsung does, this very article wouldn’t exist.

  • These are the best Windows tablets the world over

MacBook 2018 release date, news and rumors

It’s been more than a year since the latest version of the 12-inch MacBook made it to market. We’re ready for the sequel.

On paper, the MacBook 2017 was everything we’d been asking for from Apple since its rebirth in 2015. Apple’s signature Butterfly keyboard is better than ever, while the internals also advanced dramatically, thanks to the inclusion of 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors. 

However, Whiskey Lake processors have hit the market and feature much better performance than their 7th-generation Kaby Lake predecessors. So, we hope that the Macbook 2018 uses these to take a huge jump over its predecessor – just like what we saw with the MacBook Pro 2018.

And, while the MacBook 2018 was absent at the iPhone XS event, Apple just announced an October 30 hardware event in Brooklyn. We’re pretty confident that the MacBook 2018 and maybe even the MacBook Air 2018 will be present. Either way, make sure you keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it with any new information that comes our way.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s thinnest 2018 laptop
  • When is it out? October 2018 at the earliest
  • What will it cost? Presumably the same as current models

MacBook 2018

MacBook 2018 release date

None of the most recent reports, rumors or leaks give any lead as to when we’ll see the 2018 MacBook. Of course, we’ll gladly speculate based on the previous three releases of Apple’s 12-inch laptop.

In 2015, Apple released the first MacBook during April, directly following a March keynote. That’s a largely odd time for Apple to release a device, but that obviously didn’t happen this time.

It’s highly unlikely for the MacBook price to budge in either direction.

Apple didn’t announce the new MacBook at the iPhone XS event, and we’d put our money on the rumored Whiskey Lake shortage as the culprit.

But, hey, there’s some good news. Apple has announced an October 2018 hardware event in Brooklyn, and if the earlier rumors that we’re getting five different MacBooks in 2018 are accurate, we could be seeing the new MacBook on store shelves in just a couple of weeks. Will it happen? We’ll just have to wait until the event to be sure. 

Until then, while we are pretty sure that the MacBook 2018 will make a showing, we’ll keep our eyes open for any new rumors or announcements and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2018 release date becomes more clear.

MacBook 2018

MacBook 2018 price

While we do think that Apple will put out a MacBook around the same price as the current models, we have seen speculation that Apple is planning on releasing a cheaper 13-inch Retina MacBook. So, whether or not that will play a factor in the MacBook 2018’s price remains to be seen.

This is another aspect where we’ll have to speculate based on the current pricing of the MacBook. The entry-level MacBook will run you $1,299, £1,249 or AU$1,899 to start. Only one more model, with more storage and power, goes for another 300 to 450 bucks on top of that. However, there is speculation that Apple is going to be releasing a cheaper 2018 MacBook that will be more in line with the pricing of the MacBook air, around $999.

We’re also anticipating Apple to release a brand new, 13-inch MacBook this year.

With the pricing so tight here, amounting to minute differences in hardware between offerings, it makes the speculation about a cheaper 13-inch MacBook seem unbelievable. The only way we see the current version of the MacBook budging in price is if Apple introduces more capacious storage or higher power options, which will send the price up, rather than the opposite. 

For the MacBook price to come down, or for Apple to release a cheaper MacBook model alongside more expensive version, something has to give. Apple could lower the memory down to 4GB from 8GB, but we don’t think that’ll happen. Instead, we believe it’d be much more likely for Apple to release a MacBook with a 128GB SSD instead of starting with 256GB.

We’ll look out for new rumors and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2018 price begins to crop up as we inch closer.

MacBook 2018

What we want to see in MacBook 2018

All of this uncertainty surrounding a possible MacBook 2018 release is fertile ground for a well-crafted wishlist.

So, while we wait for any kind of official word from the Cupertino behemoth, here’s what we hope to see Apple improve about the MacBook for 2018.

MacBook 2018 keyboard and screen 

We’ve seen plenty of rumors that Apple is planning on making a MacBook with dual screens – and they keep showing up –  one of these screens would be a capacitive touch keyboard. We don’t know what it’ll look like, but there’s potential ther for on the fly region changing and easy access to an emoji keyboard – instead of emojis being relegated to the Touch Bar.

And, of course if Apple does follow through with this keyboard design, they’ll implement haptic feedback so that you’ll get the same experience as using a mechanical keyboard, only with the flexibility that a touch screen keyboard brings with it. However, it’s easy to expect this to raise the price in any MacBook that implements it.

Even if this touch-screen keyboard doesn’t make its way into the 2018 MacBook, that doesn’t mean the Butterfly mechanism keyboard won’t be improved upon. Apple has recently admitted that some of the keyboards in recent MacBooks are faulty – and will even repair them for free. This adds a layer of authenticity to that rumor we saw earlier this year that the MacBook 2018 will have a keyboard that’s crumb and spill-proof, especially after the MacBook Pro 2018 came out with a membrane-sporting keyboard. Either way, we don’t know what the keyboard in the next MacBook is going to look like – maybe it’ll be spill proof because it’ll be a screen?  

More ports, please

One of the biggest problems with the 12-inch MacBook, ever since its initial launch has been the sheer lack of ports. With only one Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and a headphone jack, this absolutely needs to change in the MacBook 2018. Maybe just one more port?

We’ve already seen Windows laptops accomplish this feat, like the Huawei MateBook X with its two USB-C ports. Even the similarly priced MacBook Pro has two. Maybe there’s room for a microSD card reader too, but that may be pushing it.

Punchier processors

Costing what it does, Apple really needs to inject some more power into its 12-inch MacBooks. With the onset of Intel processors with AMD graphics onboard, this is the perfect opportunity for the 12-inch MacBook to get a power boost that wouldn’t impact battery life.

How, you ask? Well, we immediately look to these new Intel processors with AMD Vega discrete-grade graphics on board that are already finding their way to new laptops this year. Such an upgrade would put the MacBook into an entirely new echelon of premium stature.

Then again, seeing as the MacBook has consistently used energy efficient Intel Core ‘M’ and ‘Y’ series CPUs up to this point, we wouldn’t bank on seeing the hardy graphics power featured in Intel’s ‘G’ series chips. 

Now that Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake have been launched by Intel, we’d like to see Apple shove these latest 8th-generation processors into the new MacBook. There are rumors that the MacBook 2018 will be using 8th-generation Kaby Lake R processors, but those are essentially old tech already, we’ll just have to see.

As for that cheaper 13-inch MacBook that’s been making all the headlines recently, we could see them making an ARM-based MacBook. Recent rumors even suggest that Apple is indeed working on one.

Moreover, a recent news story claimed that Apple was planning to ship a trio of Macs featuring its custom co-processors later this year. These are expected to be similar to the T1 and T2 chips found in the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro, respectively. This is likely an early part of Apple’s rumored ‘Kalamata Initiative’, which will see Apple replacing all Intel chips with Cupertino-crafted silicon by 2020.

Since the 12-inch MacBook doesn’t have a Touch Bar, it’s safe to assume that if one of these co-processors is implemented, it will be used for the automatic wake and ‘Hey Siri’ functionality presently exclusive to the iMac Pro and MacBook Pro 2018.

Sturdier build

The Apple MacBook already feels remarkably sturdy in hand, but over time it can become covered with scratches – even if you are extremely careful. Luckily, Apple has recently filed a patent that details plans for making ‘indestructible’ hardware, through some unique coatings. Not only will this be a great option for a premium device that most users won’t upgrade for 4-5 years, but it’ll keep the MacBook looking as gorgeous as the day you opened it. 

We don’t know if this patent will ever surface, but this approach along with the improved Butterfly keyboard found in the MacBook Pro 2018 could make the MacBook 2018 a much more durable device.

Stronger audio and video

Speaker performance and webcam quality are two corners that Apple obviously cut through in crafting the MacBook. With the MacBook 2018, this needs to stop. Tinny speakers and a sub-HD webcam for a laptop this expensive simply isn’t acceptable.

All Apple needs to do is simply beef the webcam up to 1080p, like its price tag suggests, and problem solved. The speakers, though, are a problem we don’t necessarily have a solution for. Supporting the speakers with down-throwing bass modules in the base might work? 

iOS apps on MacBook

Now that it’s been talked about for so long, the idea of iOS apps on macOS has grown on us. We’re excited by the prospect of continuing work from our phones straight away on our laptops – or polishing off that top score upon sitting down at the desk.

And, at WWDC this year, Apple detailed which apps are going to be making the move. While you won’t be getting any third-party apps, macOS Mojave will be getting core apps like News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home.

If you’re looking for your favorite third-party iOS apps, however, you’ll be waiting until at least 2019.

  • These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report

The best Xbox One X prices, bundles and deals in October 2018: where to buy the 4K Xbox

4K-hungry gamers looking for the most powerful console ever made have have been keen to pick up Xbox One X bundles since release. Prices have been quite high if you’re not sure where to look though. That’s where we come in as our dedicated team of Deal Hunters cut through the chaff to bring you only the very best Xbox One X deals.

In this article you’ll find a comparison chart with the lowest prices on where to buy the 4K HDR Xbox One X console from a wide range of the best retailers. After the comparison chart we’ve put together a collection of the latest bundles in the States and UK. These Xbox One X bundles will save you money over buying the items separately. There’s not always a massive choice (especially in the US), but we’re all set to pounce on any new Xbox One X deals when they come online, so feel free to bookmark us if nothing takes your fancy today.

If you’re after information on the latest Australian deals, head over to our Australian page.

The best Xbox One X prices

Xbox One X bundles (USA)

US Xbox One X bundles are not particularly fantastic right now. Sure there are some ‘bundles’ out there, but we’re going to avoid showing you ones where they cost more than buying the games separately on their own.

Xbox Box One X bundles (UK)

What is the Xbox One X price?

You might want to sit down for this one. The Xbox One X costs $499 in the US. UK gamers can expect to get their currency converters in a twist again, as you’re paying £449 instead of the direct conversion of around £390. Naturally, these prices don’t include any games, unless a retailer is feeling generous.

Why should I buy an Xbox One X?

Just to be clear, this is not what you’d call a ‘next-gen’ console. Instead it’s a powerful upgrade over the current Xbox One lineup. To simplify things, it’s akin to Sony’s PS4 Pro. Both consoles are aimed at gamers with a 4K HDR TV who want the best graphical performance possible on their favored console. There will be modest performance boosts on non-4K TVs too, but you’re kind of missing the point without a 4K HDR TV.

As things stand the Xbox One X will play all Xbox One games and we’re not expecting to see any games released exclusively for the Xbox One X (or so we’ve been told), so there’s certainly no reason to throw away your Xbox One S yet.

The Xbox One X is the most powerful console ever made though, even outshining some of the specs of the PS4 Pro. But given the huge asking price, you’d hope as much. The Xbox One X is making bold claims about true native 4K gaming though with its upcoming titles and if you have a 4K TV with High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology, the Xbox One X is ready to seriously impress with the likes of Forza Motorsport 7, Metro: Exodus and Anthem set to be true jaw-droppers in the graphics department.

Where can I buy an Xbox One X?

Most of the usual big name retailers are stocking the Xbox One X. Prices this close to launch are all very similar for now, but as we move forwards, we’ll start to see stores chipping away at the price to try to get an edge over the competition. 

Keep an eye on the highlighted Xbox One X bundles above and our comparison chart, which we’ll keep up to date on the latest prices for the Xbox One X on its own. So feel free to bookmark us and check in again soon to see if we’ve found the deal that’s right for you. Fingers crossed the bundles get better soon, especially in the US where we’re not seeing massive software discounts so far.

What is the Xbox One X release date?

It’s here now! The Xbox One X came out on November 7 2017. That was a worldwide release date too.

Will there be Xbox One X deals are Christmas?

Unlike the first Xbox One X’s first Christmas, we do expect there to be some deals this year. The 4K console was seemingly too new to discount last year, but Microsoft will be keen to catch up the the PS4 Pro this year and we’re hoping for some decent discounts in what has been a slow year for deals in all honesty. In all likelihood, the PS4 Pro prices and bundles are still going to be much cheaper.

What if I don’t care about 4K or want to save money?

The standard Xbox One S is a fantastic games console and you’ll easily be able to get one with a few games for around $250/£250 or less. There are cheap deals all year round on our Xbox One deals and PS4 prices, deals and bundles pages.

Only kidding. I want 4K HDR in my face right now.

4K TVs with HDR are nowhere near as expensive as you’d think. The prices have come down much faster than the original HD TVs, so you can get a decent model for a low price. Hell we’ve seen some nice ones for less than the price of the Xbox One X itself (what a ridiculous world we live in). For the best of the best, take a look at our best TV article. We’ve also rounded up the best cheap 4K TV deals too in the UK, and also a collection of US TV deals.

How big is the hard drive in the Xbox One X?

For now, the only option available is the 1TB option, that’s 1000GB of storage. There are no official plans for larger versions, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see these come along in 2018. 

With some 4K-friendly update patches to games coming in at over 100GB, we certainly wouldn’t hold out for a cheaper 500GB Xbox One X, as it’d be a bit pointless to be honest. 

We think gamers are going to fill up the 1TB Xbox One pretty soon. Thankfully the Xbox One X is compatible with external hard drives using USB 3.0. So if you need some extra storage, check out our list of the best external hard drives.

Dreem Coach aims to eliminate insomnia with bespoke behavioral therapy

Most sleep tracking apps and wearables can tell you you’re sleeping badly (and make you feel inadequate), but don’t help you do anything with about it.

That’s the problem sleep science company Dreem is hoping to solve with Dreem Coach – a new app that uses professional techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help break bad sleep habits and form better ones.

If you want a really effective sleep solution, you need a deep understanding of the individual person

Hugo Mercier, Dreem

Dreem Coach is an accompaniment for Dreem Band – a lightweight headband equipped with an accelerometer, EEG sensors and a pulse oximeter that gathers information while you doze and extends deep sleep using sound transmitted directly to your inner ear via bone conduction. The band can also detect when you’re sleeping lightly and trigger a smart alarm that wakes you when you’re ready.

Together, the app and band not only track your vitals, but give you tailored feedback and advice to help you enjoy better quality sleep.

“I look at the sleep apps and see that devices on the market are not that effective,” Hugo Mercier, CEO of Dreem, told TechRadar. If you want a really effective sleep solution you need a deep understanding of the individual person.”

Personal programs

Dreem Coach is an addition to the app that aims to provide a longer term solution to sleeping problems. First it uses data from the headband to track your sleeping patterns over a week and asks various questions about your lifestyle. After seven nights, the app presents you with your own detailed sleep report and a list of tailored recommendations from a collection of expert programs.

These programs help you take action to tackle specific problems. For example, if you suffer from chronic insomnia, Dreem Coach will suggest an advanced six- or eight-week program that incorporates CBT.

Dreem app

“CBT helps to re-train and educate on sleep,” says Mercier. “It costs a lot, and is not very easy to access. Companies have launched digital CBT tools to reproduce it through a mobile app, but people drop out because it’s not easy to use.

“With Dreem, we have a really differentiating element in the experience with the headband. A hundred and fifty users have tried the CBT, and the results are incredible. We see that we improve efficiency, and we reduce distraction. “

If your problem is sleep deprivation, Dreem Coach will offer guidance to help you get more shut-eye and take control of your sleep cycle.

If you suffer from bad sleeping habits, Dreem Coach identifies the specific behaviors causing the problem and suggests ways to address them. As Mercier notes, techniques like relaxation and breathing exercises aren’t new, but Dreem Coach uses data gathered by Dreem Band to tailor its instructions to your individual needs.

“Dreem shouldn’t just be about the Dreem Band – it should be about solving your problem,” says Mercier. “It shouldn’t just be an app, either; it should be your personal coach.”

All new Dreem Headbands come with Dreem Coach, and the tool is available free to existing users.

  • The best fitness tracker 2018

35 million voter records sold on the Dark Web

35 million records of US voters across 19 states have been stolen and sold on The Dark Web, reports have claimed. 

Research by security firm Anomali Labs found that the data includes full names, phone numbers, addresses and voting history (although this is believed to only contain when the voter voted not who they voted for). Each of the 19 states’ data records are for sale between $150 to $12,500 USD.

Within hours of the data sale being announced, a high-profile Dark-Web user organized a crowd-funding campaign to purchase the data and release it to all the members in that specific hacker forum.

It isn’t currently known how many members are in that specific hacking forum or how widespread the information could be disseminated however. Kansas’ voter records have already been purchased by that crowd-funding campaign, with Oregon to be purchased next.

Purchasers of the data will also be given weekly updates of voter registration data.

  • We’ve also highlighted the best antivirus

Voter records stolen

Anomali Labs has warned that the data could be used to manipulate the US November midterm elections and identity theft.  

“With the November 2018 midterm elections only four weeks away, the availability and currency of the voter records, if combined with other breached data, could be used by malicious actors to disrupt the electoral process or pursue large-scale identity theft,” the firm wrote in a blog. 

If voter data falls into the wrong hands the election processes would be vulnerable to fraud and manipulation. This can include changes to physically addresses associated with voters, deleting of voter registrations—and absentee ballots being issued to a third party on behalf of the actual registered voter.

The 19 states affected by the data breach are: Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

It isn’t believed that the records of voters with data being released will be harmful in terms of identity theft—unless combined with other data breaches (such as Social Security numbers from the Equifax breach, driver licenses numbers, or credit card numbers).

  • This is how to protect yourself online in 2018

Google will start charging Android smartphone makers to use its apps

Google is to start charging Android manufacturers for the right to pre-install its mobile applications in Europe as it seeks to comply with an EU antitrust ruling it is in the process of appealing.

Android is the world’s dominant mobile operating system, accounting for more than 85 per cent of the global smartphone market, but in July this year, the EU concluded the negative aspects of Google’s dominance and its licensing practices were difficult to ignore.

It said the requirement that some manufacturers preinstall Google applications as a condition for licensing the Google Play store, as well as the payments made to other, larger phone makers and operators for pre-installing the Google search app on devices were helping to cement the company’s search leadership.

Google Android

This resulted in the EU issueing a €4.3 billion fine to Google and demanded it ended these practices within 90 days. Google has now filed an appeal against the ruling, continuing to argue that Android helps competition rather than hinder it.

Its new measures will see Android manufacturers build ‘forked’ versions of their devices for European markets while still being able to use Google’s applications.

The second course of action will see Google offer licensing agreements to Android manufacturers for its apps, search app and Chrome browser.

“Device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser,” said Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of platform and ecosystems at Google. 

“Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.”

“These new licensing options will come into effect on October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA. We’ll be working closely with our Android partners in the coming weeks and months to transition to the new agreements. And of course, we remain deeply committed to continued innovation for the Android ecosystem.”

Google’s competitors in the search and browser market will hope to benefit from the changes – if they are permanent – while mobile operators will welcome any move to curb the power of online platforms.

  • Here are the best mobile deals for October 2018

Fortnite Android app: everything you need to know about the mobile game

Fortnite has officially arrived on Android. Epic Game’s multiplayer juggernaut has finally brought the Fortnite Android app out of beta, and you can now enjoy the full Fortnite experience on a select range of compatible Android phones.

You can check out how to download Fortnite on mobile in our separate how-to guide, but the page below has everything else you need to know about the mobile version of the popular game.

Battle royale shooter Fortnite is now the most-played video game on the planet, with PC, console and iOS gamers logging on in their tens of millions to try and win one of its 100-player, last-man-standing matches.

  • How to download and play Fortnite on mobile

After a very short exclusivity window for Samsung devices, the initial beta – which kicked off in early August, before the official launch in October – has now rolled out to a more extensive list of Android phones. (More details on the exact devices below.)

Here’s everything you need to know about the gaming phenomenon coming to your phone or tablet.

What is Fortnite on Android?

The mobile version of Fortnite is the full game you know and love from PCs and consoles, with the same weapons, the same map and an identical update schedule.

The controls are adapted for touchscreen, with some actions automated to make it less fiddly, including picking up items and opening doors. 

Elements of Fortnite’s UI are different on Android too, with extra building buttons popping up, and there are both on-screen footstep and gunshot indicators to tell you the direction of any nearby sounds. Other than that, it’s the same game.

  • See also: how to unblock Fortnite at school or the office

Fornite on Android release date

Fortnite Android app

Epic has not yet announced an exact release date, though the beta is now live and the official launch can’t be far behind.

Sources had told both XDA Developers and 9to5Google that the phone will hit stores on August 24, and that Fortnite on Android will be a Samsung exclusive available exclusively for 30 days after that – possible even just on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – before unlocking for other Android phones on September 23. 

Thankfully it came to us a lot sooner, though new phones are still being added to the roster of devices able to play the game.

Anyone playing the newly-announced Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 also got an exclusive Galaxy-themed character skin to wear.

What devices will be compatible with Fortnite on Android? 

A post on Epic’s website confirmed the beta was initially running on a select number of Samsung Galaxy devices, with other Android phones to follow shortly after. 

You can see the full list of devices running the game in the box, right. But remember: it’s likely that more devices will be supported when Android on Fortnite comes out. 

How will you install the game? 

First thing’s first: you won’t find it on the Google Play Store like all your other apps.

While iOS users have been happily downloading Fortnite from Apple’s App Store, anyone on Android will have to find a dedicated install file on the Fortnite website.

All players have to do is open an internet browser on their smartphone – whether that’s Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer – and go to Fortnite.com/Android, where they’ll find the Fortnite Installer for download.

The install file APK will only take up about 2mb of storage, though the game itself comes in at a more sizeable 2GB.

Credit: XDA Developers

Why would Epic keep the Android version off the Play Store? 

It’s certainly a bold decision—the Play Store is where Android users get the vast majority of their apps, and so by not being there, Epic potentially loses some players. But Fortnite is a huge household name, and perhaps the developer is hoping players won’t mind taking a few extra steps to get it on their phone.

Besides, by forcing players to download the game through its website, Epic doesn’t have to share any of the money it makes from in-app purchases with Google. If Fortnite was on the Play Store, Google would take a 30% slice, as Apple does with the iOS version.

An official press release cited Epic’s desire to build a “direct relationship” with its players – while acknowledging the “economic efficiency” of circumventing Google’s store tax entirely.

Considering that Fortnite on iOS has just passed 100 million downloads and cleared $160 million from in-app purchases, swerving the Play Store may prove to be a smart business decision.

Will Fortnite on Android support cross-play with iOS, PCs and consoles? 

Fortnite Android app

Yes – Fortnite on Android will be compatible with iOS, PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions of the shooter, so you’ll be able to squad up with your friends on other platforms. Cross-play is currently available between all consoles listed above, after mounting pressure from fans convinced Sony to change its tune.

Stay tuned to this page for updates as-and-when they happen.

  • Everything you need to know about Fortnite

Check out the freebies being offered with new Huawei Mate 20 Pro pre-order deals

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has landed, and it’s brought some friends along with it. While the all-new-all-powerful Huawei handset is available for pre-order, loads of retailers are throwing in a few freebies to add a whole lot of value to your purchase.

You can see all of the early Huawei Mate 20 Pro deals in our price comparison at the foot of this page, but let us tell you about those fantastic freebies. We’ve counted over five retailers that are including the following items if you sign up with them by October 26:

So combined, you’re looking at freebies worth in excess of £250. A nice little bonus, especially considering that Huawei Mate 20 Pro deals aren’t exactly what you’d call bargain basement.

These are the online phone shops and networks that we’ve seen offering these added extras…

  • Carphone Warehouse (from £38 per month less trade-in – see below)
  • EE (from £44 per month)
  • Vodafone (from £38 per month)
  • Sky Mobile (from £40 per month)
  • Mobiles.co.uk (from £23 per month)
  • Mobile Phones Direct (from £42 per month)
  • Virgin Mobile (from £36 per month)

Up to £250 trade-in with Carphone Warehouse

As we say, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is certainly not the cheapest smartphone on the market. But as well as the above freebies, Carphone Warehouse is making it more affordable by offering up to £250 back when you trade in your old handset.

Naturally the amount you get back all depends on what old phone you’re rocking and the condition that it’s in, but it’s the easy way to save a chunk on your new mobile. I mean, what were you going to do with that old mobile anyway?

For more information, head straight to Carphone’s dedicated trade-in guide and get an indication as to how much cash you’re likely to receive back together with your brand new Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

See also: All of today’s best mobile phone deals in the UK