Connect with us

Technology

Strong effort from an entity-lister, but your tiny child hands may struggle • The Register

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Review Most phones are compromised in some way, which makes it all too easy to overlook the good bits. An example of this would be the Huawei Mate 40 Pro, which was near perfect, except for the lack of apps.

For the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra, the downside is a real ache in the first dorsal interosseous muscle between the thumb and index finger, at least for those with paws smaller than a bear’s. That’s a big but for a phone that ticks lots of boxes. It looks good, it’s fast, it’s well polished, and it comes with a set of decent cameras. Too big to hold and that whole proposition falls apart.

Those with large mitts, however, are well-catered for. It’s a flagship, but it’s not priced as such. The base model starts at £649, which puts it alongside the Samsung Galaxy S20FE, but cheaper than most Android flagships like the Galaxy S21 or the OnePlus 9 Pro.

Let’s start at the screen, which is often the deciding component that makes or breaks a device. This measures 6.7 inches from corner to corner, making it one of the largest devices on the market. This – as well as the backplate – is coated in Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5.

The panel has a standard 1080p resolution, and runs at refresh rates as high as 144Hz. The system can automatically scale this depending on the situation, with competitive games running at the higher rate, static content at 60Hz, and browsing plonked somewhere in the middle. In practice, though, you will want to crank this down to a more reasonable 90Hz, which gives you the benefit of buttery animations, but without the battery pulverisation that comes with running your device at 144Hz (or even 120Hz).

The panel itself is an OLED affair, which delivered satisfactory levels of colour fidelity and contrast. It also packs a remarkably responsive under-screen fingerprint reader. I tend to prefer physical fingerprint readers simply because they are often better, but I found it hard to fault this.

Performance

ZTE provided The Register with the base model, which comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. For an extra £90, you can bump this to 12GB and 256GB respectively. While the additional 4GB of RAM is unlikely to make much of a performance difference, the added storage may prove welcome to those who hoard media and apps, and take photos with pixel-binning disabled.

It has no 3.5mm jack.

Under the hood, you will find a potent Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, with bundled 5G connectivity (although band support in the US is fairly lacking). As you would expect, this handled virtually everything I threw at it without breaking a sweat. Multitasking felt fluid, and webpages rendered with little to no delay.

The battery is big, although at this point standard, rated for 4,600mAh. With the refresh rate at 90Hz, I was able to get a full day of usage. Another nice touch is the inclusion of 65W wired charging. ZTE provides a compatible charging brick, although in the case of this review unit, ours came with a European plug.

Wireless charging is sadly absent. This is something we see on the low-to-mid side of the phone market, with wired speeds prioritised at the expense of the mere existence of wireless charging. Is it much of a problem, though? Not really. Wireless speeds are slower, and it is a comparatively energy inefficient way to charge your phone. When you can fully replenish a battery in less than 40 minutes, this is something that’s easy enough to overlook.

The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra comes with Android 11 pre-installed, with the company committing to an upgrade to Android 12 later down the line (it is one of the devices that can enrol in the Android 12 beta). The exact cadence and lifespan of security updates remains an unknown, however.

The company used its MyOS UI here and doesn’t make many diversions from the stock Android experience. The few tweaks to be found – which mostly hinge around quick-access to routine settings – improved the experience, rather than complicated it, but there have been grumblings about response times.

Cameras

Within its sizeable bulge, you will find no less than four cameras. You may be pleased to hear that ZTE avoided the cardinal sin of including just one functional primary camera, and an assortment of superfluous, low-resolution nonentities.

The primary camera uses a 64MP lens, which takes detailed and vibrant shots in good lighting conditions, and thanks to its accompanying optical image stabilisation (OIS) is able to cope with inevitable hand jitters. There’s also an ultra-wide and portrait lens, both with 64MP sensors, although sadly without OIS.

Finally, ZTE also threw in an 8MP telephoto lens, which can optical zoom by as much as five times. This is a nice touch, and isn’t necessarily guaranteed, even on phones within this particular price bracket. Although it doesn’t capture quite as much detail, the results are good, even when touching the limits of its zoom range.

The implementation of the camera is good. Although quality isn’t quite what Huawei had accomplished with its RYYB sensors in the most recent flagships, it’s more than serviceable, producing decent shots for social media and the web. It watermarks all images by default – although it’s easy enough to turn this off.

Conclusion

The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra isn’t perfect, but its a good mid-ranger. The display and chassis are both genuinely nice to look at, although I doubt they are particularly conducive to repairs. As we saw with Samsung’s latest premium phones, when you encase a phone in glass, it makes routine fixes that much harder.

Similarly, the lack of wireless charging is a bit annoying, although it is relatively easy to live with, given the fast wired charging on offer. Some may also be deterred by ZTE itself, which has found itself ensnared in the same telecoms supply chain melodrama as Huawei, albeit to a lesser extent.

Finally, there is the size. This is a big phone. Personally, I like that as it lends well to Netflix binges and a rich browsing experience. Those with smaller hands, or simply a preference to use a phone with one hand, will likely want to look elsewhere. ®

Source link

Technology

Taking his advice was like ‘chewing broken glass’: the short life of dating guru Kevin Samuels | Relationships

Voice Of EU

Published

on

As a source of dating advice, Kevin Samuels would seem a last resort for America’s Black women. On his YouTube show and podcasts, Samuels criticized Black women for being old and out of shape, and for having children out of wedlock. He sneered at “modern women” who flaunted their multiple college degrees and boasted of their independence. He dropped these bombs in the softest voice, in a tailored suit, and bathed in mood lighting with a funky kinetic energy sculpture on his desk.

Yet many women not only tuned in to Samuels in droves, they cued up to Zoom into his show – some in hopes of putting the self-made image consultant turned relationship expert in his place. When Samuels suddenly died last Thursday in Atlanta at 57, as his star was still rising (the Fulton county medical examiners office has not yet revealed a cause of death), his many detractors reacted like Munchkins at the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. The overwhelming lack of sympathy for Samuels – whose mother reportedly found out about his death as speculation raged online – comes down to his profiting from dismissing single Black women over 35 as “leftovers” whose unrealistic desire for “high-value men” would doom them to a lonely death.

On a recent episode of the Fox Soul streaming show Cocktails with Queens, the actor Vivica A Fox called Samuels’ death karma payback. “This man was a hypocrite, in my honest opinion,” she said. “He insulted African American women on a consistent basis.” In a Mother’s Day sermon, the preacher-influencer Jamal Bryant indirectly singled out this “high-powered man” for allegedly needing “a GoFundMe for his funeral”. The many women in Bryant’s congregation ate this up.

Still, just as many Black celebrities have rushed to defend Samuels. “Love him or hate him,” said the actor Marlon Wayans, “he spoke his truth. If you hated [him] why tune in?” The rapper turned comedian TI scorned the gleeful reactions to his death as a “fucking travesty” while branding Samuels’ haters as “despicable” and “bullies”. “Whatever he did, he did it, and [he’s] gone,” said the Why You Wanna emcee. “He got away with it.”

Besides his mother and daughter, Samuels is survived by his legion followers in the online community known as the “manosphere”, a sort of digital bathhouse for naked pushback against feminist ideology and the reprisal of traditional gender norms.

Casually drawing on relationship and income statistics, Samuels delighted in playing the role of market adjuster and scolding “average” Black women for pursuing Black men in the Talented Tenth – good-looking men with minimum six-figure incomes, no kids, no priors, and no hangups in bed. According to Samuels, guys mainly wanted women who were “fit, feminine, friendly, cooperative and submissive”. He barely had patience for callers who defied that description, and regularly played those clashes with them for laughs. And this was against the backdrop of Black women having a tough enough time being taken seriously online, let alone settling down.

More than 30,000 people signed an online petition calling on YouTube and Instagram to de-platform Samuels, believing he had “galvanised a community of men of all races and nationalities in the outspoken hatred of women”. To many, Samuel’s polished and bespectacled presentation was little more than a pseudo-intellectual cover for misogynoir. “I think he has had an outsized impact on poisoning the social discourse between Black men and Black women around matters of love, dating and intimacy,” the Rutgers women’s studies professor Brittney Cooper wrote in a recent Facebook post, after Samuels used a clip of her talking about racism and fatphobia as an example of a low-value woman. “I hope that the Black women who liked Kevin’s work stop letting the latest brother with relationship advice exploit your pain.”

Samuels’ public persona wasn’t always such a troll. A chemical engineering major who segued into a career in marketing, Samuels established himself on social media as a self-improvement coach and tastemaker (“the godfather of style”, he called himself), hipping men to the coolest clothes, watches and fragrances.

But Samuels eventually saw the bigger audience for relationship content, and quickly distinguished himself by doubling down on the “negging” techniques that undergirded the pickup artist craze of the early aughts. It’s a blueprint that launched the mainstream success of Steve Harvey. Before he was widely known as the avuncular host of Family Feud and the Miss Universe pageant, Harvey was writing plainspoken relationship manuals for Black women and spinning them into the box-office topping Think Like a Man franchise.

After one video sizing up a woman as “average at best” drew millions of views, Samuels was essentially rebooted as a relationship expert. In another oft-shared video he writes off a proudly curvy Black female caller as “running back-sized.” Before his death, Samuels had amassed more than 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and more than 1.2 million Instagram followers. Mainstream renown wasn’t much farther off.

Already, Samuels was a fixture of the Black gossip blogs for his viral put-downs and for his interviews with Nicki Minaj, Future, and the social media influencer Brittany Renner. Those same blogs were quick to hypothesise about the chaotic circumstances of Samuels’ death and echo reports that the ultimate high-value man died broke.

But his village of YouTube peers have rallied to debunk those rumours and rebuff what they characterise as efforts to defame Samuels in death. Mostly, they claim he was a tireless worker and shrewd businessman who could be harsh, but all in the interest of uplifting the community overall. In a YouTube eulogy, Melanie King, a Samuels protege who credits him for helping her rebuild from an agonising divorce, likened taking advice from him to “chewing broken glass”.

“We needed that shock,” said King, who thought of Samuels more like a tough dad. “Because, let’s be honest, if he had not been so shocking to so many people, would you even know about him?”

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

What’s driving the colocation feeding frenzy? • The Register

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Analysis Colocation facilities aren’t just a place to drop a couple of servers anymore. Many are quickly becoming full-fledged infrastructure-as-a-service providers as they embrace new consumption-based models and place a stronger emphasis on networking and edge connectivity.

But supporting the growing menagerie of value-added services takes a substantial footprint and an even larger customer base, a dynamic that’s driven a wave of consolidation throughout the industry, analysts from Forrester Research and Gartner told The Register.

“You can only provide those value-added services if you’re big enough,” Forrester research director Glenn O’Donnell said.

The past few months have seen this trend play out en masse, with the latest being private equity firm DigitalBridge Investment Management’s take over of datacenter provider Switch Inc in a deal valued at $11 billion.

Switch operates datacenters specializing in high-performance infrastructure. The company completed its fifth Prime datacenter campus in Texas last year, but this is only the latest colo acquisition in recent memory.

“There have been a pile of smaller colocation providers that have been coming together, either being acquired by the big boys, or they’ve been merging,” O’Donnell said.

There’s been a flurry of colocation mergers and acquisitions over the past few months. Here’s just a sampling: NorthC acquired Netrics, LightEdge bought NFinit, EdgeConnex made off with GTN, Unitas Global snapped up INAP, VPLS nabbed a Carrier-1 datacenter in Texas, and Digital 9 absorbed Finnish colo Ficolo and Volta’s London datacenters.

It’s the cloud! Except, it’s also not

So what’s driving this ramp in M&A activity? You might think it’s the cloud, and while there’s certainly some truth to that, O’Donnell says it’s not the full story.

“I always like to remind people that just because cloud is so big and growing does not mean the datacenter is dead,” he said, adding that to some extent cloud has actually driven people to colos more than it has hurt them.

“I won’t give cloud all of the credit, but cloud certainly proved that this is a viable way of doing things,” O’Donnell added.

What the cloud has managed to do is force colocation providers to innovate around new consumption models and platform services, while simultaneously expanding their reach closer to the edge.

The major cloud providers operate a relatively small number of extremely large datacenters located in key metros around the world. By contrast, colocation providers like Equinix and Digital Realty operate hundreds of datacenters around the globe.

This reach is not only one of the big attractions of colocation providers, Gartner analyst Matthew Brisse said, but it also turns out to be one of the biggest drivers of M&A activity.

Location, location, location

“Size matters in this business because customers, especially multinational customers, want datacenters in a lot of different places,” O’Donnell said.

According to Brisse, when enterprises start looking into colocation facilities, their main concern is getting workloads spun up in the right place. “The main reason that people go to colos, is location, location, location,” he said.

And this demand has only accelerated as colocation providers look to offer services closer to the edge.

“We see the colocation providers starting to build out their edge offering as opposed to a simple hoteling experience for your infrastructure,” Brisse said.

These aren’t necessarily large datacenter facilities in the traditional sense, either, he explained. These can be as small as a half-sized shipping container positioned at the base of a cell tower.

Smaller regional colocation providers also serve an important role because they tend to build in places the larger players overlook, Brisse explained.

“A lot of companies don’t have the luxury of sitting right next to an Equinix facility,” he said. “There’s lots of opportunities out there for colocation market in totality.”

And as colocation providers inch closer to the edge, Brisse argues networking and automation are only becoming more important.

Where networking plays in

One of the most potent value adds offered by major colocation providers today is networking.

“As you look at the colocation services, the networking services have become a pretty big deal to differentiate them from just being a simple chunk of real estate to plop your servers,” O’Donnell said.

And here again the larger players have the advantage. “Networking connectivity requires a big provider with lots of locations connected by their own fiber,” he added.

These backbone networks allow workloads running in a datacenter on one side of the country to communicate with another without ever going out over the open internet.

But it’s not just networking between colocation datacenters that’s important. Many of these colocation facilities are located directly adjacent to the major cloud and software-as-a-service providers.

“So AWS, for example, or Microsoft Azure might be in the same building as you and connecting to it is just a matter of connecting to a different cage in that same building,” O’Donnell said. “Smaller players can’t do that, but the bigger guys can.”

However, as customers increasingly turn to colocation providers for edge compute and networking, complexity rears its ugly head, Brisse argues.

In the future, “we’re going to have lots of datacenters everywhere; we’re going to have lots of data distributed in the right location; we’re going to have edge facilities everywhere bringing data close to the edge,” he said. “It is not going to be possible for humans to monitor all of that activity.”

So, in addition to growing their footprint and network services, Brisse believes colos will also need to invest in AI operations capabilities to manage this complexity.

More consolidation to come

Both Brisse and O’Donnell expect the colocation market to continue to consolidate as macroeconomic forces put a pressure on smaller players.

“If the economic troubles we’re seeing are persistent, I think we will see an acceleration of this kind of [M&A] activity,” O’Donnell said.

It’s important to remember that while colos may look like tech companies on the inside, on the books, they’re really real estate investment trusts, he said, adding that in the current economic environment, colos are a comparatively safe bet in an otherwise dismal commercial real estate market.

“Colo is a hot market and getting hotter,” O’Donnell said. ®

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

Elon Musk says $44bn Twitter deal is ‘temporarily on hold’

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Musk said he wants to see Twitter’s calculations about the estimated number of fake accounts on the platform.

Billionaire Elon Musk has said today (13 May) that his $44bn deal to acquire Twitter is “temporarily on hold”, due to a recent claim by Twitter that spam and fake accounts represent less than 5pc of users on the site.

Musk made the statement via Twitter and linked to a Reuters article from 2 May, when Twitter made the estimate on the number of spam accounts on its site during the first quarter of 2022.

Future Human

In its first quarter earnings report released last month, Twitter said it performed an internal review of a sample of accounts and estimated that the “average of false or spam accounts” during the first quarter represented fewer than 5pc of its 229m monetisable daily active users.

“In making this determination, we applied significant judgment, so our estimation of false or spam accounts may not accurately represent the actual number of such accounts, and the actual number of false or spam accounts could be higher than we have estimated,” Twitter said on 28 April.

Musk said that the deal is on hold as he wants to see the company’s calculations that confirm this percentage.

Following the statement, Twitter shares fell by nearly 18pc in pre-market trading, their lowest since Musk first shared his plans to takeover the company in early April, Reuters reported.

The share hit is another blow for Twitter, as it was recently revealed that the company has paused most hiring and is reviewing all existing job offers to determine whether any “should be pulled back”.

In a company-wide memo seen by Reuters, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal attributed the decision to pause hiring to Twitter not being able to meet previous growth targets.

Agrawal’s memo also told staff of the departure of two of the company’s senior staff members.

Kayvon Beykpour, general manager of the consumer product division, and revenue product lead Bruce Falck, both tweeted that leaving Twitter was not their own decision.

Musk and Twitter

Since the start of April, a lot has ensued between Musk and Twitter. First, he became one of the company’s biggest stakeholders, and there were plans to have him installed on the company’s board.

Days after it was revealed that Musk would not become a Twitter board member after all, he offered to buy the company and take it off the stock market.

“Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it,” he wrote in a letter at the time addressed to board chair Bret Taylor. He added that he believes in Twitter as a platform for “free speech” and said it “needs to be transformed as a private company”.

Musk has been critical of Twitter in recent months. At the end of March, he asked his more than 80m followers in a tweet whether the platform “rigorously adheres” to the principle of free speech.

“Given that Twitter serves as the de-facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” he added in a follow-up tweet. “What should be done?”

He then asked followers whether a new social media platform was needed, and said he was giving “serious thought” to building one.

These tweets came after Musk had started building up a stake in Twitter – a move that has also come under the microscope. Last month, a Twitter shareholder sued Musk for failing to promptly disclose that he had bought a significant stake in the company.

Musk had been acquiring shares since January and acquired 5pc by 14 March, meaning he needed to notify the SEC by 24 March under the US agency’s rules. However, the lawsuit document stated that Musk continued to amass shares before notifying the SEC.

The deal includes a clause whereby if either party ends up terminating the agreement, they have to pay the other a $1bn fee. The filing also states that if the deal isn’t closed by 24 October, both sides could walk away without a takeover.

Elon Musk in 2018. Image: Daniel Oberhaus via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!