Deal puts end to roaming charges in European Union by June 2017
Europe is one step closer to ending mobile phone roaming charges throughout the continent, after the European Parliament agreed on new rules to forbid them once and for all. According to the deal, agreed to last night in the final days of Latvia's European Union Council presidency, roaming charges as a whole in the region will be scrapped in the next two years, with the agreement also -- surprisingly -- including stricter net neutrality rules that would apply across the continent.
Ubuntu smartphone being made available on invitation-only basis
A smartphone running Ubuntu is being made available to potential users in Europe, on an invitation-only basis. The Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition, a repackaged version of the existing Meizu MX4 running the titular operating system, is a device with a 5.36-inch, 1920x1152-resolution, Gorilla Glass 3-protected display, backed by a customized octa-core Mediatek processor with PowerVR G6200 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
CNIL gives Google 15 days to implement search removal requests globally
Google is facing pressure to implement its "Right to be Forgotten" measures on all sites around the world, instead of just the European versions. French data protection regulator CNIL has demanded that Google allows European users to request the removal of certain search results in all global Google search sites in the next 15 days, or face the prospect of having sanctions imposed on the company's activities.
UK sales to be reported via local Amazon subsidiary following government tax crackdown
Amazon is altering its tax affairs in Europe, following pressure from governments and regulatory bodies over the way it and other tech companies attempt to shrink their tax bills. The retailer is starting to run sales it makes in the United Kingdom within the country itself, instead of funneling them through Luxembourg to minimize the amount of tax it pays, a change that is expected to bring in millions in corporation tax to the UK treasury.
Ad blocking plans could result in request by carriers for advertising revenue cut
European carriers are allegedly working on blocking mobile advertising from major advertising networks, including those from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. A report claims the current plans to remove the online advertising from smartphone browsers in order to save on bandwidth costs, though it will also apparently have the ulterior motive of trying to force the advertising networks to share some of their revenue with the carriers themselves.
Almost 59 percent of European search listing removal requests denied by Google
Google is not fulfilling a high proportion of "Right to be Forgotten" requests, with more than half of requests being denied by the search company. According to its latest Transparency Report, Google has evaluated over 922 thousand requests for the removal of search listings since the program began last year, but out of that figure, 58.7 percent of all requests have been rejected.
Free calls, texts, data offered to potential FreedomPop UK users
FreedomPop, the carrier that provides free calls to its customers, has revealed plans for its launch in Europe, after its trial in Belgium last year. The United Kingdom will be the first country to receive the service when it formally launches this July, which will provide 200 voice minutes, 200 text messages, and 200MB of data per month completely free to users, as well as unlimited free calls and texts to other FreedomPop users.
Different new channel options depending on region, from sports to art
Apple has added a handful of new channels to Apple TV units in the US, Canada, the UK, French- and German-speaking regions in Europe, and Australia today. Starting immediately, US owners can now watch CBS Sports (which does not require a cable subscription login) or USA Now, which does require a login. In Canada, viewers will now see either CraveTV (if they are Bell subscribers) or Showmi (for Rogers or Shaw cable customers). Other countries have also received different new channels.
European Court of Justice to advise on legality of web links to unpublished content
The European Court of Justice (CJEU) is going to revisit the question of whether or not linking to infringing material online is infringing in its own right. A lawsuit between an entertainment blog and the publisher of Playboy in the Netherlands over the leaking of unpublished photographs has led to the CJEU being asked to clarify current European copyright law in relation to content linking.
EU approves plan for cars to call emergency services at the time of an accident
The European Parliament has voted in favor of new regulations that would require new vehicles to call the emergency services in the event of an emergency. The eCall regulation, due to come into force from April 2018, will force manufacturers to install equipment that will automatically contact the 112 European emergency services line if in-car sensors or safety features are triggered, for example when the airbag deploys.
Gaming news summary for April 19, 2015
The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look by MacNN and Electronista on the wider gaming landscape, highlighting some of the more notable stories from the last few days. Today's list includes improvements to security on Steam, "Timewalking" in World of Warcraft, and the small matter of a new Star Wars game.
Comparison shopping, Android app bundling complains issued by European Commission
Google's relationship with the European Commission (EC) has worsened, after the regulator made two antitrust-related announcements. It has formally objected to the way Google gives more prominence in search results to its own shopping comparison services than competitors, and has also opened up a separate formal investigation over Android and its bundling of Google apps.
OnePlus alters price of One smartphone in Europe over exchange rate changes
OnePlus is raising the prices of its OnePlus One smartphone in Europe, due to euro exchange rate changes causing the smartphone to be sold at a slight loss. While accessories will cost the same as before, the 16GB Silk White edition of the smartphone will increase to €299 ($320), while the 64GB Sandstone Black model will cost €349 ($370), with the new pricing kicking in from March 25.
OnePlus makes flagship smartphone available to buy in 16 more countries
OnePlus is making its OnePlus One smartphone available in more countries in Europe. The extra 16 countries, including Ireland and Greece, join another 19 countries in being able to acquire the mobile device, though The Next Web reports they will still be subject to requiring an invitation to purchase or ordering it during the Tuesday sales events, just like customers in other countries are subjected to.
Google extends Inbox availability to Google Apps for Work users
Google is expanding the availability of its Inbox app to users of its Google Apps for Work service. The Google for Work blog advises that it is going to be sending out invitations to administrator accounts granting access to the Inbox early adopter program, allowing users to use the Inbox app to manage their work Gmail account.
Nintendo pulls launch of TVii service in Europe over localization issues
Nintendo has scrapped its planned TVii service in Europe, over two years after the Wii U console's launch. The service, which is available in Japan and North America, will not be heading to the continent due to the "extremely complex nature of localizing multiple television services across a diverse range of countries with varied licensing systems," reports Eurogamer. An Anime channel for the Nintendo 3DS will still be available to view.
European regulatory support requested by Uber to promote job creation
Uber is aiming to create another 50,000 jobs across Europe as well as provide other benefits to the economy, if local regulators decide to work directly with the company, the ride-hailing service has announced. The positive potential jobs news arrives after another week of trouble for Uber, which has seen its service halted in yet another market in the United States.
European Commission investigation finds issues with Amazon tax affairs
The European Commission believes Amazon's tax arrangement with Luxembourg can be classed as "state aid." A document published today suggests that Amazon benefited from an agreement with Luxembourg over taxes payable in Europe, one which allowed the retailer to pay proportionately less than other companies had to over the last decade.
Follow-up to HTC Desire 610 packs 64-bit processor, 5-inch 720p display
HTC is continuing its support for the mid-range smartphone market, by extending its Desire line in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. The Desire 620 is the successor to the Desire 610 launched at Mobile World Congress in February this year, and will be driven by a 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, along with 1GB of RAM.
Search separation proposal set to be finalized, voted on next week
The European Parliament is looking to break Google apart into multiple sections, according to a draft motion discovered by the Financial Times. The proposal seeks to separate Google's "search engines from other commercial services," in an attempt to curb the power gained from being the most dominant search engine on the continent.
Royalty collection company claims Spotify payments 13-percent higher than iTunes
Streaming services are heavily impacting music sales, with one report claiming Spotify's music royalty payments have eclipsed royalties earned through iTunes sales in Europe. Kobalt, a music royalty company representing over 6,000 songwriters and artists, claims that Spotify-derived revenues on the continent were higher that those earned from European iTunes sales by 13 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Honor 4X smartphone includes 64-bit Qualcomm processor
Huawei has introduced one of its smartphones to Europe, at the same time as unveiling another in the same product line. The Honor 6, originally launched in China four months ago, is making the trip to European markets, while the Honor 4X boasts a 64-bit Qualcomm processor alongside a claimed usage time of up to 72 hours from a single charge.
Microsoft releases digital TV tuner for Xbox One in Europe
A digital TV tuner for the Xbox One has gone on sale in Europe through the Microsoft Store. Priced at £25 ($40) in the UK and 30 euros ($38) in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, the tuner will allow owners of the Microsoft game console to view free-to-air HD television through the device, complete with Snap Mode video, pausing and rewinding of live TV, and OneGuide program listings.
Changing 'market needs and demands' cited for exit
Following continued dismal sales in Europe of computer hardware, electronics giant manufacturer Samsung has ceased sales in the region, effective immediately. The sales stop includes the company's popular Ativ line, as well as the generally-successful Chromebook products by the Korean manufacturer. While the company claims the stop is temporary, no word has been given on when the company may resume sales again.
Cost spread out over four years, expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to area
Google has said that it is making a four-year investment into the construction of a new data center in the Netherlands. The data center, being built in Eemshaven, will cost the company approximately $772 million to construct (€600 million). The new data center marks the fourth built in Europe, following construction in Ireland, Belgium and Finland.
Gogo 2Ku satellite Internet could provide Virgin passengers with shared 70Mbps connection
In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo is expanding to Europe, with Virgin Atlantic set to become the first airline operating in the region to offer the service to passengers. The airline will reportedly retrofit its entire fleet to work with the Internet service as part of the deal, and while the two sides are still discussing the finer points of the agreement, the principal terms have already been settled.
Pebble Firmware version 2.5 adds iOS 8 support, emoji
A firmware update for the Pebble smartwatch range adds iOS 8 support to the device, among other new additions. Version 2.5 of the firmware also activates its compass features using its magnetometer, allowing developers access to the component, as well as reintroducing the Domo watch face and adding the ability to display emoji within notifications and messages.
Completed acquisition of Jazztel would make Orange second-place carrier in Spain
European carrier Orange has offered to acquire another telecoms company in Spain, Jazztel. The deal, said to be worth 3.4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) or 13 euro per share in cash, would help Orange increase its standing in the country, and could help it overtake the current second-place carrier in the country, Vodafone, shortly after completion.
UK, Germany first European countries to receive Amazon smartphone
Amazon has lowered the cost of the Fire Phone in the United States, down to 99 cents on a two-year contract. At the same time, the retailer revealed it is bringing the Fire Phone to Europe, with the United Kingdom and Germany set to be the first markets on the continent to receive the device at the end of this month.
Gamescom PS4 media event revealed PlayStation TV shipping to Europe in November
Sony is bringing the PlayStation TV to Europe, a month after its US launch, the company revealed as part of its Gamescom media event earlier today. The company also laid out its plans for future updates to the PlayStation 4 game console at the event, as well as advising that it has passed the 10 million unit sales milestone for the console, up from the 7 million it reported back in April.
Lawsuit launched in Austrian court, points to privacy issues, violation of EU law
Law student Max Schrems has turned from filing complaints against Facebook's Irish subsidiary to filing a European lawsuit against the social media company for privacy violations. Schrems filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, asking people from outside the United States and Canada to join in. At the heart of the matter are violations Schrems and his group, Europe vs. Facebook, believe are against European data privacy laws.
MakerBot Europe formed to manage Central, Eastern European 3D printer sales
MakerBot is making an expansion into Europe, by acquiring its largest reselling partner. A seller of MakerBot products in Germany for a number of years, Hafner's Büro has been rebranded as MakerBot Europe and will manage resellers of its 3D printer range across Central and Eastern Europe, with a view to covering more markets within the continent in the future.
Three prepares to offer subscribers free Wi-Fi in London Underground
British carrier Three is following the lead of other carriers in the country, by offering free Wi-Fi on the London Underground. The Next Web reports the carrier will be working with Virgin Media, the company that set up the original Wi-Fi network for the 2012 Olympic Games, to provide customers free access to the Wi-Fi network in 137 stations without buying a Wi-Fi pass. Three hopes to open up the network to its customers by the end of this month.
Four-part request form allows Internet users to remove listings from Bing
Microsoft is following after Google in complying with a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union over the "right to be forgotten." Microsoft has created a four-part form for users to request the removal of European search listings from Bing relating to their name, in cases where information can be deemed "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant."
Google legal chief outlines removal request difficulties following EU court ruling
Google is still being swamped with requests to remove website listings in Europe, following the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling on the "right to be forgotten." Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond claims the search company has received more than 70,000 takedown requests since the ruling in May, with the requests covering 250,000 webpage listings in its search results.
Questionnaires sent by European Commission ahead of formal Facebook purchase review
Officials in the European Union are allegedly questioning competitors of WhatsApp over the proposed acquisition by Facebook. The European Commission, the competition authority, is said to have sent detailed questionnaires to a number of "major technology and online-messaging firms" about how much of an the impact the $19 billion merger will have on the messaging and social network marketplaces.
Free FreedomPop service will be similar to current US plan
FreedomPop, a carrier which offers free cellular service for smartphones, is going to expand its service into Europe. The mobile phone network will be teaming up with Netherlands-based carrier KPN to test the service in Belgium, before working with other providers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain, along with Pacific Rim markets in the "coming months."
Links to public interest stories pulled from Google after EU court ruling
Google's removal of listings from European search results via "right to be forgotten" requests has come under fire, with the search company seemingly not following its own rules. Major publications in the United Kingdom have found links to major news stories on their websites being hidden, including one story about the former head of investment bank Merrill Lynch being forced out of his position following massive losses.
Proposal would extend US Privacy Act rights to EU citizens
European citizens could receive some of the same rights to privacy as Americans in the future, if new proposals are adopted. US Attorney General Eric Holder advised to European leaders in Athens, Greece on Wednesday that the Obama administration is working on legislation that would provide EU residents similar protections under the US Privacy Act as US citizens already have.
European search results for names carry warnings of possible removed listings
Google has started to remove search results in Europe, in accordance with a recent ruling over the "Right to be Forgotten". After receiving requests from Internet users wanting links to be removed from search listings, Google is not only leaving out the URL, but also warning users their search results may have been adjusted to conform to the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling.
Roaming changes mandated by European Commission affects call, text, data costs
In a repeat of similar moves last year, mobile phone users in Europe will soon be able to use their smartphones in other countries on the continent at a lower cost. From July 1, roaming caps introduced by the European Commission will see the cost of calls and text messages reduced, with the high note being the reduction of maximum data charges from last year's cap of 45 euro cents ($0.61) per megabyte to 20 cents ($0.27) before tax, a decrease of 55.5 percent.
Claims Google abusing position over third-party app store measures
Google is abusing its position as the dominant Android app store, according to an antitrust complaint from another app marketplace. Aptoide, a store from Portugal that hosts 200,000 apps and has 6 million active users, has met with European Commission representatives in the last week, and claims that Google makes it unfairly difficult for Android users to use a different app store with their device instead of Google Play.
Second-highest European court sides with EC over Intel anti-competitive behavior fine
Intel must pay a 1.06 billion euro ($1.44 billion) fine handed to it by the European Union five years ago, the second-highest court in Europe has ordered. Judges based at the General Court in Luxembourg stood by the fine, issued by the European Commission in 2009 over anti-competitive behavior designed to squeeze AMD out of the processor market.
EU court ruling over privacy prompts form collecting removal requests
Google is complying with a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union over the "right to be forgotten." A form has been published on Google's support pages, collecting requests from individuals for Google to consider removing specific listings from its search services in Europe, though it does not state how long it will take for a URL to be hidden from view.
Netflix reveals plans to expand into six more European countries
Netflix is expanding its presence in Europe to include six more countries, the company has revealed. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg will receive access to the streaming video service later this year, with content and pricing for each region to be announced in the future. The new additions will likely increase Netflix's international subscriber count upward from the 12.7 million it already has in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. By contrast, the US has 35.7 million subscribers.
4K Media Player adds HEVC decoding to 2013, 2012 Sony 4K TVs
Sony has launched a third iteration of its 4K Media Player, this time aimed at the European market. The FMP-X5 media streamer is said by Sony to be intended for models of its Bravia 4K televisions sold in 2012 and 2013 that do not have a built-in HEVC decoder, allowing those televisions the ability to watch Ultra HD-resolution streaming content.
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.