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Google, Spotify and many other major websites are all down across the globe 16 Nov 2021, 7:22 pm

Google, Spotify and many other major websites are all down across the globe

Currently, there's a major web outage in the world, as several major web services have been experiencing outages durign the past 45 minutes or so. Affected sites include Google and Spotify.

Spotify's music services are down and even their homepage throws a 404 error when visiting their site. Furthermore, Google's services are currently unavailable, which means that all the mobile games and websites that rely on Google's services, such as login, are experiencing problems too.

DownDetector, a website that monitors the status of major web services shows that problems started about an hour ago.

Spotify nurin 2021-11

And obviously, social media is full of reports about the outage with hastags such as #googledown and #spotifydown.

#SpotifyDown#Spotify #SpotifyisDown

-- Might (@RGsentinels) November 16, 2021

This #googledown web services problem goes to show one of the major issues with 3 companies owning servers for 90% of the internet. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google own everything we do in an invisible way

-- grant (@fitzweekly) November 16, 2021

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Samsung Android 12 update timeline - Here's when your phone will get the update 15 Nov 2021, 2:56 pm

Samsung Android 12 update timeline - Here's when your phone will get the update

Samsung has announced its timeline for Android 12 rollout. Internally, Samsung calls Android 12 update as OneUI 4.0 update, but the core of that update is, in fact, the Android 12 operating system.

First Samsung phones will get the Android 12 update before end of November, 2021. For other phones and tablets, the timeline is quite speedy, too. Unfortunately, some of the phone models that should get the new version of Android, haven't been listed yet, so the schedule for those devices is still somewhat unclear.

But here's what we know now:

Samsung Android 12 roll-out schedule

November, 2021

December, 2021

January, 2022

February, 2022

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

April, 2022

May, 2022

June, 2022

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite

July, 2022

As per Samsung's update policy, some models not listed here should also get the Android 12 update. Obviously, the list is only an estimate and might change as Samsung begins its roll-out.

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Roomba model comparison chart (2021) - i3 vs i4 vs e5 vs i6 vs i7 and more 11 Nov 2021, 7:00 pm

Roomba model comparison chart (2021) - i3 vs i4 vs e5 vs i6 vs i7 and more

iRobot is the world's largest manufacturer of robotic vacuums. Its robovacs are sold under Roomba brand name globally. The problem is that there are tons of different Roomba models out there and Roomba's naming convention is no straightforward.

In this article, we try to clarify how various Roomba models differ from each other - and also to shine some light on Roomba's odd naming conventions. We have reviewed almost all Roomba models that exist, and thus the opinions mentioned on each model / series are based on our extensive reviews.

  1. Naming convention
  2. Roomba 600 series
  3. Roomba 670 series
  4. Roomba e5 series
  5. Roomba e6 series
  6. Roomba 980 series
  7. Roomba 970 series
  8. Roomba i3 series
  9. Roomba i4 series
  10. Roomba i7 series
  11. Roomba i6 series
  12. Roomba i8+
  13. Roomba s9 series
  14. Roomba j7 series
  15. Roomba 500, 700 and 800 series
  16. Roomba Combo (113, 1138)
  17. iAdapt 1.0? 3.0? Navigation tech explained
  18. Comparison chart

Model names

First of all, Roomba's naming convention can be confusing. The company has improved its game lately in this particular area, but it still causes confusion to consumers all over the world.

If a specific Roomba model has three numbers in its model name, only the first two numbers matter.

That is to say: Roomba 675 is exactly the same device as Roomba 676 is. The last number only indicates that some small details might differ: typically the last number indicates the color but it can simply be a way to determine which retailing giant has exclusive right to sell the specific model - model still being exactly the same as everyone else has, but the last number differs. Sure, in some cases models that have different last numbers might carry a different set of bundled accessories: one model might come with one replacement brush, another one with two. But the vacuum is always the same if the two first numbers match.

However, there's an exception to this rule: Roomba's 600 series, with low digits, where all the models are the same: Roomba 605 is the same as 606 or 620 or 616. Clear, right?

If Roomba's model starts with a letter, only the letter and first number are significant.

For example, Roomba e5 is widely sold also as Roomba e5152 in Europe. But no matter what the numbers are, it is still the very same Roomba e5, the latter numbers don't matter at all. Sure, again, they can indicate either retail channel, number of accessories the device ships with, color - or simply the geographical area the device was aimed for (say, Europe or the United States).

...and finally, the third rule:

If the product name has a plus sign at the end of the model name, it ships with a Clean Base unit.

So, Roomba i7 and Roomba i7+ are technically the same device, but Roomba i7+ ships with the Clean Base dock, which has the auto-emptying feature for emptying the device's dustbin automatically.

For "non-plus" models, you can typically buy a kit separately that has the Clean Base docking station and required parts to modify your non-plus model to work with the Clean Base. But again, the plus model and non-plus model are otherwise exactly the same device.

Roomba 600 series

Roomba 605

As of now, the Roomba 600 series is the cheapest entry-level robovac in Roomba's line-up. It is meant for people who are shopping for their first robovac - or don't have the means to use smartphone or don't have WiFi at their home.

Unfortunately, based on our tests, Roomba's 600 series is also the one that we wouldn't recommend getting. In our review of Roomba 605 we noticed that it doesn't do a very good job in cleaning, it has a tendency to stink like .. well, an old vacuum and it had serious problems with all sorts of rugs and carpets.

Key points to know about Roomba's 600 series:
  • Doesn't have recharge and resume option. This means that the vacuum can't continue its job after it runs out of battery. So, basically, it is suitable to small, max 2-bedroom apartments, not to anything bigger than that.
  • Brush type is bristle (as opposed to rubber / silicone in more expensive models). This means basically that it isn't very suitable for a pet home, as untangling the pet hair from bristle brush is a pain.
  • Can't be controlled remotely: doesn't support any sorts of network connectivity.
  • Quite sub-par cleaning results.
  • Can't be scheduled at all.
  • Stinks like an old vacuum.

Roomba 670 series (Roomba 675, 676, ..)

Roomba 676

Significantly better than the basic 600 series. Supports network connectivity and can be controlled with a smartphone. Has scheduling options. Better filter: doesn't smell bad, like the 600 series does.

If you're buying your first robovac and just want to try a cheap one first, the Roomba 670 series is a good option there.

Main points:
  • Doesn't have recharge and resume option - suitable for smaller apartments only.
  • Uses bristle brushes - not recommended for pet households.
  • Can be controlled over the internet with a smartphone app.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be scheduled.

Roomba e5 series (Roomba e5, e5152, etc)

Roomba e5

A very small step up from 670 series. Two main differences when comparing e5 to 670 series: e5 uses rubber / silicone brushes (vs bristle brushes used by 670 series) and has better suction power.

If you're considering between the 670 series and e5, consider these points: if the two cost currently the same, get e5. If you have pets, get e5. If there's a significant price gap (670 being significantly cheaper) and you don't have pets, get 670. They're almost identical, after all.

Roomba e5 key points:
  • Doesn't have recharge and resume option - suitable for smaller apartments only.
  • Uses silicone / rubber brushes, so suits much better for pet home than those that use bristle brushes.
  • Can be controlled over the internet with a smartphone app.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be scheduled.

Roomba e6

Again, just to confuse the living heck out of consumers, the Roomba e6 is actually exactly the same device as Roomba e5. The only differences are that e6 has a different color than e5 and e6 always ships with a virtual wall unit. Based on feedback, for e5, it seems to "depend" slightly whether your package includes virtual wall unit or not. But thhe color is different, that's for sure. No other differences whatsoever.

Roomba 980 series (Roomba 980, Roomba 981, ..)

Roomba 980

Roomba 980 series is Roomba's slightly older premium model, dating back to 2017. It is still widely available and has been software updated quite regularly by iRobot, so we added it to the list, too.

Roomba 980 was the first Roomba model to have full mapping features available: it can map the house and continue cleaning if the battery runs out of juice before it gets the entire area cleaned. This means that 980 is suitable also for very large homes, as it can continue its duties even after it has charged itself.

Roomba 980 also happens to be the loudest robovac we have ever tested. Its "carpet mode" feature puts a "turbo boost" to its suction when it detects carpet or a rug - and it sounds a bit like a fighter taking off when it does that.

Roomba 980 is overall an excellent product. Not as good as its successors in Roomba's top-end line, but as the model is currently being phased out, you might get yourself a great deal if you find 980 in deep discount.

Roomba 980 key points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Very, very good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has mapping function: shows the map of where it has cleaned.

Roomba 970 series (Roomba 971, Roomba 975, ..)

Roomba 970 series

This one is weird. There used to be an older Roomba 970 series back in 2016 or so. But in 2020 Roomba released a new Roomba 970 series that has been available mostly outside the United States only - namely, in Europe and in some Asian countries.

The Roomba 970, the year 2020 edition is basically a slightly toned-down version of the above-mentioned Roomba 980. Most notably, 970 has a smaller battery than 980, it lacks the carpet boost feature and its mapping abilities have been slightly crippled.

It does, however, support the recharge and resume feature, meaning that it can continue its cleaning after it runs out of battery - and thus, is suitable for bigger homes than e5 and other cheaper models.

Roomba 970 key points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has limited mapping functionality: shows the areas it has cleaned, but map can't be edited and doesn't support room-specific cleaning.

Roomba i3 series (Roomba i3, Roomba i3+)

Roomba i3+

Roomba i3 series was launched back in 2020 as the "higher mid-price" option in Rooomba's lineup. Basically, it is the cheapest Roomba that can have a self-emptying dustbin option.

What is a self-emptying dustbin then? The charging dock of such robovacs has a larger dustbin within the charging dock itself. Once robot has finished vacuuming and its own dustbin is getting full, it empties its own dustbin to the larger dustbin located at the charging station.

Now, here, it is good to remember that the self-emptying dustbin feature comes with the "plus models" only. So, i3+ can empty its own dustbin, but i3 can't. Otherwise, these two models are identical. And the dustbin feature can be upgraded to i3 separately, but it will cost more than the difference in the price of i3 and i3+.

As a vacuum, i3 is basically a stripped-down version of i7 series. A very good vacuum that has remote controlling, scheduling, good cleaning results, recharge and resume feature, and more. However, its mapping abilities have been slightly crippled, just like with 970 series. This means that while you can see the area the vacuum covered, you can't create virtual no-go zones or edit the map, or command your i3 to clean just a specific room.

Roomba i3 main features:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has limited mapping functionality: shows the areas it has cleaned, but map can't be edited and doesn't support room-specific cleaning.
  • The "plus" version, i3+, comes with Clean Base and automatic dustbin emptying feature.

Roomba i4 series (Roomba i4, Roomba i4+, Roomba i4150, ..)

Yay for weird naming conventions again..! Roomba i4 is exactly the same thing as Roomba i3.

Only one difference: i4 can be only bought from Costco in United States and Canada (and possibly through some other exclusive retailers in othehr continents).

Roomba i7 series (Roomba i7, Roomba i7+, ..)

Roomba i7+

The i7 series is Roomba's former flagship robovac. And in our opinion, it is still the best Roomba you can get, even better than its successor, the s9.

Roomba i7 is, just like i3, a model that can have a self-emptying dustbin if you opt to buy the "plus" model. If you buy the basic i7, you can upgrade it later to have the Clean Base dustbin mechanism, but with a higher cost. Whether you buy i7 or i7+, they're the same device.

Oh, and man, i7 is good! It is the best robotic vacuum we have tested, ever. It is the only robovac that didn't get stuck with rugs or carpets in our test homes during our extensive four-month review period.

If you're shopping for a very good robovac, buy i7 or i7+!!

As its features, it has full mapping capabilities: you can name rooms, command i7 to clean only the rooms you want it to clean; you can create no-go zones through the smartphone app, etc.

Roomba i7 key points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Excellent cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has full mapping functionality: rooms can be named; robot can be ordered to clean just select rooms if needed; no-go zones can be created through phone app, shows cleaning history maps.
  • The "plus" version, i7+, comes with Clean Base and automatic dustbin emptying feature.
  • Only robovac that doesn't get stuck in most common household objects (like rugs, etc)

Roomba i6 series (Roomba i6, Roomba i6+, Roomba i6550, ..)

Again, Roomba's model naming is confusing.. Roomba i6 series is identical to Roomba i7 series.

There are only two differences here: Roomba i6 is Amazon exclusive. And i7 ships with more accessories than i6 (namely, more spare dustbags and filters). Other than that, no difference whatsoever.

Roomba i8+

Okay, this one is bit like i6, but with a twist.

Roomba i8+ is almost exactly the same thing as Roomba i7+.

Roomba i8+ doesn't have a "non-plus" sibling, so there's the version with Clean Base only. The i8+ is Costco exclusive model, meaning that you can't buy it from anywhere else other than from Costco.

And i8+ actually has one significant difference when compared to i7+, too: Roomba i8+ has a 20 percent bigger battery than Roomba i7+ has. Other than that, they're the same thing.

As confirmed by iRobot:

The Roomba i8+ is a derivative of the Roomba i7+ sold at Costco, they are the same robot with cleaning and digital functionalities. The only difference is that Roomba i8 has a run time of up to 90 min and Roomba i7 has a run time of up to 75 min on hard floor surfaces.

-- iRobot (@iRobot) October 21, 2020

Roomba s9 series (Roomba s9, Roomba s9+)

Roomba s9+

And finally, there's Roomba s9, the flagship model of the Roomba lineup, released back in 2019. It looks totally different from all other Roomba models, as its design resembles that of Neato robovacs: it isn't circular like other Roombas are.

It is the official successor or i7 series, but in our tests and reviews i7 beats it in most areas: the s9 gets stuck slightly more often and i7 does a better job at the actual cleaning than s9 does.

Again, s9 has two variations: the plus model and the "non-plus" model. The difference here is, again, the fact that s9+ comes with a Clean Base charging station while Roomba s9 ships with a traditional charging station.

It is an excellent vacuum, one of the best we've ever reviewed, but still, in our opinion, Roomba i7 is still a better choice.

Roomba s9 main points:
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Very, very good cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has full mapping functionality: rooms can be named; robot can be ordered to clean just select rooms if needed; no-go zones can be created through phone app, shows cleaning history maps.
  • The "plus" version, s9+, comes with Clean Base and automatic dustbin emptying feature.

Roomba j7 series (Roomba j7 and Roomba j7+)

Roomba j7+

Roomba j7 series was launched in autumn of 2021, bringing artificial intelligence / machine learning to Roomba family.

Roomba j7 looks very much like slightly modernized version of Roomba i7 - and for most parts, it is exactly that. Just like the other modern Roomba models, the j7 ships in two varieties: the basic model and the "plus" model. Again, the only difference between these is the auto-emptying Clean Base dustbin: j7+ has one, the j7 doesn't have it. And yes, you can upgrade later your basic j7 to j7+ - you need to buy an upgrade kit, which includes the Clean Base and some new parts to the vacuum itself.

Roomba j7's big thing is the floor-facing camera that detects obstacles forgotten on the floor: in theory, this means that Roomba j7 will be able to avoid cords, shoelaces and yes, even those accidental dog poo-poos.

For other parts, it is pretty much equivalent to i7, meaning that it is an overall superb vacuum - but an expensive one.

Roomba j7 key points:
  • Camera that detects obstacles on the floor like cords and dog poo - and avoids them
  • Supports resume and recharge - knows how to continue cleaning after it has charged itself. Suitable for very large homes, too.
  • Excellent cleaning results.
  • Can be controlled via the internet, using smartphone app
  • Has full mapping functionality: rooms can be named; robot can be ordered to clean just select rooms if needed; no-go zones can be created through phone app, shows cleaning history maps.
  • The "plus" version, j7+, comes with Clean Base and automatic dustbin emptying feature.

Roomba 500, 700 and 800 series

These models are old Roomba models, phased out years ago. They're still sold at some retailers, but they originate from the year 2017 or earlier. As we haven't reviewed these models and as they're already end-of-life models, we aren't going to go into their specs or details here. The same applies to older 900 series models, like Roomba 960 series.

Roomba Combo

Roomba Combo

Ah, finally, there is this one. The weirdest of them all. Launched around end of year 2020, Roomba Combo, first device from iRobot to combine vacuum and robot mop together.

Actually, no. The Roomba Combo isn't manufactured by iRobot at all. It is 100% made by Chinese companny called Ecovacs, known for their cheap robotic vacuums. The product is simply a rebranded Ecovacs device that has nothing to do with "real Roomba", other than the sticker on top of it - and coloring of its parts.

Sold mainly in Europe and other areas outside Americas, it is simply a clever way to cash in with Roomba brand. The deal between iRobot and Ecovacs was formed back in May 2020 and the Roomba Combo is the first product to come out of that partnership.

As a product itself, it doesn't use any of the existing Roomba parts, like batteries, brushes, wheels, etc.

We haven't been able to review it yet, so we cannot tell whether it is a good product or not, but we'd be little vary about its quality. It is priced aggressively, at cheaper price point than most Roomba's vacuum-only cheap models.

iAdapt? What the navigation levels actually mean for Roomba

In the chart below, you might wonder what the Navigation tech section actually means. There you can see various terms, like iAdapt 1.0, etc.

Basically, that column tells you how "smart" the vacuum is when it is doing its vacuuming job. Smarter the vacuum is, the better it "understands" your house's floorplan and better it can navigate in your house.

Currently, the best level of navigational smartness for Roombas is called iAdapt 3.0. Those vacuums understand their surroundings and can build a seemingly logical path for their cleaning tasks.

Meanwhile, methods like iAdapt 1.0 and iAdapt 2.0 rely mostly or partly on randomness: those robots don't know where they are, but instead, bump to obstacles/walls/etc and adjust their route accordingly, until they consider the entire apartment to be cleaned fully. Roombas with iAdapt 1.0 typically look like they'r totally illogical when they're doing their cleaning while iAdapt 3.0 Roombas seem to make more sense when observing their patterns.

Comparison chart

tip: you can scroll the table sideways if it doesn't fit into your browser!

  Roomba 600 Roomba 670 Roomba e5 / e6 Roomba 970 Roomba 980 Roomba i3 / i3+ Roomba i6/i6+/i7/i7+ Roomba i8+ Roomba s9/s9+Roomba j7/j7+Roomba Combo
Reviews Roomba 605 review               
Battery 60 min 90 min 90 min 75 min 120 min 75 min 75 min 90 min 90 min75 min110 min
Battery size 2 200 mAh 1 800 mAh 1 800 mAh 1 800 mAh 3 300 mAh 1 800 mAh 1 800mAh 2 210 mAh 3 300 mAh 2 210 mAh 3 000 mAh (NiMH)
Brushes bristle bristle rubber rubber rubber rubber rubber rubber rubberrubberrubber
Recharge & Resume no no no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no
Navigation tech iAdapt 1.0 iAdapt 1.0 iAdapt 1.0 iAdapt 2.0 iAdapt 2.0 Floor sensors iAdapt 3.0 iAdapt 3.0 iAdapt 3.0 iAdapt 3.0 random
Dustbin size 500 ml 500 ml 500 ml 600 ml 600 ml 500 ml 500 ml 500 ml 460 mlnot known 450 ml
Allergy filter no no yes yes yes yes yes yes yesyesnot known
no no no no no yes
(plus model)
(plus model)
yes yes
(plus model)
(plus model)
Smartphone app no yes yes yes yes yes yesyes yes yes yes
Maps no no no yes
yes yes (limited) yes yes yes yes no
Suction power1x ("base level")1x5x5x10x10x10x10x40xnot knownnot known
Single room cleaning no no no no yes no yes yes yes yes no

We also have a similar comparison chart for Neato robot vacuums.

EDIT 11/11/2021: Added Roomba j7 series to the chart.

EDIT 11/12/2021: Fixed Roomba 980 details, added section explaining Roomba navigation tech.

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Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2 finally get Android 11 update - no word about Nokia 9 PureView 10 Nov 2021, 5:49 pm

Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2 finally get Android 11 update - no word about Nokia 9 PureView

HMD Global, the company that sells Nokia branded Android phones, has finally released the long overdue Android 11 update to two of its mid-range models.

Nokia's Android phones originally hit the market with extremely long update promise and rapid Android updates. Since the launch of Android 11 back in September, 2020, Nokia phones have consistantly failed to deliver that promise.

Android 12 has already been released, but we're still waiting Nokia some phones to get the promised Android 11 update.

However, this week HMD Global did finally deliver Android 11 to two of its mid-range phones: both Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2 got their OTA Android 11 update in many countries.

Only the Nokia's old flagship model, Nokia 9 PureView is still without the Android 11 update (out of the phones that are supposed to get the Android 11).

Meanwhile, some manufacturers, like Asus have already released their Android 12 update schedule. For Nokia phones, we currently only know the list of Nokia models that are supposed to get Android 12 update, but not the timeline.

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Asus Android 12 update timeline released 22 Oct 2021, 4:23 pm

Asus Android 12 update timeline released

Taiwanese Asus has published a list of its phone models that will get official Android 12 update, accompanied with a schedule for each update.

Most recent models will get the update first. Asus Zenfone 8 Flip and Asus Zenfone 8 both will receive official Android 12 update in December, 2021. Zenfone 8 has already an open Android 12 beta program, but as the official release is very close, it is highly recommended to sit this one out and wait for the proper release instead.

Next in line are the latest Asus gaming phones: Asus ROG Phone 5 series (ROG Phone 5, ROG Phone 5s and ROG Phone 5s Pro) will all get Android 12 in first quarter of 2022 - meaning that the phones will get the update by end of March, 2022.

Then the rest: Asus Zenfone 7 and Asus Zenfone 7 Pro will get Android in first half of the year 2022 - so, by end of June, 2022. Same applies for Asus ROG Phone 3 and Asus ROG Phone 3 Strix Edition.

So, pretty quick rollout, for most parts. Obviously, people who have older Asus handsets, such as Asus Zenfone 6, will be left in the dust. This has always been Asus style: company doesn't provide very long Android update path. And to be honest, it was quite surprising that Asus even decided to push Android 12 for its ROG Phone 3 series, as ROG Phones typically get only one major Android update.

For more Android 12 updates, check out AndroidUpdateTracker's comprehensive Android 12 listing.

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Museums got tired of Facebook censorship, took nude art to OnlyFans 21 Oct 2021, 7:21 pm

Museums got tired of Facebook censorship, took nude art to OnlyFans

Vienna museums got tired of social media giants, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok censoring classical art. None of the major social media platforms allow nudity on their services - and that includes art, even classical and ancient art.

Vienna museums have struggled with social media platforms very publicly: Back in 2018 30'000 years old Venus sculpture was censored by Facebook. And similar fate has hit many other paintings, sculptures and modern forms of art.

Museums finally got tired of the struggle, while at the same time, they wanted people to be able to enjoy the art they have in the collections. Thus, an ingenious idea was born.

There surely must be a platform that isn't too strict about nudity, but also has massive number of existing users..?

Thus.. Four Vienna museums created a joint OnlyFans account to share their more artwork to the public.

OnlyFans is best known for its adult content, but the platform is actually open for all kinds of content. And in the past, OnlyFans hasn't been keen to censor the content its users share on the platform, as long as it doesn't break any laws.

Recently, though, OnlyFans caused a chaos by announcing that it plans to ban virtually all pornography on its platform. The backlash was massive and within a week or so, company decided to scrap the plans and continue with its relaxed content guidelines.

Vienna tourist board, who manages the joint OnlyFans account, announced the move in their video:

And to see the art the museums have shared to their OnlyFans account, here's the link:

...and remember, you're about to see some nudity there. So, avoid clicking the link in case you're sensitive to nudity, even in art.

news image: Wikipedia / Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

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There is one country where Chrome is not the most popular 1 Oct 2021, 12:47 pm

There is one country where Chrome is not the most popular

According to the latest browser market share statistics published by StatCounter, there is currently exactly one country in the world where Google's Chrome is not the most popular browser.

And that country is Nigeria. Even in Nigeria, the change happened only in September, 2021 - before that, Chrome was the #1 browser in Nigeria, too.

In Nigeria, the most popular browser is currently Opera. We had to dig bit deeper to find out the reason for this phenomenom. It seems that the surge of Opera's popularity is down to two factors: most of the net browsing in Nigeria is done by mobile phones. In desktop, Chrome dominates the market also in Nigeria, but as mobile usage is so much bigger in Nigeria than desktop, the desktop market share means much less in big picture.

Secondly, the most popular phone brand in Nigeria is Tecno, a relatively unknown brand outside Africa. Tecno ships most of its phones with Opera pre-installed. And it seems that people are quite happy using the Opera, too. Thus, the pre-installed browsers found in most popular brand's phones managed to do the seemingly impossible task: it overtook Chrome.

Nigeria's example could also be used to highlight the effect that pre-installed browser has, especially in mobile world: if the browser is good enough, people wont bother installing alternatives. And as Google's Android licensing terms are under fire in EU and in the U.S., Nigeria's example might fuel the discussion about Google's practices. If Google would have to allow Android manufacturers to replace Chrome with whatever browser they want to, the entire mobile browser landscape might look totally different - outside Nigeria, too.

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Imgur sold to MediaLab 28 Sep 2021, 10:10 am

Imgur sold to MediaLab

Popular image sharing site, Imgur, has been sold to MediaLab.

Imgur, established back in 2009, announced on 27th of September, 2021 that it has been sold to American holding company MediaLab. MediaLab is a Los Angeles-based company that has recently acquired several online brands, most of which have been slightly in decline in terms of their popularity.

Imgur has been known to host viral images and memes and has been particularly popular among Reddit users for years, until Reddit introduced its own image hosting service back in 2016.

Site has been among the most popular online destinations in the world: according to Alexa, it was 112th most popular site in the world as of end of September, 2021.

MediaLab's other acquisitions in recent years include messaging service Kik, anonymous messaging service Whisper and song lyrics database Genius.

According to the official statement by Imgur, MediaLab is committed to fund Imgur's upcoming new services and features.

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EU plans to make USB-C mandatory - Apple isn't happy about the idea, at all 24 Sep 2021, 4:39 pm

EU plans to make USB-C mandatory - Apple isn't happy about the idea, at all

European Union is getting tired of Apple's own charging cables. EU has tried to lure manufacturers to voluntarily adopt standard charging port in the past, but Apple has refused to participate.

Now, European Commission has proposed a legislation that would require not only Apple's iPhone, but tons of other product categories, too, to start using USB-C as their standard connection.

The proposal would require all smartphones, but also tablets, digital cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld game consoles to use USB-C for charging. Proposed legislation would also remove the need for manufacturers to ship their products with chargers. The idea is that once all products use the same, standard charging port, people need much less chargers and thus, removing mandatory chargers from products would reduce also e-waste.

Apple, unsurprisingly, opposes the proposed legislation and says that such measure would curb innovation. Then again, Apple itself uses USB-C in many of its products, including the latest iPad mini and its many of its laptops.

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Lithuania: Don't buy Chinese phones! If you use one, get rid of them 22 Sep 2021, 12:50 pm

Lithuania: Don't buy Chinese phones! If you use one, get rid of them

Baltic state Lithuania is urging its citizens to avoid Chinese phones. Country's defence ministry has published a recommendation to Lithuanian citizens advising them to get rid of Chinese phones, if they have one.

The statement was made after it was found that Xiaomi's phones sold in Europe had a built-in censorship mechanism installed in them. The censorship mechanism detects and censors terms such as "Free Tibet" and "democracy movement", Lithuanian state-run cybersecurity body told this week.

Now, Lithuanian Defence Ministry recommends consumers to avoid Chinese mobile phones and even urges them to "throw away" the phones they're currently using if they're made by Chinese brands.

According to Lithuania, even very recent Xiaomi models, such as Xiaomi Mi 10T, included the hidden censorship and detection code. According to Reuters, the detection program was turned off in phones sold in the European Union region, but was present in the phones, nevertheless.

Chinese phone manufacturers

As the market has shifted in recent years quite dramatically, it is hard to know what brands are Chinese and what are not.

Of the bigger manufacturers, Chinese owned brands are OnePlus, Xiaomi, Huawei, Honor, Motorola (owned by Chinese Lenovo), Oppo and Realme among others.

Non-Chinese phone manufacturers

Obviously, majority of the modern phones are manufactured in China, but at least some of the brands are not directly owned by Chinese companies.

Such mobile phone brands include Samsung (Korean company), Sony (Japanese), Apple (American), Nokia (phone rights licensed by Finnish HMD from Nokia, which is Finnish, too), Asus (Taiwanese) and Google Pixel (American).

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Computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies, aged 81 17 Sep 2021, 12:33 pm

Computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies, aged 81

One of the pioneers of the 1980s home computer revolution, Sir Clive Sinclair has died. He was best known for his Sinclair home computers, released in early 1980s. Sinclair computers were extremely popular in many countries back then, even surpassing the other iconic 1980s computer, Commodore 64, in many regions.

Most notable of the 1980s Sinclair computers was - by far - the first Sinclair's color computer, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, released in 1982. It was hugely popular, especially in Sinclair's home country, the United Kingdom, but also in various other countries.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

One of the interesting facts about the budget-friendly Sinclair ZX Spectrum is that the computer was so good that several unauthorized clones were made in Eastern European communist countries in 1980s and those clones became de facto home computers behind the Iron Curtain back then. Due this weird history, ZX Spectrum remains one of the most popular demoscene retro computers in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Sir Clive Sinclair invested parts of the Sinclair's computer profits into a electric vehicle subsdiary, Sinclair Vehicles, in mid-1980s. Sinclair was certain that the electricity is the key to the future of cars - predicting this almost 40 years before the current global EV boom.

Sinclair Vehicles' first - and only - production model was launched in 1985. Dubbed as Sinclair C5, it was a one-person small open-top car. Unfortunately, the world wasn't ready for such cars at that time and the car production was halted shortly after its release. The car business also put financial strain on Sinclair's computer business. Eventually Sinclair was sold to its competitor, Amstrad, back in 1986.

Sinclair C5 electric vehicle
Sinclair C5 from year 1985, kuva: Wikipedia

After the demise of Sinclair as a corporation, Sir Clive Sinclair continued to research and develop electric vehicles of all sorts. None of his latter projects managed to achieve such widespread success as his original computers back in 1980s.

Sir Clive Sinclair died in London on 16th of September, 2021. He had three children.

Sources: The Guardian, Wikipedia

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Firefox adds suggestions to searches, plans to introduce sponsored links 16 Sep 2021, 1:11 pm

Firefox adds suggestions to searches, plans to introduce sponsored links

Chrome and Safari have offered direct link suggestions for their users for years now when typing a search term into the browser's address bar. Now, the open source browser Firefox joins the party.

Firefox Suggest feature just rolled out and it does exactly what the name implies it should do. Basically, when one enters a very standard search phrase to the Firefox's address bar, say, like France, the browser automatically suggests a France's Wikipedia page link below the address bar.

However, Firefox plans to add contextual suggestions to the feature soon. This would take information like user's location and previous behaviour into account. So, in case you're looking for a specific pizza chain, like Domino's, the suggestion link could be your nearest Domino's local page rather that the corporate frontpage.

Obviously, in order to use contextual suggestions, Firefox would have to collect information about its users - and pass that information to its servers. A move that many users worried about their privacy aren't going to be happy about.

Furthermore, Firefox plans to add a possibility for companies to bid on search terms and then show those sponsored links as the suggestions. So, when you're typing Domino's pizza chain name to the address bar, you might get a suggestion for Pizza Hut's link instead.

Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, claims that it wont allow just anyone to bid for keywords and to buy sponsored links, but instead, company plans to vet the possible sponsors and select only few "trusted ones" to use the upcoming advertisement feature.

Below is the official video demonstrating how the feature works:

Firefox has lost millions of users during the past few years. And considering the fact that it used to be the #1 browser sometime back in early 2000s, the current marginal marketshare it controls, is a pity. But it is interesting to see whether the data collection behaviour will get more users to the open source contender - or will Firefox lose the remaining loyal users, too.

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Xiaomi promises 3 major Android updates for Xiaomi 11T and 11T Pro 9 Sep 2021, 11:54 am

Xiaomi promises 3 major Android updates for Xiaomi 11T and 11T Pro

Long support for major Android updates is becoming an increasingly important competitive aspect in phone market nowadays. Now Chinese tech giant Xiaomi joins the bandwagon and improves its support singificantly.

For the upcoming Xiaomi's flagship model line, the company promises three major Android updates and four years worth of security updates. New flagship phones are about to be announced on 15th of September and will consist two models: Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro.

As Android 12 hasn't been released yet, the phones will most likely launch with Android 11 and thus, will get Android 12, Android 13 and Android 14 over the years.

Company press statement states:

Xiaomi is committed to providing users with industry-leading hardware and lasting performance. In continuation of this commitment to users, Xiaomi is further extending the life cycle of Xiaomi's smartphones by ensuring three generations of Android operating system updates. This way, users can choose to use their current devices for a longer period, and enjoy the latest features along with it. At the same time, we will also provide users with security updates that ensure their devices operate securely for a longer period of time.

Upcoming 11T and 11T Pro models are expected to get Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, 120Hz display and all the other bells and whistles expected for a major manufacturer's new flagship phone.

The list of phones expected to get Android 12 is growing rapidly, which is a very good thing for those of us that want our phone to sport the latest OS.

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WhatsApp stops working on millions of Android and iPhone models 8 Sep 2021, 12:00 pm

WhatsApp stops working on millions of Android and iPhone models

After November 1st, 2021 WhatsApp will no longer work on millions of existing phones.

Company has announced that it will cease the support for older operating system versions for both, Android and iOS. This means that people still using rather old phones will be blocked out of the instant messaging service.

From November onwards, the support for Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and iOS 9 versions is gone - meaning that people using phones with those operating system versions wont be able to log in to WhatsApp. Also, the messaging features will cease for users using the outdated operating systems.

The only option is to purchase a new phone - or to update the existing phone's operating system, if there's an update available, but not yet installed to the phone.

iOS 9 was originally released in September, 2015 so the WhatsApp support for that iOS version lasted for more than six years. Android 4.0.4 got even longer lifespace: it was released in March, 2012 so WhatsApp supported that particular Android version for almost a decade.

From November, 2021 onwards, the minimum OS requirements are as follows:
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or newer
  • iOS 10 or newer

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Two new Roomba models spotted: Roomba j7 adds obstacle detection, uses AI 8 Sep 2021, 11:21 am

Two new Roomba models spotted: Roomba j7 adds obstacle detection, uses AI

Several people in various robot vacuum related Reddit channels have spotted Roomba j7 robot vacuum. While iRobot doesn't have any details of the new model yet, its advertisements have been shown in Canadian TV and some Canadian retailers seem to already list it on their websites.

New Roomba j7 seems to be a an upgraded version of the Roomba i7, which we consider currently the best overall robot vacuum in the market.

The key new feature here is the new camera module that has been added to the device's bumper. Similarly to the Roborock S6 MaxV, the new camera is used to detect obstacles in the floor: say, clothes, wires, pets, etc. Most likely the Roomba j7 will use the camera and machine learning to understand whether the objects it spots are actually obstacles that should be avoided.

Roomba j7 retail box

Other than that, the top camera of the Roomba i7 is also removed - it is highly likely that Roomba j7 will map the apartment floorplan with the bumper camera, as it has one now, instead of the top camera, like Roomba i7 (and Roomba s9) does.

It seems that the Canadian retauler accidentally posted the product information before the public announcement, as the device info page has been already removed. But the cached version of the product page is still there.

Roomba j7 specs
Roomba j7 features, as they were listed on retailer's website

Roomba j7 was listed to cost 799 Canadian dollars (about 630 USD or 533 euros).

The other upcoming model that was spotted on various retailer sites is dubbed as Roomba i1, which seems to be a new low-end model, positioned below Roomba i3 and probably to replace the plethora of cheaper current Roomba models. The new Roomba i1 also has a auto-emptying Clean Base version of it, called Roomba i1+, listed on Walmart's site and priced at $599 (USD).

We maintain a Roomba model comparison chart and will add these models to the chart as soon as the specs become more detailed.

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