Firefox update debuts WebRender, updated AV1 decoder

Firefox has been updated with a range of significant performance improvements, but developers will be most interested in WebRender’s rollout and the updated AV1 decoder.

WebRender is Mozilla’s next-gen GPU-based 2D rendering engine. The technology aims to make browsing feel smoother by moving core graphics rendering processes to the GPU.

Previous iterations of Firefox’s browser rendering pipeline varied dependent on platform and OS, which had two core drawbacks:

  • Dependent on the variation, rendering was performed on the CPU which consumes resources...

By Ryan Daws, 21 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Industry.

Trump’s trade war on China is killing Huawei’s devices

President Trump’s trade war on China has resulted in Google, Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, and Xilinx ending their relationship with Huawei.

Trump signed an executive order effectively banning telecoms equipment from foreign firms deemed a security risk. Shortly after, the US Commerce Department added Huawei to its Entity List. Any US firm wanting to have dealings with a company on the list...

By Ryan Daws, 20 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Ecosystem, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Sony and Microsoft will partner on cloud, AI, and semiconductors

In a contender for the decade’s most surprising partnership, Sony and Microsoft have agreed to work together on cloud and AI technologies.

AI and cloud are increasingly vital technologies, and Sony isn’t exactly considered a leader in either. It’s easy to see what Sony is getting out of the partnership, but less so what Microsoft sees in the collaboration.

Microsoft and Sony are each other’s biggest competitor in the gaming space. Gaming is shifting towards cloud streaming, as shown by...

By Ryan Daws, 17 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Cloud, Devices, Enterprise, Gaming, Industry.

Twitter opens Developer Lab for testing new API features

Twitter has opened the doors to its Developer Labs where developers can test new API products from the social network before release.

Initially, Twitter is planning to focus on conversational data. This will be for academics and researchers who study interactions on the social network, as well as social listening and analytics providers that build products for other businesses.

Twitter says developers can provide feedback on what they like and dislike to help build ‘the next generation of the Twitter...

By Ryan Daws, 15 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: API, Industry, Platforms, Social media.

Uniting developers and designers with Unite UX

Developer sat down with Unite UX product manager Daniel Levy to hear Progress’ plan to bridge the gap between developers and designers.

Most of us have witnessed or experienced the disconnect. The different tools used often results in a back-and-forth with constant reiterations needed. Ultimately, this wastes effort and money with a slow time-to-market.

Unite UX aims to offer a roundtrip workflow allowing developers and designers to continue using their existing tools.

“Unite UX allows designers...

By Ryan Daws, 09 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Design, Development Tools, Industry.

Progress CTO: Microapps save time, increase productivity

During his keynote talk at ProgressNEXT 2019 today, CTO Dmitri Tcherevik announced ‘microapps’ which promise to save time while increasing productivity.

The promise is something any sane developer would embrace. After all, as Tcherevik quips, it means increased free time for office parties.

“If it takes you half the time to generate the same output – you start generating free time, and we love free time,” jokes Tcherevik. “At Progress, when we have free time we just build...

By Ryan Daws, 08 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Development Tools, Enterprise, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Cut it out: Mozilla bans Firefox add-ons with obfuscated code

Mozilla is boosting its reputation for protecting internet privacy and security by no longer supporting Firefox add-ons with obfuscated code.

The new policy comes into effect from June 10th so developers have a little over a month to make their add-ons compliant with the new rule.

Here's the new policy in Mozilla’s words:

“We will no longer accept extensions that contain obfuscated code. We will continue to allow minified, concatenated, or otherwise machine-generated code...

By Ryan Daws, 03 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Industry.

Google calls for Android Automotive developers ahead of I/O 2019

Google has preemptively announced that Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto) will be opened to developers following I/O 2019.

Android Automotive is Google's platform for infotainment systems which is due to launch with the Polestar 2, an electric vehicle developed by Volvo’s standalone brand.

The platform differs from Android Auto in that Automotive is an OS modelled after Android itself but adapted for cars, whereas the former is an interface...

By Ryan Daws, 02 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, IoT, Platforms.

Former Mozilla GM: Google sabotaged Firefox to boost Chrome

Mozilla’s former general manager has added to accusations that Google deliberately sabotaged competing browsers to boost Chrome's popularity.

Jonathan Nightingale gave his account in a series of tweets over the weekend.

Despite being the main source of Mozilla’s income through a revenue share deal on search, he accuses Google of using dirty tactics to harm competitors.

Nightingale tweeted:

“When chrome launched things got complicated, but not in the way you might...

By Ryan Daws, 17 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Industry.

Google will closely vet first-time Android developers for security

Google has announced plans to closely vet Android developers without a track record in a bid to boost platform security.

Android security has vastly improved since its early days but that hasn’t prevented some rogue developers from abusing Google’s platform.

Sameer Samat, VP of Android Product Management, wrote in a blog post:

“From the outset, we’ve sought to craft Android as a completely open...

By Ryan Daws, 16 April 2019, 2 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Industry, Mobile, Platforms, Security.

Google adds Smart Reply and Language Identification APIs to ML Kit

Google has announced the addition of ‘Smart Reply’ and ‘Language Identification’ APIs to its ML (Machine Learning) Kit.

Until now, the APIs in ML Kit have focused predominantly on camera-based machine learning processing. The latest additions begin to unlock the many other possibilities for machine learning.

Smart Reply provides the same features that you may be familiar with in some of Google's products like Gmail and Android Messages. As the name...

By Ryan Daws, 10 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Android, API, iOS.

Adopted or abandoned: Microsoft details Chromium-based Edge features

Microsoft has provided details of what features are being adopted or abandoned from Chromium for its Edge browser reincarnation.

Last year, Microsoft announced it would be scrapping development of its EdgeHTML engine (a decision criticised by some) and switching to Chromium for its Edge browser.

In providing reasons why it made the switch, Microsoft cites better web compatibility for users, less fragmentation for developers, and the ability...

By Ryan Daws, 09 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: HTML5, Industry, Microsoft.

Tax Justice Network: Google dodged £1.5bn tax in the UK last year

Ethically-minded developers may want to know how much tax companies like Google are getting away with avoiding.

In an analysis for The Mirror, the Tax Justice Group estimates Google should have paid an eye-watering £1.5 billion extra in corporation tax last year.

The publication notes how this figure could have paid for 60,000 nurses for the UK's struggling national health service.

In 2018, Google paid just £67 million in...

By Ryan Daws, 08 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Cloud, Ethics, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Snapchat’s new platform delivers Mario Party-like games

Snap is launching a gaming platform which delivers a Mario Party-like experience for users while unlocking a new revenue stream for developers.

Mario Party, if you haven't played it, offers a series of minigames that are catered to multiplayer. Snap wants to harness that social experience to keep users on its platform.

The ‘Snap Games’ platform started from a late-2017 acquisition of Australian game studio Pretty Great. The studio was originally created by former Halfbrick talent which many...

By Ryan Daws, 05 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Gaming, iOS, Mobile, Platforms.

PWNED: Researcher uses broken API to print message on GPS watches

A German security researcher printed the word “PWNED!” on hundreds of GPS watches to prove a point about a broken API.

Christopher Bleckmann-Dreher discovered a vulnerability in an API used by Austrian GPS watch manufacturer Vidimensio.

The firm’s watches are used by a wide range of the population from the elderly down to children, and it affected over 20 models.

Dreher alerted Vidimensio to the problem but it was ignored for over a year. Given the potential for much greater risk in the...

By Ryan Daws, 03 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: API, Hacking, Security.

Opinion: Apple Arcade follows industry shift to gaming subscriptions

Apple Arcade is Cupertino’s jab at following the industry shift into providing unlimited access to games through a subscription model.

Gaming is among the last of the core entertainment industries to switch to such a model. Music is now primarily accessed through services like Spotify and Apple Music, while video is served by companies such as Netflix and Hulu. Even books are heading in that direction with services Like Kindle Unlimited.

Apple is the first platform-holder to debut the model on mobile....

By Ryan Daws, 27 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, Gaming, Industry, iOS, Mobile.

GDC: Microsoft wants to bake Xbox Live into mobile games

Microsoft used this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) to make a case for integrating Xbox Live features into Android and iOS titles.

The first of the aforementioned features is called ‘Trusted Gaming Identity’ and it's used to improve the sign-in experience.

Using the same Microsoft account used elsewhere, Trusted Gaming Identity supports: two-factor authentication for improved security, access to payment and billing options, and parental controls.

Custom achievements can be...

By Ryan Daws, 22 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Phil Spencer: Google Stadia is impressive, but Xbox will ‘go big’ at E3

Xbox boss Phil Spencer his circulated an internal memo following the Google Stadia announcement promising that Microsoft will ‘go big’ at this year's E3 conference.

Microsoft has been working on a Google Stadia-like equivalent called xCloud for some time now and recently showed it off in a smaller demo. Google got the jump on Xbox by taking Stadia to the big stage at GDC yesterday.

In his memo, Spencer admitted that Stadia was impressive but had little surprises beyond...

By Ryan Daws, 20 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Cloud, Gaming, Industry, Platforms.

Play Store enables ‘pre-registration’ feature for all, plus larger app bundles

Google added some welcome new features to its Play Store ahead of its appearance at GDC this week.

The first is not strictly an addition but more of an expansion. ‘Pre-registration’ is now available for all developers, allowing hype for a game or app to be generated prior to release.

Next up is a new store page A/B test allowing multiple versions to be trialled with a subset of users. Performance stats will be provided for each to decide the optimal version before a full rollout.

To account for...

By Ryan Daws, 19 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Mobile, Platforms.

UK inmates will be taught coding to prepare for their own release

The UK government has announced that inmates will be taught coding in preparation for life on the outside as part of a new initiative.

We all know digital skills open up opportunities and have become increasingly vital in today’s workforce. An organisation called CODE 4000 has received new funding to expand its work teaching ‘carefully-vetted’ offenders to code.

Neil Barnby, a workshop instructor at HMP Humber for CODE 4000, said:

“Code4000 workshops are reducing...

By Ryan Daws, 15 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Industry.