European directive forcing storage of metadata infringes right of privacy
A directive requiring telecommunications companies in European Union countries to store metadata about users of its services for up to two years has been declared invalid by the European Court of Justice. The Data Retention Directive was found by the court to interfere with the "fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data."
Connected Continent reforms accepted by European Parliament
The European Parliament has voted in favor of reforms to change the way roaming by European carriers is handled, bringing the continent one step closer to eradicating roaming charges. Forming part of a larger "Connected Continent" collection of changes, the vote by law makers also approves new rules to define and protect net neutrality on European connections.
PayPal enables Pay at Table, Order Ahead in UK, Australia
Paypal is expanding the range of food-related payment options available in its apps in the United Kingdom and Australia. Already available in the United States, the Pay At Table and Order Ahead options in its iOS and Android apps are being enabled in the two countries, which allow users to pay for food at the table via the app itself, or to place orders for food for later pick-up from the location. Head of retail services for PayPal UK Rob Harper advised to TechCrunch the new features will be spreading to other European countries in the near future.
First international expansion of Google Chromecast since US launch
Google is performing its first major international expansion of its Chromecast streaming HDMI dongle, making it available to purchase outside of the United States for the first time. Residents in a total of 11 more countries can now buy the device through Google Play and retailers, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and a number of other European countries.
Manufacturers could be forced to use single connector for charging in EU by 2017
The European Parliament has voted to proceed with proposals to require smartphones and mobile devices to use a single common charger. The new draft law was approved by 550 votes to 12 on Thursday, with 8 abstentions by European parliament members (MEPs), with the vote itself bringing the new regulation closer to being implemented in European Union member states in the future.
Huawei announces TalkBand B1, unlikely to be released in US
Huawei has announced its upcoming wearable tech device, the TalkBand B1. Described as both a fitness band and Bluetooth headset combined, the band has a removable earpiece that accepts calls, and when used in the band tracks physical activities including sleep. Its 90mAh battery can last up to six days powering the flexible OLED display. The TalkBand B1 is not anticipating release in the US, though will be available in Chinese markets next month, and Japan, the Middle East, Russia and Western Europe in the second quarter of 2014.
Value Android devices include rear-mounted camera button
Acer has unveiled a pair of budget Android smartphones heading to Europe in the coming months, following on from the earlier Liquid Z3 and Liquid E2. The Liquid E3 offers a 4.7-inch IPS in an 8.9mm-thick (0.35 inches) case and a 2-megapixel front camera with LED flash, while the Liquid Z4 houses a smaller 4-inch display, with both offering a rear-mounted AcerRapid button to take images even if the screen is turned off.
Aereo reopens new registrations in New York City after extending capacity
Aereo has re-opened itself to new subscribers in New York, after rectifying its temporary capacity issues in the region. The cloud-based DVR service will not be allowing for new registrations, reports CNet, with a company spokesperson advising those who pre-registered will get priority for joining the service, with others expected once the wait list queue is shortened. Aereo's other service areas remain unaffected.
Search results proposal acceptance ends three-year antitrust investigation
The European Commission has settled with Google over its antitrust allegations for anti-competitive behavior in search. The tentative agreement between the search company and the regulator will see Google display the search results from competing services, among other proposals for promoting other companies, in order to put the three-year antitrust investigation to an end.
4.5-inch display, 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor in Ascend Y530
Huawei has launched a brightly-colored addition to its smartphone range in Europe, with the two-tone casing and physical design said by Huawei to be aimed at a younger audience. The Ascend Y530 is an entry-level Android smartphone with a 4.5-inch, 480x854-resolution display, with the restrained internal specifications matching its low launch price tag.
Samsung-only stores brings manufacturer closer to Apple retail efforts
Samsung will be expanding upon its concept of a store-within-a-store, by completely taking over a number of stores owned by a European retailer. A total of 60 existing stores from Carphone Warehouse's chain of 1,400 will be converted into shops selling just Samsung produce, including smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and wearable devices such as the Galaxy Gear smart watch.
Discussions could lead to $99 billion acquisition of European carrier
[Updated with AT&T comment] AT&T could be looking towards a purchase of Vodafone in the future, with reports that the company is talking to European regulators over a potential acquisition in the region of Â£60 billion ($99 billion). AT&T CEO and chairman Randall Stephenson is said to have met with EU Telecoms Commissioner Neelie Kroes at the World Economic Forum, with a possible acquisition of the UK carrier reportedly discussed.
Curved LG smartphone to land in more than 20 European markets
Europe will start to receive the LG G Flex next month, with the curved smartphone launching in more than 20 countries on the continent. At the same time, AT&T reveals it will be joining Sprint and T-Mobile in offering the concave mobile device in the United States, with pre-orders through the carrier starting from January 24th, priced at $299.
February estimates remain for US buyers
Apple's shipping estimates for the new Mac Pro have been pushed to March for customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific markets. Spotted by MacRumors, the shipping setbacks suggest the company is still attempting to accommodate strong demand for its high-end desktop systems.
European Moto X launches 6 months after United States version
Motorola has launched the Moto X in Europe, at its launch event in London today. The flagship Motorola smartphone, originally launched in the United States in August, makes its way across the Atlantic to join the Moto G, though unlike the American version, the European model will not offer any Moto Maker customization options, instead offering just the standard black and white-backed models.
Shipments of Mac Pro begin in Europe following regulatory withdrawal
The new Mac Pro has apparently started to ship in Europe, marking the first time the computer has gone on sale on the continent since March 1st in 2013. Though the Apple website shows it as shipping in February in a number of European countries, there are reports of some customers receiving shipment notifications for as early as January 14th.
Flagship Motorola handset could cross Atlantic in near future
Motorola has sent out invitations to members of the press in the United Kingdom for a London-based event, at the same time as expanding the coverage of Android 4.4.2 on the Moto G. The invitation, set for January 14th, promises to announce a "new addition to the European Motorola family of products," and though the invitation does not directly state what is being revealed, it is likely that the company will be bringing the Moto X to the continent.
Manufacturers could be forced to use one standard charger connection
Smartphone manufacturers will need to decide on a single standard battery charger for mobile devices, according to a provisional European law. The European Parliament has created an outline agreement for a single charger that its members will vote upon in March, which could potentially lead to the law being implemented as early as 2017.
Threat of antitrust investigation by EC if Nokia overreaches with patents
Nokia has been warned by the European Commission (EC) to avoid becoming a "patent troll," once the company completes the sale of its Devices and Services arm to Microsoft. Joaquin Almunia, head of competition and vice president of the EC, reconfirmed the Commission's approval of the purchase, but advised that there is a danger that Nokia could try to "extract higher returns" from its patent portfolio.
Companies accused of limiting online sales
European Commission agents have reportedly raided corporate offices of Samsung, Philips and retail giant Media-Saturn, as part of an investigation over improper price manipulation, according to a Reuters report. Regulators believe the companies may have colluded to limit online distribution in an attempt to artificially inflate prices.
European Commission finds minimal overlap between Microsoft, Nokia
Microsoft has been given the all-clear to acquire Nokia's mobile phone business by the European Commission (EC). The clearance by the regulatory body comes just one day after the US Department of Justice approved the deal, two weeks after Nokia's shareholders made a similar decision, leaving little in the way of obstructions left for the $7.2 billion deal.
The Playroom banned on Twitch due to non-gaming usage
The Sony PlayStation 4 has hit a number of stumbling blocks, just before the company launches the game console in Europe. Game video streaming partner Twitch has banned one launch title from the service outright, and European users will also be missing out on a number of social features for the days following the console's launch.
Android app allows NFC payments, offers sticker for non-NFC devices
Vodafone has launched a mobile payments system in Spain, one which will be making its way to other areas of Europe in the future. The Vodafone Wallet, and first accompanying payment app Vodafone SmartPass, will be able to make payments using their Android smartphones, with funds being transferred from a nominated bank account.
European flight change follows device rule changes by FAA, EASA
Passengers on flights in Europe may be able to use their smartphone's data connection in the future, after the European Commission has revealed new rules allowing the use of 3G and 4G LTE connections in flights. The new rules come shortly after both the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) allowed the use of electronic devices set in flight mode at takeoff and landing for travel in the US and Europe respectively.
Incoming EASA guidelines follow similar FAA rule changes
Airline passengers in Europe will be able to use electronic devices from take-off to landing, under new guidelines. Soon to be published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the new rules to airlines come just two weeks after the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) made similar alterations to its own guidelines for US-based flights.
Kazam Trooper, Thunder smartphones have similar specification lists
British-based phone manufacturer Kazam, created six months ago by two former HTC executives, has launched its first ranges of Android devices. A total of six smartphones have been shown off, with one in the Thunder range and five Trooper devices, with phones ranging not only in size but also in internal specification.
iPad Air availability spreads to more countries
Following earlier launches in Australia and Asia, the Apple iPad Air has gone on sale in the UK and Europe, as well in the US online store, as it moves to launch in 42 countries by the end of today. The new tablet has been released in Apple retail stores across Europe, some of which have opened earlier than normal in order to sell the iPad Air to waiting customers.
Possible acquisition of Vodafone a politically difficult feat
AT&T's plan to acquire a carrier and operate in Europe may have to be put on hold for a long time, thanks to the National Security Agency (NSA). The revelations of national and international surveillance by the agency is now forcing European officials to scrutinize any attempt by AT&T or any other carrier to purchase a mobile phone network on the continent.
North America to continue Nintendo Wii sales over holiday season
North America is the last major market to still receive shipments of the Nintendo Wii, after an announcement concerning European availability. Shipments of the game console to retailers in Europe have now ceased, following a similar announcement covering Japan earlier this week, but shipments of the motion-sensitive console to the United States will not be affected in any way.
Proposal sees Samsung avoiding standard-essential patent lawsuits
The European Commission is requesting feedback on an offer by Samsung to stop suing other device manufacturers over specific types of patents. The proposal would prevent Samsung from suing over standard-essential patents (SEPs) for a five-year period, in order to cease the antitrust proceedings it is embroiled in, and to avoid a potential fine from the EC of $18.3 billion.
Marketing efforts also a factor in Sony's change of priorities
Sony could be relaxing its push to release smartphones in the United States, in order to protect its sales in Japan and Europe. CEO Kaz Hirai advised that, in terms of smartphone sales, Sony's "biggest priority is maintaining our share in Japan or increasing it," as it attempts to fight off the rising popularity of the iPhone in its home country.
US, Europe release of PS Vita TV could happen, states Sony senior vice president
Sony is considering releasing its PlayStation Vita TV set-top box in the United States and European markets, following a "strong response" from gamers. The move effectively reverses an earlier report, where an executive claimed the company was "not planning" to release the device further afield than markets close to Japan, such as China and South Korea.
European Commission assesses offer
Google has reportedly submitted a second proposal to the European Commission, offering to change its practices to avoid a potential $5 billion fine. The filing follows an earlier proposal that was also aimed at easing antitrust concerns, which focus on Google's prioritization of its own search services over competing services, though the initial concessions were dismissed as insufficient by EU regulators and competitors.
Proposals to end European roaming charges to be published next week
Proposals to make European roaming charges illegal have surfaced again, in the form of a leaked draft of legislation. The 93-page document promises to introduce "measures to gradually end mobile roaming surcharges" in the region, and to "guarantee common high levels of consumer protection across the union," in the European Commission's (EC) ongoing battle with mobile carriers on the continent.
Proposals to end antitrust probe are 'not enough' states Competition head
A proposal by Google to alter its search results does not go far enough to minimize antitrust issues, according to the European Commission (EC). Joaquin Almunia, the European Competition Commissioner believes that the proposals submitted in April by the search giant are "not enough to overcome our concerns," and requests for Google to resubmit with some improvements.
Raids of corporate offices follow complaints about Internet capacities
The offices of three major carriers in Europe have been raided by European Union officials as part of an investigation into the practice of bandwidth throttling. The headquarters of Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefonica all received visits from the government officials, trying to find evidence that the three are restricting the bandwidth for companies specifically requiring such high levels.
Austrian copyright agency seeks $2.4 million payout for artists
The European Court of Justice ruled today that European Union countries are allowed to collect a tax on blank media to fairly compensate artists under certain circumstances. The ruling comes after an Austrian copyright agency billed Amazon €1.9 million ($2.4 million) for sales of magnetic media sold in Austria in the first six months of 2004.
Botnet operators face three-year sentences, five for infrastructure attacks
The European Parliament has issued a draft directive that will give harsher punishments to hackers in the future. The directive will ask the 28 member states of the European Union to update their national maximum sentences to at least two years in prison for the illegal infiltration of computer systems, with higher sentences for more serious computer crimes.
Further European roaming charge cuts due next year
A drop in roaming charges mandated by the European Commission has taken place today, lowering prices for Europeans traveling within the continent. The new rules cut the maximum price EU-based carriers can charge their customers per megabyte of data transfer from 70 euro cents ($0.91) down to 45 cents ($0.59), with a further drop scheduled in July 2014 to push it down to 20 cents ($0.26).
Ripped tracks free to customers for purchases in last decade
Amazon has extended its AutoRip service to the United Kingdom and Europe, following a successful launch in the United States. The service provides a digital copy of physical albums bought through the retailer, with songs automatically appearing in the user's Amazon Cloud Player as MP3 files, which saves the user time in ripping tracks from the CD, as well as providing the music early without having to wait for the CD to arrive.
Outside North America, Android gains share in a slowing market
According to market analysts IDC, European smartphone shipments have fallen 4.2 percent in Q1-- the first drop in nine years. The weakness in the marketplace is affecting all manufacturers, but Apple was particularly hard-hit, losing five percent of its share -- mostly to Sony and Samsung, both of whom saw shipments rise by comparison. It is worth noting that shipments do not directly equal sales, but fewer shipments do indicate a drop in demand -- which for Apple is to be expected with the iPhone 5S expected to arrive later this summer.
Netflix opening in the Netherlands later this year
Netflix will be rolling out its streaming service to the Netherlands later this year. The new market, the first for the streaming service this year in Europe, joins already-operating versions in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, though it has yet to reveal an exact launch date, potential pricing, nor the contents of its launch catalog.
Proposals to help create single European mobile market
The European Commission (EC) has voted to scrap mobile charges caused through roaming in 2014. The vote, held by a group of 27 European Commissioners on Tuesday, fast-tracks the proposal to ban the extra charges on calls, texts, and data, with a view to having it implemented by carrier by the beginning of July next year.
Five-inch 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon S4 used, 4G LTE missing
Chinese device manufacturer Oppo has put its Find 5 smartphone on sale in Europe. The mobile phone, available as an unlocked handset directly from Oppo itself via its European online store, offers a five-inch display with a 1080p resolution, giving it a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, while inside is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro running at 1.5GHz with 2GB of RAM.
Questionnaire asks if anti-competitive clauses in Apple contracts exist
The European Commission is looking into how Apple sells the iPhone in Europe, by asking carriers about their experience with the company. A questionnaire allegedly sent to carriers in the region asks if Apple's sales tactics are anti-competitive, a well as asking if Apple restricts the iPhone's use on some sort of technical level.
Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong set for May Surface Pro launch
The Microsoft Surface Pro will start shipping in a number of other countries later this month, as part of the company's plans to expand its retail availability further than the US, Canada, and China. The United Kingdom will see the device appearing on store shelves on May 23, while a number of markets in Europe looking to get the slate computer on May 30.
Expanded, multi-floor layout gives Mac maker showcase space
[Updated with video of grand opening] Europe's latest "showcase" Apple Store, the Kurfürstendamm outlet in Berlin that is set to open on Friday at 5pm local time, looks to take its place as one of the most beautiful on the continent -- comparing favorably to premiere stores in Paris and London among others. The large facility, with some 48,000 square feet, has room for luxuries like an expanded theater space and classically-appointed conference room, while still retaining a sleek and modern main sales floor at the ground level following extensive renovations to the century-old building.
Exchange of ownership for $774 million in cash, stock, to help simplify business
Electronics retailer Best Buy is selling its stake in Carphone Warehouse Group to co-owner Carphone Warehouse, in its continued efforts to financially turn itself around. The sale, which sees Best Buy exchange its holdings in the European entity for £500 million ($774 million) in cash and stock according to a statement, effectively ends Best Buy's faltering expansion into the continent.
Google agrees to label search results, links to competitors
Google has struck a deal with the European Commission, in order to end a two-year antitrust investigation into its search practices, according to a report. The legally binding agreement will see Google clearly labeling any search results that come up for its own products and services, and in some instances, providing links from competing search engines.
Google dismisses allegations