Jeff Bezos wants Blue Origin to be the Amazon of the Moon

Not one to be left out, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is also making plans to go to the Moon, just like fellow space magnate Elon Musk. Bezos’ plan, uncovered by The Washington Post via a draft proposal presented to NASA and Trump’s administration, outlines Blue Origin’s plan to create a cargo spacecraft destined for the Moon that would help it ferry supplies, experiments and even people to Earth’s largest natural satellite by around July 2020.

Bezos has a pretty keen grasp of terrestrial shipping via Amazon, so it makes sense that he would envision providing similar services at a lunar scale. The CEO told the Washington Post that he believes it’s time for the U.S. to not only make its way back to the Moon – but also to stick around this time, with the goal of establishing a “permanently inhabited lunar settlement.”

The Moon is on the mind of many at the moment: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced earlier this week that his company would be sending two private individuals in a crewed tourist mission around the Moon, with a target flight date of next year. Even sub-orbital space tourism is still taking its first shaky steps, relatively speaking, so that’s quite the leapfrog if Musk and co. can pull it off.

Blue Origin’s initial proposal focuses on getting the goods necessary to establish a permanent colony on the Moon, rather than zipping humans or tourists to the destination. And it also seeks resource commitment from NASA, both in terms of funding and expertise, though Bezos says in the proposal he’s more than happy to invest his own funds alongside those of the space agency.

In the white paper, the plan is to land the spacecraft at the Moon’s south pole, where there’s enough sunlight to power it via external solar panels, and where it has proximity to water ice, which is key for both human sustenance and the creation of rocket fuel. Its design could allow for flying 10,000 pounds of supplies and materials, and it’s intended to be usable with NASA’s own launch craft, the ULA’s Atlas V rocket or its own New Glenn rocket, which is still in development.

We’re a long way off from Amazon Prime same-day delivery to the Moon, but this is yet another sign that we’re headed towards a public-private space race which could user in a new boom in space exploration.

Uber plans to turn its app into a ‘content marketplace’ during rides

Uber can’t seem to avoid headlines for the wrong reasons right now, as it gets slammed for its toxic work culture, its connections to a polarizing U.S. President, and its CEO’s attitude to Uber drivers.

But despite all that, the transportation company — currently valued as high as $68 billion — continues to grow and is expanding its business into ever more areas. One of the latest, TechCrunch has learned, involves the app itself.

Uber wants to turn it into a “content marketplace” — a feed of entertainment and other features with potentially dozens of third party content partners, designed to grow engagement in the Uber app itself — going beyond the basics of ordering rides and rating drivers.

According to documents seen by TechCrunch, the marketplace will be based on a new version of Trip Experiences, a smaller feature first launched a year ago with a select group of partners.

In the future, when a user gets into an Uber, the Uber app will turn “into a rich feed of cards,” in the words of Uber itself: a series of third-party apps will provide you with more information about the area or specific place you are going; some entertainment while you’re travelling; work and productivity integrations; and communications with the place where you are going specifically.

The expanded marketplace, according to a presentation, is currently planned for an early April launch.

Uber declined to comment to TechCrunch about its future plans.

Initially, Uber will not charge developers to be a part of the new Trip Experiences feature, according to our source, who was provided the presentation in a capacity as a third-party developer. Another source who talked to TechCrunch said there are no plans for Uber to include advertising in the feed.

However, there are elements of the redesigned Trip Experiences that do appear borrow from world of ad tech, as well as Facebook’s app platform. It will include a carousel-like app gallery, where services and apps can be “discovered” by users and connected into the Uber app.

And there is a second option for “re-engagement”, which enables apps to submit content into the Uber Feed, if the user already has the app on their phone. This can be used to notify users of the temperature of their smart thermostat while they are on their way home, or show a to-do list while they are headed to work — all within the Uber app.

Uber is also pushing contextual engagement that might, for example, enable a Snapchat user to unlock special stickers or filters, or showcase Instagram searches of the destination they are headed to, or, in the case of Uber Pool rides, show if they share mutual Facebook friends with other passengers (presumably only if you opt in, otherwise this could prove to be a privacy nightmare).

In the case of app showcasing, Uber could provide an opportunity for developers or companies seeking to target an audience of relatively tech-savvy users. (We’ve created our own images above that roughly show how some of these formats will look, based on images in the presentation leaked to us by a developer.)

 Considering all of the above, you can see how a revenue share on transactions, or fee for a content partner to appear in the feed, clearly could become a new business opportunity for Uber if this takes off.

But for now, the idea seems to be something else that Uber is positioning itself as having a wider purpose for its customers, beyond providing basic transportation from point A to point B.

It taps into the fact that Uber has a captive audience (its passengers sitting in vehicles). Uber users have completed over 2.5 billion rides to date, according to the company, with 10 million rides each day across the more than 70 countries and 400 cities where Uber is active.

And it has potentially a very wide reach into the lives of that captive audience. Uber notes that “commute time” in the U.S. alone is 19 hours per month, making it second in time spent only to Facebook and Spotify at 21 hours/month each. Of course, not every commute is an Uber commute — and that is likely another reason for building out Trip Experiences: a useful feed of information, tailored to your ride, gives Uber another way to attract users amid competition from a number of other apps and other transportation options.

Going from A to C(ontent)

Expanding Trip Experiences to take over your feed is also a natural progression of what Uber has been developing for the past year.

Trip Experiences first launched in January 2016 to help Uber users fill dead time while on the move. The feature was originally focused around a select group of content — it included news from the Washington Post and Bay Area hyperlocal blog Hoodline; searching for coffee and internet-friendly cafes near your destination with Cupper and Work Hard Anywhere; podcasts timed to the duration of your journey with Otto Radio; and more.

Uber then expanded some of that in-app activity in November 2016, when an app update brought in a feed to “make the most of your ride” with the ability to browse Yelp and Foursquare; play with Snapchat filters; stream Pandora songs and order Uber EATS to arrive at the same time as you do.

Uber has often been described not as a transportation but a technology company, and the growth of this content marketplace — which theoretically could even be used when you’re not even in an Uber vehicle — underscores that. But it also, crucially, can help corral users back into Uber’s core transportation business: developers putting content into Uber’s feed can also use Uber’s “Ride Request Button” API in their own apps to give users the option to book Uber services.

In its pitch to developers, Uber is positioning this content play as one of its four key ways that it can help businesses grow. The other three are rides (by way of that API that lets businesses integrate ordering an Uber directly into their apps); delivery-on-demand via Uber Rush; and “making driving more rewarding” for its drivers — that is, a separate Driver API where developers can build services that target these drivers as customers/users.

The new program will give Uber a way to widen its content partners, but it isn’t quite an open door for all. Uber, we understand, is working closely with selected partners who come on to the platform to ensure that what they bring is the right blend of contextual experience or entertainment, so don’t expect the Uber app to be overridden with unapproved messages and services. But, if Uber has its way, this could become the next big push to help tie Uber closer to your life.

Samsung Secure Folder App Released for Nougat-Running Galaxy S7, S7 Edge

Samsung’s Secure Folder app, the downloadable form of which was leaked recently and supposedly teased the design for company’s upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, has now been officially made available for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones. However, one important thing to note about this app is that it is compatible only with Samsung Galaxy smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat or later versions and has to be be downloaded from Galaxy Apps store.

The Samsung Secure Folder was initially launched with Galaxy Note 7 and also made its way to some Galaxy A-series models. It uses Samsung’s “defence-grade” Knox security platform to create a private, encrypted space for users to store their apps, images, and documents, the company said in its release. Users can benefit from this feature by storing and encrypting their personal and private content.

“Apps and data moved to Secure Folder are sandboxed separately on the device and gain an additional layer of security and privacy, thus further protecting them from malicious attacks,” Samsung said. Users can make copies of their favourite apps and access them via alternate profiles. The browsing history for apps within the Secure Folder will be kept separate from the same apps outside the Folder.

This feature can be beneficial for those who want to keep their banking information safe while handing out their devices to colleagues or friends, Samsung points out.

 samsung secure folder story2 Samsung Secure Folder Story 2

In order to move the content to the Secure Folder, users need to just choose the Move to Secure Folder option from native apps like Gallery, Contacts, and My files, or by simply tapping Add files inside Secure Folder. Samsung further allows users to customise the Secure Folder app by changing its name and icon. Users can also choose to hide the Secure Folder icon from their home screen altogether by using Quick Panel.

Further, users can use PIN, passcode, pattern, or biometric verification such as fingerprint authentication to get access to the Secure Folder. The app supports cloud-based backup to help users transfer data between phones but ensures security even in this aspect as data backup from Secure Folder is kept isolated from the general backup files of the device. The data from the Samsung Secure Folder app can only be restored from Settings inside the app by original Samsung account users.

The South Korean company says that it plans to extend the support for Secure Folder app to other Samsung Galaxy smartphones soon (presumably when they get Android 7.0 Nougat).

The earlier leak of the Samsung Secure Folder featured a smartphone render that teased a near bezel-less design believed to be of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone. The renders showed a smartphone without home button, giving fuel to earlier leaks that suggested that Samsung might finally ditch the signature Home Button below the device’s display.

Google Spaces Social Sharing App to Be Shut Down on April 17

 Google kept itself busy last year, launching a number of new applications, software, and devices. While you may have heard a lot about Allo, Google’s intelligent messaging app with Assistant, many would have passed over Spaces, an experimental group messaging app that was launched in May. Google has now announced it will shut down its experimental app on April 17.
Google Spaces Social Sharing App to Be Shut Down on April 17

John Kilcline, a Google product manager, said in a Google+ post that the company “decided to take what we learned with Spaces, and apply it to our existing products.” Although Kilcline wasn’t specific, one of the products that could implement Spaces’ features is perhaps Allo.

Spaces allowed users to easily share content and commentary on any specific topic. The app was more of a forum-like service than a true messaging app. Much like creating specific topic-oriented groups on Facebook, Spaces was meant to be used to create small groups where you could invite friends or co-workers to discuss about specific topics. And being a Google product, users could bring in Google searches, images and YouTube videos directly into Spaces.

 The app, which was Google’s latest attempt at social networking, seemed to be suffering from a crisis of identity. With a number of specific social networking giants like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, Spaces was perhaps too late to find a footing.

Kilcline added in the post that Spaces will now move into read-only mode before it completely shuts down the service on April 17. It looks like Google is slowly abandoning some of its stagnant applications, and perhaps Hangouts, which is slowly being replaced by Duo, could be next.

E3 2017: Everything you need to know about this year’s gaming extravaganza

E3 is the world’s biggest gaming show. Every June, the video game development community and press gather in Los Angeles to learn about what the next year has in store for the world of video games. This year 15,000 members of the public will be joining the party too.

It’s an exciting show. The big players in the industry, from Sony to Microsoft and Nintendo to Ubisoft, all compete to get the biggest headlines by saving their biggest announcements for the show.

In previous years we’ve seen the announcement of new consoles and new games, and with two new consoles being released this year (the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft’s Project Scorpio ), we’re expecting the major publishers to have something big lined up for the show.

But what exactly is coming? Read on for our top predictions for this year’s show, and if you’re interested in reading about what went down at E3s past, check out our pages on E3 2016 and E3 2015 .

Nintendo

It’s a big year for Nintendo. Last summer’s Pokemon Go reminded everyone how much affection there still is for Nintendo’s classic franchises, and consequentlyPokemon Sun and Moon went on to be one of the fastest selling Pokemon games in some time.

But Nintendo wasn’t done there. Its NES Classic Mini , which bundled 30 classic NES games into a cute little chassis was one of the hottest presents of the holidays, and its Nintendo Switch reveal had us all very excited indeed for the company’s new console.

Nintendo has a lot to play for at this year’s E3. The Switch will be three months old at that point, and Nintendo will need to use its presence at the show to maintain the console’s momentum, and convince people that it has a lot of games coming for the console for the coming years.

At a minimum we expect the new Super Mario Odyssey to form a big part of Nintendo’s showing, but we’d be disappointed if we didn’t see at least one new big game announced, such as the rumored Pokemon Stars .

Every year we cross our fingers and hope that Retro Studios will be allowed to make another Metroid Prime game, or that Nintendo might see fit to resurrect F-Zero for another outing, but what’s more likely is that the company will be hoping to launch a couple of all new franchises with its new console.

We’ve already seen the company pushing its new games Arms and 1-2 Switch at the console’s hands on event, but we’re sure the company has a lot more in store for the new hardware.

If the response so far has been an indicator of anything, it’s that Nintendo could really use a game to show what the Switch is capable of, in the same way that Wii Sports perfectly showed off the capabilities of the Wii.

Sony

Sony has developed a knack for showstopping E3 presentations in recent years. Two years ago it stole the show by announcing a long-anticipated remake of Final Fantasy 7 alongside Shenmue 3, and last year it let games such as God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn speak for themselves alongside an appearance from legendary game designer Hideo Kojima.

It then went on to be a big hardware year for Sony. It launched a refresh of the PS4’s hardware with the PS4 slim , a new 4K console in the form of the PS4 Pro , and the first ever console virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR .

We think virtual reality will be a big focus for Sony at this year’s event. Its VR headset is out in the wild now, and people need big meaty gaming experiences to convince them it’s a worthwhile investment.

Announced at last year’s presentation, Star Wars VR ended up being an amazing experience whose biggest problem was its length. We’d love to see a full-length Star Wars X-Wing game that can be played in virtual reality in its entirety announced at this year’s show.

We also saw the announcement of a new Spider-Man game developed by Ratchet and Clank studio Insomniac games last year, and with Spider-Man: Homecoming arriving on the big screen a month after E3 in July it’s highly likely that Sony will want to capitalise on the excitement with another announcement.

Otherwise we expect Sony to be pretty much business as usual at this year’s show. It’s developed a comfortable lead over Microsoft in hardware sales, and it’s unlikely to want to upset this too much.

Microsoft

Microsoft has confirmed that this year its conference will take place on Sunday June 11 at 2pm PT/ 5pm ET/ 10pm BST which is slightly earlier than its usual Monday slot.

Last year Microsoft announced not one, but two new pieces of hardware – the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio.

The former sounded at first as though it was going to be a traditional slimline console, but Microsoft then announced it would bundle in an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and support for 4K streaming for good measure.

Project Scorpio, meanwhile, is looking like it’ll be a much more major upgrade. Microsoft is promising it will bring native 4K gaming to consoles for the first time.

With Scorpio due out at the end of this year, we expect it to form a big part of Microsoft’s presentation at this year’s show, particularly since its image was the focus of the company’s flier for the event. The company needs to show off exactly what the console will be capable of, and have a pile of games to demonstrate this.

We wouldn’t be surprised if some existing Xbox One games see Scorpio patches or re-releases as well. Flagship titles like Halo 5, Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 are obvious contenders, but we’re crossing our fingers that Microsoft finally gets around to fixing the Master Chief Collection for a 4K re-release.

We’re also likely to see more talk of Rare’s Sea of Thieves, but beyond that Microsoft doesn’t have many franchises that have been missing in action recently that it could do with resurrecting.

This leaves the door open for third-party publishers to make announcements at their show. Assassin’s Creed seems likely, and Call of Duty is an obvious crowd-pleaser, but we can always dream about some shock surprises from the  home of Halo.

EA, Activition, and the rest

It would be great to see a Half Life 3 reveal. At this point it’s basically not going to happen, but it’s become a tradition to half-heartedly hope for it to make an appearance at E3.

From the rest of the publishers it’s going to be a bit of a weird year with a lot of different hardware combinations to support.

Developers now have around five different pieces of hardware to worry about supporting. There’s the PS4 and PS4 Pro, the Xbox One and the upcoming Project Scorpio, not to mention the Nintendo Switch and the sea of PC gaming combinations.

There’s also the three separate VR headsets to worry about supporting.

We imagine the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio will form the basis for most of their bigger games. These games will still come to the original PS4 and Xbox One, but we think publishers will focus on the more powerful hardware, while mentioning that games will also be available for the older hardware.

Will publishers embrace the Switch? They’ve been burned before with the Wii U, so we’d say it’s unlikely that they put all their eggs in Nintendo’s basket. Expect a couple of smaller announcements for the console however, such as ports from biggest franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.

The plans of specific publishers are a little harder to predict. Activision is unlikely to return to the show, and EA has already announced that it will be hosting its alternative EA Play event once again rather than exhibit at E3.

Last year EA used its event to announce Battlefield 1, which went on to be a very capable reboot of the franchise, but this year we think Star Wars Battlefront 2 is going to be a big hitter for the publisher at their event, particular after it featured in its recent earnings call.

We’ve known the game would be coming late this year for a while now, but now we have confirmation that it’ll feature a single player campaign. EA Play will be an excellent opportunity to showcase exactly how this campaign will work. Considering EA managed to get its Battlefield 1 single player campaign so right recently, we have high hopes for what they’ll do with Battlefront.

After all, EA has its new studio, Motive Studios, working on a Star Wars game alongside Visceral Games. Between them the two studios have a formidable collection of talent including Jade Raymond (of Assassin’s Creed fame), Amy Hennig (Uncharted) and Kim Swift (Portal), so we’ve got high hopes for what they end up producing.

Criterion, the lead developer on Battlefront’s X-wing VR mission, is also apparently working on the game’s development which suggests we could see some VR experiences.

Aside from Star Wars, BioWare’s planned new IP was discussed.  According to EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson, the new game will arrive in early 2018 and is more of an action adventure rather than an action RPG like the studio usually develops.

At the very least we’d expect to see some kind of reveal trailer for this title at EA Play.

After giving its Assassin’s Creed series a year off, 2017 might be the year Ubisoft brings it back with a fresh coat of paint and some new ideas under the hood. The games haven’t gotten bad exactly, but the formula has worn thin over the years. Hopefully the year’s break will have been enough to reignite the franchise.

Finally, Konami will be in attendance. Will it have some new Metal Gear wares to show off now that Kojima has well and truly departed? Despite our curiosity, we have to admit that we’d be ok if it just let the franchise fade into obscurity now that its project lead has left the business.

Finally, outside of the big players there’s sure to be a couple of interesting indie games on show, and these might end up making an appearance at the PC Gaming Show, a conference dedicated to showing off games for the PC gaming market.

Best shows on Netflix: 50 great Netflix TV series

Welcome to TechRadar’s always-updated selection of the best shows on Netflix – 50 TV shows that showcase the best Netflix series available in the UK.

Netflix’s transition from a DVD rental service to a streaming behemoth has been impressive to watch.

The company has sunk so much money and effort into making itself into the number one destination for on-demand content that it isn’t just a place to watch things, it also creates them. So much so that the big TV and movie studios are quite rightly running scared – as you will see with the following best Netflix shows.

While Netflix slowly makes a land grab for movies, it is perhaps its television output that is the reason most people have an account.

There’s a ton of TV content to feast upon – too much to ever consider watching in one lifetime, and more and more of it is in 4K too. And then there’s HDR-  many shows are making the switch to HDR, which means brighter and better picture quality.

We have created the TechRadar guide to the best Netflix shows in the UK right now to make sure you get the best out of Netflix. We will keep this best TV show list constantly updated with the latest television shows that you should be watching and also tell you why.

And with news that Netflix is cracking down on VPN use , if you are in the UK and are accessing the US version of Netflix, your choice is soon to get that bit more limited. All the more reason, then, to browse our extensive list of the best shows available.

Also, the streaming service has finally unveiled its long-rumoured Netflix offline viewing feature, which will allow you to download select shows to watch when you’re away from an internet connection.

Finally, if it’s a night in at the movies you want, then we have compiled the best movies on Netflix in the UK right now.

There’s over 100 to choose from and it’s broken down by category, so you should find something you like.

  • Check out our in-depth and completely updated Netflix review
  • Want to test out the rival? Here’s our Best Amazon Prime Video TV Shows
  • Want know the best movies on Netflix . Then this is your in-depth guide

The Jim Carey movie of the stories by Lemony Snicket was passable. But given there are 13 books on the exploits of Count Olaf and the Baudelaire children -Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – it made sense that Netflix would want to make a show out of it. Focusing on the first four books, the series nails the dour atmosphere of the books, with Patrick Wharburton popping up as Snicket to berate the viewer, much like the books. But it’s because of Neil Patrick Harris’ evil Count Olaf that the show really shines. He’s not as hammy as Carey but manages to be menacing while still having a blast.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Pub quiz time: what does Downton Abbey and Archer have in common? Yup, that’s right, ISIS. Both shows had to magically rid themselves of the ISIS name – Downton’s dog was named ISIS, while Archer’s secret spy organisation had the name as its acronym. In Archer, the show does great at referencing just why the name disappears but that’s the beauty of Archer. It’s a show that is all-knowing and hilarious with it. Now in its seventh season, Archer has slightly rejigged its animation and kept itself completely relevant, cementing itself as one of the best ‘adult’ animations around.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

If it wasn’t for Netflix, Arrested Development would have stayed as a three-season wonder. The streaming giant decided to take a gamble and fund a fourth season of Mitchell Hurwitz’s brilliant family comedy and we are glad it did. While splitting the family up for most of the season meant some of the spark had disappeared – this was done to fit in with the actors’ busy schedules – the fourth season proved that there was still a lot to like about the dysfunctional Bluth family. Filled with season-long in-jokes, perfect site gags and spot-on wordplay, Arrested Development is a comedy that needs to be watched on repeat – and even then you will find something new to laugh at.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

Written by the folks behind Peep Show – Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong – and helped into the world by Danny Boyle, who directed the first feature-long episode, Babylon is a searing satire of the British constabulary. Seen through the eyes of US PR machine Liz Garvey – a fantastic Brit Marling – the show charts a variety of people in the police force, from the ones on the street to those in the executive suites. Brazen in its mix of comedy and drama, Babylon is that rare, intelligent TV series that doesn’t shirk on showing the ineptitude that happens in a world governed by bureaucracy.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Freddie Highmore was one of the sweetest child actors around in his younger years, playing cherubic children in the likes of Finding Neverland and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Now he’s a fully fledged adult he’s taken a much darker turn as future Psycho psycho Norman Bates in the show Bate Motel. A prequel of sorts to the Psycho movies, Bates Motel is a fantastic spin on the horror tale, ramping up the relationship Bates has with his mother – a cold and calculating Vera Farmiga – and sprinkling breadcrumbs along the way that point to how he became who he became.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

As far as dystopian fiction goes, Black Mirror is up there with the very best. Penned by Charlie Brooker, who before this was disassembling and decimating the news in his show NewsWipe, Black Mirror is a handful of caustic tales about the perils of technology, shady governments and human nature as a whole.

Not only has Netflix nabbed the original seven episodes of the show to stream, comprising two series and a Christmas special, but it also funded a further six. The episode’s themes are not too far from issues facing us all today: social media highs and embarrassing lows, technology going awry and new games that start to feel all-too real. Fantastic stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Vince Gilligan made no secret of the fact he wanted to re-visit the world of Breaking Bad and, while many were apprehensive that it was ‘too soon’, we shouldn’t have been worried. Yes, there was always a fear that Better Call Saul would turn out to be what Joey was to Friends but it has thankfully more Frasier to Cheers. This all thanks to Bob Odenkirk’s portrayal of Jimmy McGill, the lawyer who – despite the world he is in – has his heart is in the right place, even if he is consistently in the wrong place. The second season is just as masterful as the first, upping the tension between the Saul and his brother and more groundwork is laid for him becoming Saul Goodman. But that’s the brilliance of this show – you come expecting Saul Goodman but what Gilligan has done is offered up a fantastically flawed character study of a man on the constantly on the brink of being good.

Details of season 3 were recently released and the rumours are true: everyone’s favourite chicken man is to return – Gus Fring! The new season premieres on AMC in the US April 10, so expect it to land on Netflix soon after.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

A comedy about a failed ’90s sitcom star doesn’t sound like the most enticing premise for a cartoon. But when that failed star is a horse and is voiced by the brilliant Will Arnett, it turns out to be comedy gold. It takes a handful of episodes for the show to ease into itself, but once it does it doesn’t let up with the cutting comedic cynicism centred around Hollywood and its, well, bleakness.

The second season manages to pack more laughs into each scene but also shines a light on more serious issues such as mental illness. Yup, this isn’t your normal cartoon.

The third season has also landed, continuing the levels of absurdity and cementing the show as one of the best around.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

More addictive than the meth pushed by Walt and Jessie (apparently, ahem), Breaking Bad is brilliant binge-watching television. The initial plot is simple: a straight-laced teacher is told he has cancer and to make sure he leaves his family with the best possible life, he turns to drug making and dealing. There’s method to his madness as he ends up being pretty good at it. Creator Vince Gilligan has created such a good group of characters, he is currently mining the same world again with Better Call Saul. But that has some way to go reach the highest highs that Breaking Bad offers.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

Is The Crown Netflix’s crowning glory? Not quite, but it is a sumptuous look at one of the world’s most famous families: the Royal family. Charting the early years of the relationship between the Queen (Claire Foy) and Prince Philip  (former Doctor Who Matt Smith), the show was written by Peter Morgan and, at £100 million, is one of the most expensive TV series ever made. Which means there’s enough pomp and ceremony to keep those pining for a Downton Abbey replacement happy.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

When it comes to superhero movies, Marvel are bossing DC thanks to the rich tapestry it has weaved with its cinematic universe. Its TV shows, as fun as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter are, haven’t had the same success as DC’s The Arrow or The Flash. Thankfully Daredevil has come along to change all this. Released in one binge-watching dose, Daredevil is superb television, regardless if you are a superhero fan or not. Matt Murdoch’s (Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox) rise from blind lawyer to vigilante is brutal and steeped in realism. The reason it works so well is that it doesn’t shy away from being violent – each crack and crunch is a world away from Ben Affleck’s terrible movie version. And special mention has to go to Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, his best role since the tortured Private Pyle.

Daredevil season two is out now and adds Elektra and Punisher into the mix. With new showrunners on board, the show has shifted slightly tonally but the brutality of the fight scenes are still there – you just need to check out Episode 3 to see what we mean.

The show was so successful that Punisher is now getting his very own – probably very gory – series. As well as this, Netflix has revealed that Daredevil will be getting a third season and released a teaser for The Defenders, where Daredevil teams up with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist to fight off the terrors of New York.

 

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Mackenzie Crook was one of the breakout stars from The Office, swapping his brilliant performance as the hapless Gareth for Hollywood roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones. But it’s on home soil where he fares best.

The Detectorists, written by and starring Mackenzie, is a warm, brilliant comedy. Based around the lives of a group of metal detectorists, it features brilliant writing, acting and characters – in any given episode, you will either be in tears of laughter or poignancy.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

A BBC version of Douglas Adams’ brilliant detective book didn’t quite hit the mark when it was released back in 2010, but this series certainly does. Starring Elijah Wood as Todd Brotzman and Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently, the show plays like a nuttier version of Sherlock Holmes. Yes, it’s goofy but it’s a fun watch and will please Adams fans.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Following in the footsteps of fellow ‘mumblecore’ members the Duplass brothers – whose brilliant Creep was a Netflix exclusive – Joe Swamberg has hit Netflix with a candid and considered look at sex and relationships.

Easy is an eight-episode look at relationships in Chicago. There’s a different subject for each episode, although each life portrayed eventually overlaps in the show in some way.

Cast-wise, Easy has some surprisingly big names. Malin Akerman and Orlando Bloom star in one vignette, while the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Marc Maron and Dave Franco also make an appearance.

Don’t go into Easy expecting explosive drama or high-tense action, but as a realistic look at other people’s love lives it’s a great, if slightly meandering watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

There was a collective groan by Coen Brothers fans the world over when Fargo the television show was announced. But what could have been darn tootin’ awful ended up being fantastic, thanks to the casting of Billy Bob Thornton who is both funny and psychotic – well, his character is anyway. The series thankfully didn’t retread the movie but added to it, acting as a strange but sublime companion piece. It’s so good, the Coens initially refused to have their name on the show – until they saw it and loved it.

The second season is also now on Netflix and surpasses the first. The plotline veers away from the original film, but the heart of Fargo is still very much in this TV show. The second series flips back 27 years before the events of the original.

Seasons on Netlflix: 2

If you are still sad that Firefly has disappeared from Netflix, The Expanse will hopefully help to fill that space opera gap, albeit with a sprinkling more melodrama and dodgy haircuts. Thomas Jane stars in this pulpy noir-filled show that melds three storylines together. One is a space mystery, the other a spaceship survival story and the other about terrorism. It’s sometimes a confusing watch but it looks fantastic and has already been commissioned for a second season.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Unfairly cancelled after just one season, Freaks and Geeks was the starting point for many AAA comedy actors, directors and writers careers of today. Set around two factions of kids trying to get by in a typical US school: the freaks and, well, the geeks.

James Franco, Seth Rogan and Jason Segel are fantastic as part of the geek ensemble – Franco playing the heart throb, Rogan the monosyllabic beer fiend and Segel, the loveable stoner. While the geeks include Silicon Valley’s Martin Starr and a superb John Francis Daley. But it’s Lind Cardellini who’s standout, playing Lindsay Weir, the math kid who decides to rebel.

Created by Paul Feig, who recently tried his hand at rebooting GhostBusters, and written by Judd Apatow, the show is great antidote to the whimsical teenage world of Dawson Creek and the like.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

 

The Get Down has a lot to live up to. It’s the most expensive Netflix show ever made – knocking Marco Polo of that perch – thanks to its creator Baz Luhrmann’s vibrant style that suits the show’s premise. And that premise is a doozy: The Get Down charts the beginnings of hip-hop in the 1970s, telling the tale through the eyes of young rapper Ezekiel. Bombastic in its approach and beautiful to look at, The Get Down is a potent mix of fictional characters and real-life stars of the hip-hop scene, including Grandmaster Flash who also produced the show. The first six episodes are ready for you to binge on now, with the second six headed for Netflix later in the year.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

The first season of Hannibal is now on Netflix and it’s a real treat. Acting as a companion piece to the movies and books, the show follows Hannibal Lector – a fantastic Mads Mikkelsen – in his early days as a psychiatrist. The scenes of horror are graphic, the scenes of eating food are sumptuous and the whole season is wrapped in an ethereal dreamlike bubble which makes it a little difficult to follow but brilliant to watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Okay, this is an acquired taste, but if you are a child of the ’80s and fancy a nostalgia hit, then He-Man is for you. As with many ’80s cartoons, He-Man was born with the sole purpose to sell toys for Mattel, but this is no bad thing: the first season is a great retro look back at a time when cartoons didn’t need to make a whole lot of sense to work. The basic premise is this: Adam is a humble prince until he mutters the words: “By the power of Grayskull” and then he turns into a beefcake with a broadsword and a battle cat, who has to battle bad guy Skeletor and his evil hordes.

To make sure you get an extra burst of nostalgia, the first season of She-Ra: Princess of Power is also available.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Him & Her is one of the best British sitcoms in years. Based around the lives of a bored, lazy but happy 20-something couple, the show’s plot is slight but it manages to get laughs out of the most mundane happenings. Sarah Solemani is fantastic as Becky whose love for Steve (Russell Tovey) never falters, despite her parents disliking him. And Kerry Howard as Laura, Becky’s sister, is the most hateful character since, well, ever.

All four series are now on Netflix and are an essential watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

Homeland, now in its fifth season, is a very different show now than it was when it first aired back in 2011. Based on the Israeli series Prisoner of War, the first few seasons were based around the premise of a returning war hero that may or not be holding a dark secret. This duplicity has been a running theme since then but the narrative has moved on. What hasn’t changed is the brilliant central performance by Claire Danes as the CIA officer with bi-polar disorder – she’s superb and the glue that holds this sometimes disparate show together.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

If there ever was a poster boy for Netflix, House of Cards would be it. Funded completely by the streaming service, Cards’ first season boasted direction by David Fincher and acting by Kevin Spacey and was addictive television. The reason: Netflix positively wanted you to binge watch, putting all episodes up at once. Now in its third season, Netflix’s Card trick is still impressive and shows just how far Netflix has come, given it’s shot in both 4K and HDR.

House of Cards Season 4 is more timely than ever before. Frank Underwood is fighting to get re-voted in as president which, on the face of it, is about as likely as Donald Trump rising to power. Oh…

Seasons on Netflix: 4

Initially made on a shoe-string budget, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia first season had a cult following, but low viewing figures meant it was destined to be a one-series wonder. Thankfully, everything changed when Season 2 was eventually green-lit, thanks to some big-time star power. Danny De Vito joined for a 10-episode run that was extended because he loved it so much. He’s still in the show that’s now in its 11th season, bringing with him huge viewing figures. The antics of Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Rob McElhenney, the show’s creator), Charlie (Charlie Kelly) and Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) won’t be for everyone – at its darkest the show’s ‘comedy’ themes range from nazism to drug abuse – but stick with it and this deliciously depraved classic will reward you.A new, 11th season, has finally landed on Netflix, after airing in the US earlier this year. The second episode features one of the most horrific head wounds ever seen on TV. You have been warned.

Seasons on Netflix: 11

And there was us thinking that Daredevil’s subject matter was dark. Jessica Jones is another tale set in Hell’s Kitchen that may be under the Marvel banned but is about as far removed from the bromance of Thor and Iron Man that you are likely to see.

Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter is superb as the titular Jones, a private detective with superpowers and super issues. This is nocturnal noir that moves in the same circles as Daredevil – figuratively and literally as both characters will eventually team up in the Defenders. It may not have the bone-crunching violence that Daredevil is famed for, but there’s enough booze, sex and black humour on the screen to make this a cracking comic-book caper that’s strictly adults only.

A second season has been announced but. It has also been revealed that shooting of The Defenders will happen later this year.

Marvel will also release all episodes of its new Marvel show Luke Cage on 30 September,. Cage featured heavily in Jessica Jones, and as the below trailer shows, the show is set to be fantastic.

 

Check out our Jessica Jones review

Seasons on Netflix: 1

This awkward rom-com has been penned by Judd Apatow and it’s yet again another hit for Netflix Originals. It’s a similar bedfellow to Master of None, but it improves on the themes of dating, love and city life with characters that are more rounded and a touch more awkward. Community’s Gillian Jacobs is great as the prim Mickey, while Paul Rust is effortless as slacker Gus. The show stealer, though, is Apatow’s uber talented daughter Iris who plays a frankly horrible child star.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Luke Cage is the latest addition to Netflix’s impressive and growing Marvel TV show offering. Marvel has created a rich cinematic universe and although some of its TV shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter) have struggled to stay on their feet others like Jessica Jones and Daredevil have flourished.

Luke Cage is more in the same vein as Jessica Jones and Daredevil, with less light-hearted superhero fun and more hard-hitting themes, violence, and grit.

After making his debut in the first series of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is getting his own show which sees him swap Hell’s Kitchen for Harlem, delving into his origins as a hero. Viewers who lamented the fact that they didn’t get to see more of him in Jessica Jones will enjoy the opportunity to find out more about what makes his character tick here. Don’t worry if you haven’t watched Jessica Jones, it’s not a requirement to understand or appreciate anything about Luke Cage.

The first season in its entirety is on Netflix now, making it perfect to settle in and binge watch.

The next season in the Defenders series is Iron Fist and, as this, trailer shows, the show is going to be all about the action sequences.

 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Idris Elba was a relatively unknown actor when he blew us all away as Stringer Bell in The Wire. After starring in the show his career catapulted him into the A List, but he thankfully never forgot his TV roots. Luther is a cop show with a difference, and that difference is Elba. He brings that bit extra to a cop who is battling both deranged criminals and his own demons. He befriends murderers and breaks rules, all amongst the beautiful but broken backdrop of London’s East End.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

Marco Polo may not have had the accolades that Netflix would have hoped for such an pricey series – at $90 million only Game of Thrones is more expensive – but it has enough going for it to keep you entertained. Benedict Wong is Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan dynasty, while Lorenzo Richelmy plays Marco Polo, the Venetian whose travels to China see him given a place in the Khan’s court.

Bombastic and old school, Marco Polo is a stunning watch – it’s also HDR-ready so make sure you have a TV that can handle this type of content.

It was announced recently that Marco Polo will not be getting a third season, making it the first Netflix-owned series to be cancelled.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Aziz Ansari was part of one of the best comedy ensembles ever in Parks and Recreation, but in Master of None he proves he can hold his own when he goes it alone. Channeling Louie CK, by way of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Master of None is a fantastic look at being in your 30s in Hollywood and all the trappings that go with it. Ansari plays the fictional Dev but this sitcom comes off as deeply personal and is all the better for it.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

The world’s fascination with real crime seems to be at its highest at the moment and it’s all thanks to the podcast Serial. Now on to its second series, Serial highlights cases of crime in forensic detail. Making a Murderer is in a similar vein. This 10-part series looks at Steven Avery, someone who spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and is then accused of a different crime. The show has been ten years in the making and is gripping stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Narcos is that wonderful thing: a TV show that doesn’t scrimp on controversy. Based on the exploits of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the show examines the criminal’s rise to the top of one of the biggest drug rings the world has seen, while constantly trying to avoid the clutches of the DEA.

Uncompromising, uncomfortable but completely unforgettable, Narcos is exactly the sort of thing that Netflix should be commissioning. It’s also the sort of thing that HBO would have snapped up just a few years ago – which is very telling as to where television is today.

The second season of Narcos is out now!

Seasons on Netflix: 2

The OA rounds off what has been an exceptional year for television on Netflix. Co-created by and starring the ever-brilliant Brit Marling, the show consists of eight episodes that rival Stranger Things for, well, strangeness.

Marling is a blind woman who comes back after disappearing for many years. Her sight is restored and she has a tale to tell. Although there are eight episodes they vary wildly in length – from 70 minutes to 30 minutes. The whole thing has been made to make you feel uneasy and it does a great job of that.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

While the US Office took nine seasons to tell its ordinary tale of office life, the original UK version was on air for just two six-episode series and a Christmas double, and it’s perfect. Ricky Gervais manages to make the small – office life and the boredom, frustration and romance that can bring – seem big and does it with perfect comedy timing. Gervais and his co-creator Stephen Merchant have produced one of the greatest comedies ever made and as for David Brent… well, we all know one, don’t we?

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Orange Is The New Black consistently tries to oust House of Cards from the Netflix top spot, with its superb tale of life in a women’s prison. It’s so popular that its makers have announced that the show will be running until at least season seven.

The show has finally returned for a fourth season and things of gotten very dark! Racial tensions and issues with the US prison system are the main plot points for season four and while the comedy is still there, it’s slathered with a fair bit of drama.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

Fresh from giving horror anthologies a new spin with American Horror Story, creator Ryan Murphy has taken this idea and expanded it into the world of crime. The first series of American Crime Story focuses on the very public case of OJ Simpson and the death of his wife Nicole. It’s superb TV, dramatising what was one of the most engrossing true stories to come out of the ’90s. Cuba Gooding Jr is great as OJ but it’s the supporting cast that steals the show. Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta and Courtney B Vance ham it up to the max and it makes for some of the most entertaining television in years.

All nine seasons of Peep Show are now on Netflix – and if you haven’t seen the show, then you are in for a treat. Charting the rather mundane lives of two flatmates Jez (Robert Webb) and Mark (David Mitchell), the show is a wry look at adults trying and failing to be adults.

All shot in first person – hence the name – Peep Show doesn’t shirk from sex, drugs and political incorrectness but it does it all in such a brilliantly British way, that you don’t mind at all when you are watching some of the most awkward TV moments, including one of the characters serving up a dead dog for dinner.

Don’t ask, just watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 9

From the mind of Jonathan Nolan – Inception writer and brother to Christopher – this twist-ridden series is as high concept as it gets. A computer algorithm offers up ‘people of interest’ to a crack crime-fighting team which consists of former Jesus Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, last seen chewing the scenery as Lost’s big bad Benjamin Linus. While the first season is a little by the numbers, this show has blossomed into something of a must watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

As its third season nears, it’s a perfect time to get into Rick and Morty. The show on its most linear level focuses on the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. But it’s oh so much more. It’s a meditation on sci-fi tropes, a pop culture cauldron, a high-concept cartoon that’s endlessly quotable and also a show that contains more than its fair share of fart jokes. It’s endlessly bingeable and very funny – all thanks to its creator, Community’s Dan Harmon.

Slathered with a fantastic dose of black comedy, Santa Clarita Diet stars Drew Barrymore are the stereotypical TV mum, with one difference: she likes eating people. This brand-new show on Netflix is a great send up of the family sitcom, taking all the tropes that make Modern Family and the like so successful, then turning them on their head, and then eating their head. And be warned: when things are eaten it’s all very grizzly. Timothy Olyphant also stars as the dad who is happy for his wife to be a flesh eater.

The Wachowski siblings have been more miss than hit lately – Cloud Atlas was brave but flawed, Jupiter Ascending was just flawed – but Sense8 sees something of a return to form for the directing duo.

Yes there are problems with Sense8 but this uneven show is brilliantly high concept and packed with interesting characters. Well, eight characters in all, from different parts of the globe that are connected in a variety of ways.

The disparate batch of characters means this is a show that has a lot in keeping with Cloud Atlas, where different genres nestled uneasily against each other. But it’s a brave show and one that suits the lavish cinematography the Wachowskis are famed for.

A Sense8 Christmas special has been added to keep you entertained until the second season lands.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

Sherlock is a show that has been drip-fed to it audience over a number of years. This is partly due to its stories working better as three-episode arcs but also because its main stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have become bonafide superstars during its run, so pinning them down is somewhat difficult.

Cumberbatch is superb has the modern day Sherlock, but the show works because of a potent mix of scriptwriting (thanks to Doctor Who’s Stephen Moffat), deft direction and a fair bit of challenging the viewer. Superb stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

There’s very good reason Sons of Anarchy is the highest rated show on FX ever – its Shakespeare-esque plot (think Hamlet on bikes), following the tumultuous lives of a motorcycle gang, has everyone who watches it gripped. The show ended in 2014 after seven glorious seasons – although later seasons could never quite reach the glory days of one to three – and is perfect fodder for those looking for another Breaking Bad-style fix.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

Now celebrating its 50th year, Star Trek is a movie and TV phenomenon that has no signs of slowing down. The original series, The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine have all landed on Netflix but it is the first two series that are the best.

Watching it now, the original Star Trek maybe full of creaky sets and suspect acting but the show was bold, colourful and slathered in ’60s sci-fi innovation. The first series is superb, with perhaps the greatest-ever TV double act: William Shatner’s Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock. Kirk is all bluster and pomp, Spock is cool, calm and authoritative.

Unlike the original series, the Next Generation took a few seasons to get things right but it still fantastic viewing. Patrick Stewart is effortless as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the rest of the crew are – including Data, William T Riker and Geordi La Forge – up there in stature with the original crew.

Seasons on Netflix: 3 (Original Series); 7 (The Next Generation)

When it comes to TV and movies, the ’80s is the nostalgia decade of the moment. Whether it’s Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special that plays like a Steven Spielberg film, if Spielberg still made films like he did in the Eighties, or The Goldbergs and Red Oaks mining the decade for laughs, filmmakers can’t get enough of the shell suits and Sony Walkmans.

Stranger Things is another brilliant homage to this era. Leaning heavily on Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King – so much King – the story revolves around a small town, a group of friends, a missing person and a dodgy science lab. Writing anything else would give away the myriad twists in a show that is full of brilliant creepy fun.

The second season of Stranger Things was one of the most talked about things at this year’s Superbowl – watch the trailer to see why.

 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

The Thick Of It is perfect satire. It is the closest we will ever get to the machinations of politics, until they decide to let cameras roll 24/7 at Number 10. From the ever-sweary Malcolm Tucker to the string of forever-wrong MPs he has to protect with his profanities, The Thick Of It manages to show the world what an omnishambles a government in charge can be, with hilarious consequences.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

The Trip is the perfect gig for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and one that must have been too good to pass on. Based on the flimsy premise that hyper realised versions of the two comedians drive around rural England eating in the best restaurants as food critics, the show shouldn’t work but it really really does. Completely unscripted, each episode is strewn with movie star impressions and passive-aggressive jokes, where the two try to one-up each other. Director Michael Winterbottom manages to hold the show together with clever editing and cinematography and manages to add subtle plot through phone conversations with Steve and Rob and their respective families.

The second season has also landed on Netflix and it feels like a sumptuous main course. Italy is the setting and its beautiful surroundings seems to have made the pair more relaxed about life, while still bringing the funny.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

We’ll admit that we were a little disappointed when we heard director Guillermo Del Toro was making a show called Troll Hunters that it wasn’t a spin-off of the excellent Scandinavian documentary, but this animated show is a delight. It stars the vocal talent of Ron Perlman, the late Anton Yelchin and Kelsey Grammar and focuses on a teenager who is chosen to be the guardian of Arcadia, a town overrun with trolls. Part one is out now and features some beautiful animation from DreamWorks.

Seasons on Netflix: 1 (Part one)

Someone escaping from a Domesday cult shouldn’t be a recipe for comedy but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manages to squeeze the funny out of this premise. Created by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper as the title character, the show sparkles with wit and is the right side of kooky – unlike some other shows *cough* New Girl *cough* we won’t mention.

Season Two of Kimmy Schmidt has arrived and is fizzing with the same energy of Season One.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

The prequel to a film sequel that no one watched, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is both fantastic and utterly stupid. It has a cast list to die for – most of Mad Men are in there as is Ant Man’s Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper – and focuses on the goings on at the first day at camp.

These goings on include X-Files style conspiracies, homoerotic dancing, long lost rock singers, journalists going undercover and government hit men. In the original film the cast were in their 30s and were playing 17 year olds. In the prequel, the same cast is now in their 40s and are playing their characters’ younger selves. If you can get your head around that, then you are going to love the show.

Netflix has also announced that it is making a sequel to Wet Hot American Summer, which follows the gang 10 years after they left school. Set to film next year, the average age of most of the cast will be 44person o. Brilliant.

HP hardens EliteBook protection with Sure Click, a browser secured in virtual hardware

More and more browsers, such as Google Chrome, are implementing sandboxing to prevent any malware from escaping the browser. HP’s new Sure Click technology is something new, however: a hardware-based, isolated browsing session that will be a feature on upcoming PCs.hp elitebook x360

HP Sure Click will first appear in the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2. Other Elite PCs will add support for Sure Click during the second half of the year.

HP partnered with Bromium, a maker of “virtual hardware,” to create Sure Click. Bromium has said that it believes virtualization can be an answer to securing the PC but that creating an actual virtual machine can be too unwieldy.

The idea is that Sure Click will trigger without the user’s intervention. Every time a user visits a website, Sure Click will engage, providing a small virtualization layer between the browser and the rest of the system. That virtualization will, in turn, protect the Elite 360 and its user data.

Initially, however, Sure Click users will be restricted to two niche browsers: Internet Explorer, which Microsoft is trying to phase out in favor of Edge on Windows 10, and Chromium, the open-source version of Chrome. IE does service legacy enterprise apps, however.

Why this matters: Security is paramount in a commercial PC. HP has already launched some innovative virtualization technology as part of its Workspace in the Elite x3 Windows phone. Now, it looks like HP’s working to help eliminate another atack vector for its corporate customers.

Everything we think we know about the LG G6

This post has been updated with a press release from LG about the phone’s Quad DAC and confirmation of the Snapdragon 821 chip.

With Mobile World Congress just around the corner, everyone is going to be on the lookout for the hottest new Android phone. This year that won’t be Samsung’s Galaxy S8, as the company has already announced that it won’t be bringing its flagship handset to Barcelona this year, so the attention will be squarely on LG and its G6.

Last year’s G5 made a splash for its quirky modular concept, but after disappointing sales (and an equally flat V20), LG will be looking to capitalize on Samsung’s absence with a major release that gives people a reason to buy one of its handsets again. And based on what we’re hearing, the new G6 might do just that.

lg g5 removable battery
LG’s G5 featured a unique modular system that let you add a bigger battery and a better camera.

New phones are always an improvement over their predecessors, but the G6 is shaping up to be a complete departure from the G5. Last year, LG introduced its modular phone concept, which features a handset and a set of swappable Friends designed to bring added functionality. There was a bigger battery, camera grip, and a digital audio converter, but ultimately the system was too clunky to catch on. Thankfully, LG seems to be scrapping the idea altogether, and from what we’ve heard, the G6 will be a standard handset without any removable parts.

Last year’s G5 was a relatively small phone, with a 5.3-inch, 1440 x 2560 display. With the G6, LG is going bigger. LG Display has already outed the screen for its new flagship handset: a “Full Vision” 5.7-inch LCD screen with a slightly taller than usual ratio of 18:9. The size is a little strange for a phone, but LG says the extra height “will provide users with greater immersion than previous displays and allow consumers to multitask by using (Nougat’s) dual-screen feature.” In addition to the size, LG says the screen will be thinner and more responsive than its previous displays, as well as being easier to see in direct sunlight and more power efficient. The pictures that have been circulating also show a screen with rounded corners, a departure from the right-angle corners we’re used to seeing.

lg g6 invite
The invitation to LG’s G6 event points to the release of a large-screen phone with almost no bezel.

In its official invitation for the Mobile World Congress press release, LG all but confirms the images we’ve seen, showing an image of a completely bezel-less screen with the words “Big Screen” above it. Next to the image is a diagram of a hand holding  a schematic of the screen under “That Fits,” with the implication being that the form factor will be somewhat small despite the large display.

The Verge has posted what looks to be a product rendering for the G6, and from what we can see, it’s a beauty. Based on an image of the top half of the device, it has an ultra-skinny bezel and just enough room above the display to fit the camera and sensors. Reportedly, the screen-to-bezel ratio is greater than 90 percent, which should kick off a year full of handsets with edge-to-edge screens.

lg g6 leak
This image shows a reported rendering of the LG G6 with super-skinny bezels.

Images of a leaked prototype published by Droid Life seems to confirm the slim bezels, as well as the existence of a headphone jack at the top of the device. And like the G5, there will be a USB-C port on the bottom and a fingerprint sensor on the back, since there’s nary any room on the front.

LG hasn’t done a very good job with keeping the details of the G6 secret, but it actually outed one of its best features in a teaser video. In a series of interviews describing people’s wish lists for their ideal smartphone, it highlights waterproof alongside big screen, smaller body, and reliability, so it’s a safe bet that the new handset will be able to get wet. However, that likely means the battery won’t be removable, which has been one of the defining characteristics of previous G handsets. We haven’t heard any rumors about how big the battery will be, but we’re hoping it packs enough juice to get that giant screen through a whole day of use.

lg g6 prototype
Droid Life has published images of what appears to be a prototype of the LG G6.

LG was one of the first phones to introduce a dual-camera system, and it’s not about to downgrade for the G6. The G6 included a 16MP main camera and an 8MP super-wide-angle one, which allowed for images with a 135-degree field of view, along with an f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization. Prototype pictures have shown that the G6 will come equipped with a dual-camera setup as well, though we don’t know too much about it. However, we expect that LG will get into the portrait game for depth-of-field images.

While Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is all but confirmed to get the Snapdragon 835 processor, it seems that LG will have to rely on last year’s best chip to power the G6. Qualcomm is reportedly waiting until Samsung’s spring launch to debut its new chip in a smartphone, and a leaked slide published by Android Community all but confirms the 821 as the brawn behind the G6. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the chip is plenty capable inside the Pixel and OnePlus 3T, and beefy enough to run Daydream VR games, but a lot will depend on LG’s interface. Traditionally, LG has added numerous themes, features, and apps to Android, so we’ll have to wait to see how heavy a hand it uses this time around.

While some other handsets have been moving to Bluetooth audio for their audio needs, LG seems to be going all-in on wired audio. For one, the various leaks of the G6 indicate that LG will be keeping the headphone jack around for at least one more year, much to the delight of wired earbud fans everywhere.

But more interesting is the inclusion of an upgraded Quad digital-to-analog converter. According to a press release by LG itself, the DAC, an upgraded version of the one that first made its appearance in last year’s V20, “features fine control of left and right sound, enhancing sound balance and reducing noise. … The new Quad DACs have increased circuit integration, lowering the negative distortion to 0.0002 percent of the luxury audio level and minimizing the loss of acoustic information. As the loss of information is less, the listener can hear a clean sound close to the original sound.” Clearly, LG will be positioning the G6 as a premium product for traditional audio enthusiasts, and will likely use it as a selling point against the HTC U and other Android phones using USB-C and Bluetooth to handle audio.

LG has announced that it will be showing off the G6 for the first time at noon (3:00 am PST) on Feb. 26 at the Saint Jordi Club in Barcelona. Despite the announcement, however, VentureBeat reports the phones won’t hit U.S. shelves until April 7, which will likely bump up against the anticipated release of the Galaxy S8, which is due to be unveiled in late March. Pricing is likely to be in the range of the $650 G5, though there are conflicting reports on exactly how much it might cost. A report from the Wall Street Journal suggests the price could dip into the $500-$600 range, while another rumor suggests the G6 could have slightly varying prices depending on the market.

This story, “Everything we think we know about the LG G6” was originally published by Greenbot.

Microsoft’s president wants a Geneva Convention for cyberwar

Microsoft is calling for a Digital Geneva Convention, as global tensions over digital attacks continue to rise. The tech giant wants to see civilian use of the internet protected as part of an international set of accords, Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, said in a blog post.brad smith rsa 2017

The manifesto, published alongside his keynote address at the RSA conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, argued for codifying recent international norms around cyberwarfare and for establishing an independent agency to respond to and analyze cyberattacks.

What’s more, he called on the tech industry to band together to protect users.

Such an agreement is necessary, in his opinion, because warfare in cyberspace involves infrastructure that’s controlled and operated by private companies like Microsoft. Furthermore, some attacks, like the 2014 Sony hack widely attributed to North Korea, have targeted civilians.

“There’s an additional consequence that results from all this,” Smith wrote. “The tech sector today operates as the first responders to nation-state attacks on the internet. A cyber-attack by one nation-state is met initially not by a response from another nation-state, but by private citizens.”

Smith cited an attack the tech titan dealt with last year when it discovered a nation-state actor using domains aping trademarks it holds. Microsoft then got a court order allowing it to redirect the traffic going to those domains, blocking the attack.

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“Since last summer, in response to one extended such nation-state attack, we have taken down 60 domains in 49 countries spread over six continents,” he wrote.

Smith called for tech companies to unite on cybersecurity issues to protect users. Furthermore, he called for the industry to promise not to assist with offensive attacks.

“Even in a world of growing nationalism, when it comes to cybersecurity the global tech sector needs to operate as a neutral Digital Switzerland,” Smith wrote. “We will assist and protect customers everywhere. We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere. We need to retain the world’s trust. And every government, regardless of its policies or politics, needs a national and global IT infrastructure that it can trust.”

He also wants those tech companies to contribute to an agency that would play a role similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Such an agency would, in his vision, include participants from governments, private industry, academia and civil society. That new group would be empowered to investigate attacks and attribute particular actions to certain nations.

All of this is complicated by the current geopolitical climate. In one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump withdrew U.S. support from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping free trade agreement negotiated under the watch of his predecessor that included the participation of Australia, Canada, Japan, and other nations.

It’s unclear if Trump would be inclined to take part in a multilateral diplomatic exercise, such as the one Smith is suggesting. Such a convention on cybersecurity norms is made doubly difficult by reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered attacks on the U.S. Democratic National Committee in an attempt to get Trump elected.

Google’s new cloud service is a unique take on a database

Google has turned a database service that it uses to run some of its mission-critical products into an offering for its public cloud customers.p1200646

On Tuesday, the company launched Cloud Spanner, a new, fully managed database that’s supposed to provide the transactional consistency of a traditional database plus the scalability and performance of a NoSQL database. It’s based on the same systems that run the company’s own Spanner database internally.

Usually, businesses have to pick either a traditional or a NoSQL database, and each comes with particular trade-offs. Traditional databases provide better transactional consistency, but can be hard to scale. NoSQL databases are better at scaling but sacrifice consistency.

Cloud Spanner is designed to reduce those trade-offs, and it’s also delivered as a fully managed service. Among other things, that means Google will manage hardware, software and replication of content for a database that can span multiple data centers.

The service will be useful for companies that need millisecond-level consistency in their databases worldwide, according to Nick Heudecker, a research director at Gartner. In an interview, he called out financial services and advertising as two industries that might benefit from Cloud Spanner.

Heudecker did point out that the service will require companies to port existing applications, which may prove challenging. Google is working with partners to help customers move over, according to Deepti Srivastava, the product manager for Cloud Spanner.

Cloud Spanner has generated more interest than most new Google services, based on response to a closed alpha test, Srivastava said.

Cloud Spanner grew out of a project that began in 2007, when a team of Google employees set out to solve the problem of choosing between NoSQL and traditional databases. That led to a paper, published in 2012, describing the company’s Spanner database, which uses a number of novel techniques, including atomic and GPS clocks inside data centers to maintain time consistency.

Spanner is used to operate Google services like AdWords and Google Play. According to the company, it can handle tens of millions of queries per second.

That pedigree is a feature of Cloud Spanner that appealed to Peter Bakkum, the platform lead at Quizlet. The education software company, which offers a popular set of study tools for students, is evaluating how to scale its database infrastructure.

Quizlet has been testing Cloud Spanner since the closed alpha phase and may end up using the service to replace its existing setup of MySQL databases. Refactoring Quizlet’s applications to use Cloud Spanner will require work, but that’s true of all the possible upgrade paths, Bakkum said.

“We need a fundamentally different architecture to do scaling, and any of those solutions have a difficult migration path,” he said.

Cloud Spanner’s popularity may be throttled somewhat by Google’s position in the cloud market. While the company has been aggressive in releasing new capabilities and improving its services to attract new customers, its use still lags behind that of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Using Cloud Spanner means bringing data to Google’s cloud platform and building an application that targets it. While some companies are comfortable working with multiple cloud providers, not all of them are.

That said, Gartner’s Heudecker said Google is the only major cloud provider offering a product like this one and it will be hard for rivals to catch up.

“Cloud Spanner is not just software,” Heudecker said. “It is the union of software, hardware — in the form of atomic clocks in Google’s data centers — and an incredibly robust network connecting their data centers together. So it’s not just writing code. It’s a lot of investment and a lot of operational expertise that Google excels at.”

Right now, Cloud Spanner instances can only exist in one of Google’s cloud regions, though they’ll be replicated across multiple availability zones inside those regions. In the future, Cloud Spanner customers will be able to have one database that’s kept in sync across multiple regions.