Canadian firm’s fleet-tracking service ‘Radar’ has made it a market darling again

 

A visit to trucking firm Titanium Transportation helps explain why BlackBerry’s stock is once again a darling in Canadian markets, having soared 70% in two months.

Nestled in an industrial area some 50 kilometres north of Toronto, the trucker is an early adopter of a new BlackBerry fleet-tracking service known as Radar, which uses $400 boxes to collect and transmit information on movement, temperature and physical contents of Titanium’s 1,300 truck trailers.

Efficiency gains tied to Radar should allow Titanium to get maximum utilization of its fleet, positioning it to cut the number of trailers by 5% and also reduce labour costs, company executive Marilyn Daniel told Reuters.

“Time is everything in our world,” she said. “Being able to tell a driver where exactly a trailer is as opposed to having a driver search through a yard for sometimes hours has been a definite improvement.”

Radar is emblematic of BlackBerry chief executive John Chen’s strategy for turning around the Canadian icon, by steering the company away from consumer electronics and back to its roots of selling products to businesses.

Industrial customers

Beyond Radar, BlackBerry is also betting on other types of software for industrial customers. It is leveraging its QNX subsidiary’s software foothold deep inside car infotainment consoles to expand into self-driving technology, while promoting its cybersecurity software and services to thwart increased threats from hacking.

BlackBerry’s stock rallied after it showed signs of progress in quarterly earnings results at the end of March, followed by news in April of a nearly $1 billion cash windfall from arbitration with Qualcomm expected to fund future investments in growth. That comes in the face of an expected revenue decline to below $1 billion this year for the first time since 2004. At its smartphone peak, BlackBerry had annual sales of $20 billion.

Among the recent BlackBerry bulls are institutional investors such as Nokota Management, which took a new position with almost 4.8 million shares in the first quarter, and Oppenheimer Funds, which added 3.3 million more shares to its existing 4 million share stake, according to U.S. securities filings.

Iridian Asset Management and Connor, Clark & Lunn Investment Management, two of BlackBerry’s biggest shareholders, each raised their stakes by around a quarter as of the end of March. Nokota did not respond to requests for comment, while the others all declined to discuss their stakes in BlackBerry.

The strategy is not without risks. BlackBerry faces challenges entering the telematics market, where analysts say rivals include Omnitracs, Teletrac Navman, Tomtom NV , Trimble Inc and U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc.

Verizon last year paid some $2.4 billion to buy GPS vehicle tracking firm Fleetmatics Group Plc.

Radar “is not a unique and earth-shattering product,” said Nicholas Farhi, a partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants who advises companies on optimising logistics operations.

That’s why some investors advise caution, saying it is too soon to figure out how to properly value the new BlackBerry offerings.

“It’s not the type of situation you can justify from a valuation standpoint,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management, which manages more than $1.5 billion and exited the stock a decade ago, when BlackBerry phones were still dominant. “It is all about hope and promise.”

 

Over-the-air DVR: Do you really need it?

 

One of the most interesting trends in cord cutting this year is the resurgence of over-the-air TV and new tools to make the most of it.

Over-the-air DVR maker Tablo, for instance, recently launched a new two-tuner model, and has several other products on the way. Plex recently took its own DVR service out of beta with live TV feeds and more tuner support, and tuner maker SiliconDust is working on a DVR service as well. Device makers like Amazon and Roku also seem to be inching toward full-blown DVR support in their smart TV products, which already offer time-shifting of live antenna TV.

While it’s great to see so much antenna innovation, there are other ways to watch broadcast TV on your own schedule, ones that don’t demand making an up-front investment in new hardware. Before you dive in with a product like Tablo, Plex DVR, or TiVo Roamio OTA, consider the alternatives.

Hulu + CBS + PBS: Doing the math

The most obvious alternative to an over-the-air DVR box is a subscription to Hulu, which offers new episodes from ABC, Fox, and NBC the day after they air. Hulu’s on-demand service costs $8 per month with ads, or $12 for a mostly commercial-free experience, and is available on pretty much every streaming device.

This still leaves you without current CBS programming, but you can add many of those shows with a CBS All Access subscription, which includes both a live network feed and on-demand episodes the day after they air. CBS All Access costs $6 per month with ads, or $10 per month for a plan that mostly excludes them. Like Hulu, CBS has apps on all the major streaming TV devices.

cbsallaccess

Amazon

CBS All Access offers a live feed and on-demand shows for $6 per month

As for PBS, many new episodes are available for free through the PBS and PBS Kids apps on streaming devices. Some local stations also offer an expanded catalog through a service called PBS Passport, which requires a minimum $5-per-month donation.

These services do have a few catches, though: For the ad-free plans, some shows still have commercials due to contractual obligations. And with CBS All Access, several shows—including Big Bang Theory—only offer a random selection of episodes, rather than all the most recent ones. You also won’t be able to watch sports or any other live programming on ABC, NBC, and Fox through Hulu’s on-demand service.

 

CIA Reveals It Was Hacked by an Insider Network of Snack Thieves

 

The Central Intelligence Agency admitted this week that it had been compromised for months in 2013 by a network of high-tech snack thieves.

A report released this week shows the premier US intelligence body discovered that insider hackers had stolen more than $3,300 worth of potato chips, chocolate bars and other snacks from its vending machines.

The culprits weren’t undercover agents or veteran Al-Qaeda chasers, but instead “contractors” – of which the CIA has thousands, doing everything from terror analysis to servicing the machines that answer American spies’ junk food needs.

A CIA Inspector General’s report on the candy cabal was released following a Freedom of Information Act request by BuzzFeed journalist Jason Leopold.

Unsurprisingly for the CIA, the report is heavily redacted – no names, or sources and methods behind the investigation. But it shows that an unidentified contractor figured out how to get snacks without paying.CIA Reveals It Was Hacked by an Insider Network of Snack Thieves

The machines took stored value payment cards from the FreedomPay company.
The contractor figured out that if you disconnect the cable that connects the machines with FreedomPay’s cloud-based payment systems, they would accept a card that has no more funds.

The culprit told friends who also disconnected the machines’ cords to download snacks for free.

But, of course, the agency finally caught up. After suspicions were raised, CIA officials put surveillance cameras on the machines, and figured out the scam.

The main perpetrator “admitted to originating the idea of how to effect the thefts based on his knowledge of computer networks,” according to the report.

Members of the cabal were rounded up, interrogated and then escorted from the building and fired by their employers.

 

For those who made it in previous years, a shot at a new life

 

“Kismat achhi thi, isiliye itna achha college mil gaya, nahin toh mein kaha padh paati.” Ashu, a third-year BA programme student at JMC College, is fully aware of the arduous journey she’s had to undertake. “But apart from luck, had I not played handball or other sports at school, I would have never known about JMC,” said Ashu, who got 80 per cent in her Class XII board examination, and got into the college through sports quota for softball. “At the Vikaspuri centre where I used to play, my seniors were already in college. They filled my admission form for me. I just went for the trials,” she said.

Ashu, who comes from Najafgarh, has three siblings — a sister who is disabled, a brother who dropped out of school after Class IX and now works in a factory, and another sister who is currently in school.

Ashu’s father died of a heart attack when she was 15. Her mother works as a guard at a girls’ hostel in Palam. “I performed very well during trials and the tournaments, so I study free of cost. My mother is a Class XII pass, so she helps me study. In the college, as lectures were delivered in English, I used to face problems, but my friends and teachers supported me,” she said.

While Ashu wants to pursue a career in sports, her mother wants her to do a BEd and become a teacher.du admission 2017, sports quota, du sports students, jmc college, st stephens college, du,ac,in, delhi uni, indian express

For the time being, she has another aim: “This much I know, I will be able to guide my sister well and make sure she gets to pursue what she is interested in.”

For Ruchi Singh, who graduated from St Stephen’s College this year, the path to sports was very different. Singh, who comes from a Rajput family in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, never thought her father’s wish — that she learn shooting for self defence — would become a ticket to DU.

“In 2005, there was a shooting camp in my village. My father took me there after school. The coach there gave me five shots to hit. It was my first time holding a pistol, though I had seen many at home, locked in cupboards. I hit the five targets; I don’t know how. The coach told me I should practise more. Only after I came home did my dad tell me I had done well,” said Singh.

HP Spectre x2 review: It beats the Surface Pro on value, if not performance

 

Our review of HP’s Spectre x2 12.3-inch 2-in-1 tablet begins with a simple question: Can HP continue its tradition of being an elegant, yet durable alternative to Microsoft’s Surface Pro flagship?

The answer is Yes. HP took the best bits from its Elite x2 tablet and the first-generation Spectre x2 tablet (2015), then updated the new Spectre x2 with the latest Kaby Lake chips. The Spectre x2 gives you more features for the money than the Surface Pro: Our $1,300 review unit included both the keyboard and the stylus right in the box (hear that, Microsoft?). It’s a shame this solid value is let down by middling battery life and a pesky fan.

 HP Spectre x2 2017man / ID

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Specs: Kaby Lake and an outstanding display
  • Kickstand, pen loop anchor the productivity
  • Extra software
  • Performance: Marred by mediocre battery life
  • Conclusion: Good value despite a few flaws

Specs: Kaby Lake and an outstanding display

HP will offer one $1,300 retail version of the Spectre x2 (the one we tested):

  • Model name: Spectre x2 12-c012dx
  • CPU: Core i7-7560U
  • RAM: 8GB  LPDDR-1600
  • SSD: 360GB PCIe NVMe

Four more SKUs will be available via HP.com:

An entry-level Core i5 version for $1,150:

    • Model name: Spectre x2 12t
  • CPU: Core i5-7260U
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR-1600
  • SSD: 128GB PCIe NVMe

An entry-level Core i7 version for $1,230:

    • Model name: Spectre x2 12-c052nr
  • CPU: Core i7-7560U
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR-1600
  • SSD: 256GB PCIe NVMe

Two higher-end Core i7 versions have these starting configurations and can be upgraded. This one starts at $1,670:

  • CPU: Core i7-7560U
  • RAM: 16GB  LPDDR-1600
  • SSD: 512GB PCIe NVMe

The highest-end one starts at $1,970:

  • CPU: Core i7-7560U
  • RAM: 16GB  LPDDR-1600
  • SSD: 1TB PCIe NVMe

 

Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition Teardown Reveals It as a Galaxy Note 7 With a Smaller Battery

 

Earlier this month, Samsung made a major announcementas the company said that it will be releasing refurbished version of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, called Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition. While the South Korean conglomerate said that it will be using components from the Galaxy Note 7 in the new model, the iFixit teardown of the new handset has revealed that it is the same old Galaxy Note 7 albeit with a new smaller battery.

In its note regarding the Galaxy Note Fan Edition teardown, iFixit says, “Beyond batteries, we’ve got exactly the same phone: no evidence of the rumoured processor bumps, and no surprises.”

galaxy note fan edition teardown ifixit story2 Galaxy Note Fan Edition Story 2

Photo Credit: iFixit

In comparison with the 13.48Wh (3500mAh) battery on the original Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy Note Fan Edition comes with a smaller 12.32Wh (3200mAh) battery. Notably, the new battery even weighs less than the one on original Galaxy Note 7. While the latter came with a battery that weighed 47.7 grams, the battery on Galaxy Note Fan Edition weighs in at 45.4 grams.

 Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition Teardown Reveals It as a Galaxy Note 7 With a Smaller Battery

To recall, Samsung said that it will only sell 400,000 units of the Galaxy Note Fan Edition in South Korea and will decide later whether to release the smartphone elsewhere or not. The smartphone was priced by the company at KRW 699,000 (roughly Rs. 39,700) and was released in South Korea on July 7.

To recall, Samsung had to recall around 3 million Galaxy Note 7 units due to reported explosions later attributed to faulty batteries. We will have to see if the company will introduced the refurbished units elsewhere on the globe as well, with a recent report claiming the company had not ruled out such a move.

 

BlackBerry launches new Aurora smartphone – but here’s why you can’t get it

 

This is BlackBerry’s next phone – but you might not be able to get your hands on it
BlackBerry is back with its next smartphone release.Following the hype that surrounded the launch of the BlackBerry KEYOne at Mobile World Congress last month, the company has now revealed another new device.

The BlackBerry Aurora is the company’s first release in partnership with Indonesian firm BB Merah Putih, and looks to offer another affordable Android smartphone.

However for anyone based in the UK, getting the BlackBerry Aurora might not be as easy as expected.

At first glance, the BlackBerry Aurora looks like a fairly decent mid-range Android device.The device comes with a 5.5-inch 720p display, and runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box alongside BlackBerry’s own software offerings, including the DTEK security suite and BlackBerry Hub.

Inside, there’s a Snapdragon 425, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD slot up to 2TB, and a 3,000 mAh battery that the company says will provide over 20 hours of battery life.

blackberry aurora android 7.0 nougat releaseBLACKBERRY

The BlackBerry Aurora combines Android 7.0 Nougat with some interesting hardware

The phone is also available in black, silver, and gold, and will go on sale for around $260 – or Indonesian RP 3,499,000.That’s because the BlackBerry Aurora will initially only go on sale in Indonesia.

The move is due to Indonesia actually boasting the world’s largest population of BlackBerry users.

There’s no news on a wider launch for the device just yet, but if the device proves a success we may yet see the BlackBerry Aurora in other markets at some point.BlackBerry is gearing up to launch its latest smartphone - here's everything we know so far about the new BlackBerry Mercury

If you’re still keen to get a new BlackBerry handset, the company is still gearing up to launch its KEYOne device soon.Blending classic BlackBerry design with new influences, the KEYOne retains BlackBerry’s iconic physical QWERTY keyboard, which has been given a major intelligence upgrade, with a stunning touchscreen display and metal body.

Inside, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, with the device powered by a huge 3505mAh battery enhanced by Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 abilities that will allow the phone to go from flat to 50 per cent charge in just 36 minutes.

The BlackBerry KEYOne will cost £499 SIM-free. In the US, it’ll set you back $549, and in Europe, it’ll cost €599.

BlackBerry hasn’t confirmed an exact date in April for the launch just yet, so you’ve still got a few weeks to save up your pennies for the new device.

 

The HTC U 11 will come with an app to show you how to squeeze it

 

Someone’s got an itchy trigger finger at HTC, because a companion Edge Sense app for the HTC U 11 briefly appeared on the Google Play app store, before getting pulled again. It’s designed to walk users through what could be this phone’s most distinctive feature.

Based on a variety of leaks we’ve seen up until this point, we’re expecting Edge Sense (or maybe Sense Touch) to introduce a new way of interacting with your phone: squeezing and scrolling the sides of your handset to navigate around. It’s even teased on HTC’s official press event invite.

Before the app disappeared from view Android Police managed to grab some screenshots. It looks like it will take you through the process of testing your squeeze strength, then show off some of the ways you can use this new input method: taking photos, sending messages, launching Google Assistant, and so on.Image result for The HTC U 11 will come with an app to show you how to squeeze it

Squeeze frame action

A pressure-sensitive frame would help HTC stand out in what’s already a very competitive market as far as 2017 phone launches go. There’s the added bonus of being able to interact with your phone without obscuring the screen, though we’ll have to wait to test the phone to see exactly how well it works.

What we can’t see in any of these screenshots are the Edge Sense options, so it’s not clear how you’ll be able to configure it or what else it can do – presumably you can slide as well as squeeze to navigate menus, adjust the volume and so on, but that’s to be confirmed.

We’re expecting to see a 5.5-inch, 1440 x 2560 display when the phone is finally unveiled on Tuesday, as well as a Snapdragon 835 chipset and as much as 6GB of RAM powering everything under the hood. We’ve collected all the most recent rumors for you here.

 

Even if Apple Breaks $1 Trillion, It Won’t Stay on Top Forever

 

APPLE JUST BECAME the first US company to surpass $800 billion in market capitalization. Speculation quickly followed that Apple would soon become the first $1 trillion company, with a rumored $1,000 iPhone 8 coming at year’s end. The company’s share price has been on a tear since the beginning of the year, and sales of the iPhone 7 have been strong in part because of safety issues surrounding rival Samsung devices. Apple retains an enviable brand image and a devoted consumer base.

And yet, the shadow cast by past corporate behemoths is creeping up on Apple. As valuable as Apple is now and could still become, the company looks vulnerable to being eclipsed in the years ahead, if not threatened to its corporate core.
Apple makes hardware. It manufacturers a product. Yes, that oversimplifies the vast network of users connected by its software and bound by iOS. But Apple’s software is hardware dependent; it runs on Apple products. That makes Apple more like the manufacturing giants of the 20th century than like the software and digital players of the 21st. By that standard, even a trillion-dollar vote of confidence now hardly portends business immortality for Apple.

APPLE JUST BECAME the first US company to surpass $800 billion in market capitalization. Speculation quickly followed that Apple would soon become the first $1 trillion company, with a rumored $1,000 iPhone 8 coming at year’s end. The company’s share price has been on a tear since the beginning of the year, and sales of the iPhone 7 have been strong in part because of safety issues surrounding rival Samsung devices. Apple retains an enviable brand image and a devoted consumer base.

And yet, the shadow cast by past corporate behemoths is creeping up on Apple. As valuable as Apple is now and could still become, the company looks vulnerable to being eclipsed in the years ahead, if not threatened to its corporate core.
Apple makes hardware. It manufacturers a product. Yes, that oversimplifies the vast network of users connected by its software and bound by iOS. But Apple’s software is hardware dependent; it runs on Apple products. That makes Apple more like the manufacturing giants of the 20th century than like the software and digital players of the 21st. By that standard, even a trillion-dollar vote of confidence now hardly portends business immortality for Apple.

One lesson here (one that we humans seem to learn and then forget with numbing regularity) is that tenure at the top can be remarkably short-lived. Magazine covers lauding success and power in the present have a way of seeming quaint and dated within a very short timeframe (much as magazine covers themselves are coming to seem quaint and dated!). Size and market share for mega-companies are no guarantee of future size and market share, no matter how potent the franchise or deep-seeming the moat.

Moats and networks are the current buzzwords of tech success. Here Apple looks unassailable now but strangely defenseless going forward. It has a network of apps that work within an Apple ecosystem and users who seem not only content but enthusiastic. Google has certainly built a real rival in its Android platform, but one that works as without generating direct revenue for Google (advertising and app revenue from Android are a different story). Apple for now has a virtuous circle of users who pay for the hardware and then pay for services linked to its software.

The world, however, is moving quickly toward a digital future where devices become commoditized. It is likely that within a decade, devices become more and more interchangeable, less expensive, more powerful. They will devolve into conduits for various software and digital services that generate the bulk of profits. Already, Apple’s proprietary ecosystem is becoming less closed. A few years ago, if your family (like mine) had iPhones, Macs, and iPads, the pain of switching to Windows or Android platforms was intense. There was little compatibility and porting was a pain. As Apple has become ever larger, it has also bit by bit become more open, as its customers have demanded. More applications and the data they depend on live in the cloud, and more people use a variety of devices to lead their digital lives.

It isn’t at all clear what Apple could do to fortify itself against these trends, or that it could find the motivation to do so. It is an insanely profitable company generating billions in cash every week. Rarely do companies with a franchise that lucrative make radical shifts. Alphabet/Google is determined to find its next multi-billion dollar revenue stream to lessen its dependency on search; Microsoft has been doing the same with its reliance of Windows. Neither has yet to find that next unicorn, but they have the advantage of being firmly housed in the digital world and not, like Apple, tethered to making devices that are rapidly becoming generic.

No Secrets

The companies that have survived the decades have either become shadows of their former selves—think US auto makers—or different companies entirely. IBM managed to shift from a maker of high-tech 20th century machines (typewriters and computers) to a seller of high-tech services and solutions, but it still had a machine franchise. It too is now struggling to find a next wave. GE has spun through multiple iterations, and while it isn’t in any danger of going out of business, it is finding global competition and margins an ongoing struggle. What is Apple’s long-term plan for itself in a world that is definitively not moving in the direction of its model?

To be clear, I happen to own Apple stock personally; it’s been a very good investment, and one that I continue to hold. Why? Because in the next few years, it seems more likely that Apple will reach that trillion-dollar mark than flounder. The next wave of dramatic changes in how we use hardware to access software is not yet on the visible horizon, and it may be that Apple has a dramatic plan to position itself accordingly when that comes nearer. For the near future, Apple is likely to grow and stay dominant, just as Nokia did throughout the 1990s and into the early years of this century.

7 things we love about the HTC U11… and 6 things we hate about it

 

It might have been one of the last heavy hitters to make an appearance this year, but HTC didn’t disappoint with the U11: it’s a fantastic phone that is just begging to be slipped into your pocket.

With some of the most distinctive colour schemes we’ve seen on a phone since the crazy days of Nokia, and high-end hardware to match, there’s lots here to like.

Don’t think it’s all positive, though – because the U11 isn’t perfect. Here are some of the things that grind our gears about HTC’s latest, as well as the good stuff that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

7 THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT THE HTC U11

1) THOSE EYE-CATCHING COLOURS

There’s no getting away from it – the U11 has some truly terrific colour choices. HTC’s Liquid Surface glass adds different hues and shades to give the impression of a water droplet, one that shimmers and shifts colour when you hold it at different angles. Compared to a flat black Galaxy S8, or Space Grey iPhone 7, the HTC wins every time.

At launch, Amazing Silver is the star of the show, thanks to a mix of blues, purples and silver, polished up to a mirror finish, but wait a month or two and the luxurious Solar Red should arrive. It’s curiously crimson from the front, but switches to glorious gold at the edges. It’s a real stunner.Image result for 7 things we love about the HTC U11... and 6 things we hate about it

2) IT TAKES FANTASTIC PHOTOS

A 12MP sensor doesn’t sound all that impressive, but with dual-pixel autofocus and the world’s first 5-axis optical image stabilisation in a smartphone, the U11 punches well above its weight when it comes to the camera. The detail packed into each snap is fantastic, either matching or beating major rivals such as the iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8.

It’s a dab hand when it comes to low light, too, thanks to an f/1.7 aperture that lets as much light hit the sensor as possible. HTC’s image processing algorithms are delicate, too, so detail isn’t stripped away just to hide noise.

3) WE’LL NEVER GET TIRED OF SQUEEZY SIDES

No, they don’t do very much right now, but the U11’s Edge Sense panels soon will. As a feature it’s bags of fun, and a totally different way to get things done on your phone. You can use those squeezable sides to do all manner of things: turning on your flashlight, for instance, or take a selfie, or summon Google Assistant (without having to shout “OK Google” first).

And that’s just the start. Once other apps support it properly, the possibilities will be huge.

4) IT’S A PERFORMANCE POWERHOUSE

Any discerning 2017 flagship phone has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 inside, and the U11 is no exception. That instantly gives it an edge over the likes of LG’s G6 and the Google Pixel, which make do with last year’s silicon. It’s quick enough to run just about anything you can throw at it from the Google Play Store, and has no trouble keeping Android 7 Nougat ticking over without any stutter or slowdown.

It’s not a battery hog, either. The U11 has a 3000mAh battery, but can easily last an entire day away from the mains – even if you’re feeding a serious Clash of Clans habit.

5) SPEAKERS THAT REALLY SING

Boomsound was easily one of the best things about HTC’s last-gen phones, and now we’ve got an even better version. They might not face forward any more, but the U11’s stereo speakers are so powerful that you won’t need a Bluetooth speaker to get the party started: just crank up the volume and let the phone do all the work.

Turning the inside of the handset into an acoustic chamber doesn’t exactly create a cacophony of bass, but it sounds much, much louder than any other flagship phone. Don’t think it’ll be nothing but distortion, either – sound quality really is very good for such a small set of speakers.

6) AMAZON’S ALEXA WILL SOON BE ON BOARD

The U11 will be the first phone to properly get Amazon’s Alexa, complete with wake word that’ll bring the handset out of standby and straight into the Alexa interface. Other phones have tried, but this is the first time we’ve seen it go completely hands-free.

That’s great, but one AI assistant just isn’t enough these days, and the U11 duly has room for two: Google Assistant is also onboard. While Alexa bests Assistant in areas such as smart home control, and will of course let you buy things on Amazon, Google’s helpful AI can still help out with Chromecast streaming and Google searches. The more the merrier, eh?

7) THE NOISE-CANCELLING CANS

Previous versions of HTC’s USonic ear buds already adjusted themselves to suit your own ear drums, using sonic pulses and built-in microphones to tweak the music EQ accordingly, but now they’ve got built-in noise cancelling too. And it really works!

OK, so it’s not quite as silence-inducing as a pair of noise-cancelling ‘phones from Bose or Sony, but they get the job done on public transport, and keep your office buddies from disturbing you when you’re trying to get some work done too. Not bad at all, seeing how they’re free and all.

AND 6 THINGS WE HATE ABOUT THE HTC U11

1) WHERE’S THE HEADPHONE JACK?

Come on, HTC – haven’t you learned by now? No-one wants to have to jam a dongle into their phone just to listen to music. The bundled USonic in-ears might be decent, and plenty of people have Bluetooth buds now, but that’s still no excuse.

If the mighty Apple can do it and still incur the wrath of its customers, there’s no way you can do the same and think you’ll get away with it. The bundled headphones don’t work in any other USB-C phone or laptop, either. Bring back the 3.5mm port!

2) THE BEZELS LOOK BEEFY NEXT TO THE COMPETITION

Samsung and LG did something a little different for 2017 – ditching the display bezels and finding room for 18:9 aspect ratio screens that stretch almost across the entire front of each phone. Samsung even added curved sides into the equation.

Sit either one of them next to the U11 and its thick top and bottom bezels make it look positively antiquated. The fingerprint sensor might be easier to reach on the HTC, but from the front you’d struggle to tell it was a 2017 phone. Its rivals are positively futuristic by comparison.

3) AN HDR SCREEN WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE, TOO

Both the G6 and Galaxy S8 also have HDR-ready displays, which let you watch Netflix or Amazon videos with more vibrant colours and greater contrast than you’ll find on a standard smartphone. HTC could have done something similar, but it decided not to bother.

OK, so we doubt many people are ready to stream HDR videos to their phone right now, but expect the tech to take off in the next year or so – and leave the U11 looking decidedly old hat.

4) SNAPS CAN FEEL A LITTLE SLUGGISH

As much as the U11 takes fantastic photos, it’s not quite as snap-happy as some of its big rivals. There’s a small delay between tapping the shutter button and the photo being saved. It’s not long enough to miss something crucial, but it’s still annoying – especially when the U11 is lightning-fast in just about every other area.

The Edge Sense shutter is even slower, but that’s because it needs to wait until your hand stops shaking after you’ve given the phone a squeeze. We don’t mind it so much here.

5) ALEXA AIN’T HERE JUST YET

Sure, we’re excited at having Amazon’s AI assistant built into our phones, and having Alexa accessible with a shout instead of a button press is a whole lot slicker than the setup you’ll find on other phones, but Alexa on the U11 isn’t ready just yet. We’ve got to wait till Amazon decides to give the green signal for Alexa to arrive in India.

Seeing how this is one of the things that helps the U11 stand out from the competition, we’re hoping HTC can get everything in place before its rivals do something similar.

6) EDGE SENSE DOESN’T SEE SENSE… RIGHT NOW

Those squeeze-able sides are a fun little extra right now – one that HTC says will be a lot more useful once its customisation app arrives in July. Until it does, though, Edge Sense is just another way of opening the camera app, or summoning Google Assistant.

You aren’t going to buy a phone on potential alone, so we’ll just have to wait until the app turns up to see if Edge Sense is truly as revolutionary as HTC says it will be.

We’ll get you the full review when HTC give us the go signal for the Indian launch dates.