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31
Aug

Huawei Mate 20 Lite hands-on review



Research Center:

Huawei Mate 20 Lite

Huawei is getting ready to launch its Mate 20 smartphone line-up, and has preempted the big release — which we expect will be the Pro version — with the early announcement of the Mate 20 Lite. Is this a glimpse at what’s to come from the Mate 20 Pro? No, probably not; but Huawei said because the Lite version is so impressive, it should make you even more excited for the main attraction.

Is this an accurate statement? There’s no doubt the Mate 20 Lite is an interesting smartphone, but it is also very reminiscent of other phones we’ve seen very recently. It’s no surprise to see it launch right now. If you’ve read our review of the Honor Play, then you’ll already be familiar with some of the Mate 20 Lite’s features. Let’s look closer.

Slick design, great display

Let’s just say up front, this is a very good-looking phone. It comes in a beautiful glossy black, sapphire blue, or platinum gold, with a glass rear panel that recalls the crisp, smart design seen on the back of the Porsche Design Mate RS. It’s the centrally stacked camera lenses and fingerprint sensor that does it, complete with an etched design surrounding them. It’s slim at 7.6mm, comfortable to hold thanks to the curvy sides, and lightweight at 172 grams.

You’re looking at a 6.3-inch notched screen with a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution, providing an 81 percent screen-to-body ratio, which matches the Honor Play. This is great news, and icat appears the panel is identical too — meaning it’s bright, colorful, and engaging.

Specs and battery

Rather than use the Kirin 970 chip from the Play, the Mate 20 Pro has a newly-revised Kirin 710 processor, along with 4GB of RAM. This is the same setup Huawei uses in the Nova 3i, which also shares the same screen size and resolution. We have not run benchmarks on the Kirin 710 to see how it compares to the Kirin 970, which is currently an upper-range processor from Huawei.

Let’s just say up front, this is a very good-looking phone.

A 3,750mAh battery powers the Mate 20 Lite, just like the Honor Play, plus the phone has the same GPU Turbo enhancements for high-performance gaming, the Game Suite mode, face unlock, and EMUI 8,2 over the top of Android 8.0 Oreo. Hold on, you’re thinking. Is this just a recycled Honor Play or Nova 3i? No, we’re getting to the differences, but it can’t be denied the Mate 20 Lite seems to occupy a small space in-between these other devices.

Camera and A.I.

Outside of the premium materials, Huawei tells us the Mate 20 Lite is great for selfies, and it is. We played around with the front camera, which features two camera lenses — 24 megapixels and 2 megapixels, with an f/2.0 aperture — and liked the results. The environment we were in was quite dark, making it hard to judge how much difference the second lens made when generating the bokeh effect, compared to the P20 Pro we also tried at the same time. The photos looked good from both, which is strong praise for the Mate 20 Lite.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Interestingly, the front camera has scene recognition, auto HDR, and an auto beauty mode. The camera also creates animated emojis, which Huawei calls Qmoji, and these were decent enough; but far from fluid as Apple’s Animoji. We can see kids having fun with them, and Huawei has made the sensible decision to let us save them as GIFs, meaning they’re easily shareable.

Artificial intelligence continues to be a theme throughout the Mate 20 Lite.

The rear camera has an f/1.8 aperture and two lenses — 20 megapixels and 2 megapixels. Again, the environment we tested the Mate 20 Lite in did not lend itself to taking pictures. There is plenty of artificial intelligence built into both the front and the rear cameras.

Artificial intelligence continues to be a theme throughout the Mate 20 Lite. It’s most obvious in the camera, due to scene recognition, but also crops up in the noise cancelation mode for calls, and in an Amazon-driven shopping experience. Here, Google Lens-style image recognition kicks in when tapping a photo of a product online, when results from Amazon are shown. The Gallery app has A.I.-driven smart search, plus the Game Suite uses A.I. to help manage power resources during gaming sessions.

Price and availability

The Mate 20 Lite worked really well in our brief hands-on time. It felt very familiar though, and this is something of a problem. Not only does the Mate 20 Lite feel like Huawei on autopilot, as this is a phone it has essentially made a few times over, but it doesn’t offer masses more value over the Honor Play. While Honor is closely related to Huawei, they are two separate companies in terms of strategy, product release, and management. Therefore, it’s impossible for us not to compare the two, and the Honor Play provides a very high percentage of the Mate 20 Lite’s features, for less money.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite Compared To

Honor Play

Moto E5 Plus

OnePlus 6

HTC U11

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

YotaPhone 2

Sony Xperia Z3

HTC One Remix

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

LG Optimus 4X HD

HTC One S

Samsung Galaxy S II

Google Nexus S

T-Mobile myTouch 3G

Huawei will charge 380 British pounds for the Mate 20 Lite when it goes on sale in the U.K. this October. The Honor Play costs 280 British pounds. Huawei said it doesn’t have plans to release the Mate 20 Lite in the U.S., and the Honor Play is also unlikely to be released outside Europe.

The extra money buys you a glass body, another camera lens on the front, and a lot of AI toys. All strong, desirable features that make us like the Mate 20 Lite. However, we’re saddened by what may be a lesser processor than the one inside the Honor Play. If you value design and premium materials over sheer value for money, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite will serve you well, but for everyone else, the Honor Play will probably do just fine.

31
Aug

The Huawei Mate 20 Lite is A.I.-powered, good looking, and affordable


Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei is working hard to bring its premium A.I.-driven technology to everyone, regardless of price range. That seems to be the idea behind the Huawei Mate 20 Lite, which launched at IFA 2018. It’s the first of the new Mate 20 range to be released, and it bodes well for the release of the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

With a powerful new Kirin 710 processor, four camera lens, and a huge 6.3-inch display, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite could be one of the phones to bring artificial intelligence into everyday life. Unfortunately, there are no plans to bring it to U.S. shores. Here’s everything you need to know about the Huawei Mate 20 Lite.

Specs and battery

The Mate 20 Lite is a strictly midrange device, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some bite to back up its bark.

Key Specs


CPU: Kirin 710


Memory: 4GB


Screen size: 6.3 inches


Resolution: 2340 x 1080


Battery: 3,750mAh

This is the first time we’ve seen the Kirin 710, and while we don’t expect it’ll be the match of Huawei’s Kirin 970 processor, we have high hopes for performance based on Huawei’s fine pedigree. 4GB of RAM should mean the phone keeps on ticking regardless of what you throw at it.

There’s a massive 3,750mAh battery backing up those specs, and a battery of that size should keep the Mate 20 Lite powered for a good amount of time. We saw great battery performance from the Mate 10 Pro and the P20 Pro, and we expect that the Mate 20 Lite will keep up this tradition.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The hottest phones of 2018 are still to come. Here’s what’s around the corner
  • Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro: News, rumors, specs, and more
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 vs. Galaxy Tab S3: Android Tablet Showdown
  • Here’s everything you need to know about the Huawei P20
  • The best laptops under $300



31
Aug

ZTE Axon 9 Pro hands-on review



Research Center:

ZTE Axon 9 Pro

It has been a very tough year for Chinese telecommunications giant and smartphone manufacturer ZTE. We’re not going to rehash the specifics of the ZTE ban, suffice to say that it’s back in business now and keen to herald its return with a brand new flagship smartphone boasting high-end specs. Though it’s unlikely to ever land stateside, the Axon 9 Pro will be released across Europe after its unveiling at IFA in Berlin.

Derivative Design

The ZTE Axon 9 Pro isn’t going to win any prizes for originality. It joins the long list of Android phones that have adopted a notch in the top of the display, despite still having a chunky bezel at the bottom. Flip it over and you’ll find a dual-lens camera module at the top left, much like a certain Apple device we know.

It’s a familiar glass sandwich design with a metal frame, but it feels lightweight and comfortable in hand. The finish is described as 2.5D hardened glass on the front and 3D tempered glass on the back – a case is definitely advisable. There’s also a fingerprint sensor on the back.

You’ll find the volume rocker and power button on the right spine and there’s a USB-C port on the bottom edge. There’s no audio jack here, so it’s an adapter or Bluetooth for headphones.

The ZTE Axon 9 Pro isn’t going to win any prizes for originality.

The star of the show is the 6.21-inch OLED display. It has a respectable 2,248 x 1,080 resolution, which is plenty sharp, as well as an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. It’s a big display and it looked good during our short time with it, but ZTE was keen to talk up a feature called Axon Vision. It’s a chip that improves the screen’s color accuracy. The chip is also capable of processing up to 500 megapixels every second, so it can smooth out lower frame rates to reduce blur, upscaling from 24 frames-per-second to 60 fps.

We watched a few videos that showed off the HDR and a split-screen comparison of the color and processing improvements. The difference is clear to see, with standard unprocessed content appearing a bit washed out and fast movement causing blurring. The colors in the processed video really popped and it was blur and judder-free. This upscaling works for games as well as movies, so it will be ideal for first-person shooter fans or racing game junkies.

ZTE Axon 9 Pro Compared To

Moto E5 Plus

LG V30

HTC U11

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

YotaPhone 2

Sony Xperia Z3

HTC One Remix

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

LG G Flex

LG Lucid 2

LG Optimus 4X HD

HTC One S

Samsung Galaxy S II

Google Nexus S

T-Mobile myTouch 3G

Having just come from a hands-on with Sony’s Xperia XZ3, which sports an OLED screen that really wowed us, the Axon 9 Pro was a bit underwhelming by comparison. It’s still a very good display, but it didn’t quite strike the same high notes.

Camera

Bolstering that fingerprint sensor on the back, ZTE has packed in a 20-megapixel front-facing camera with face detection for swift unlocking. The main camera on the back pairs a 12-megapixel lens with a fairly large f/1.75 aperture and optical image stabilization, with a 20-megapixel wide-angle lens. ZTE has added a couple of modes in the camera app for portraits and for sports, which employs artificial intelligence to track moving subjects.

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

It’s a promising setup, but we found the camera app a little slow to load and respond when we tried it out. We’ll reserve judgement until we can take it for a spin with final software and in a range of environments beyond the brightly lit show floor at IFA.

As it’s 2018, every phone manufacturer is talking up A.I. and, beyond the camera here, it’s also used to automatically shut down apps, remove files, and optimize battery life to maintain peak performance. That’s something else we need to take some time to test out. We’re sold on the potential of A.I. in phones but the practical impact doesn’t yet match the hype.

Specs and battery

There’s certainly no shortage of raw power here as ZTE has paired the Snapdragon 845 with 6GB of RAM and there’s 128GB of internal storage. It feels zippy enough scrolling around. ZTE has almost stuck with stock Android, but it’s Android 8.1 Oreo, not Android 9.0 Pie. A stock Android 9 phone with these specs would have been a more compelling prospect, but we appreciate the lack of bloatware.

It’s an impressive package, but price is obviously key to its chance of success.

The battery is impressively big at 4,000mAh, though it does have that large display to power. It supports the latest Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ standard, which is relatively rare right now, and it means you can almost fully charge your phone up in an hour. There’s also Qi wireless charging support. We think the battery life will be a selling point here, and the Axon 9 Pro should easily see you through a day and beyond.

Pricing and availability

While there are no plans to bring the ZTE Axon 9 Pro to the U.S. it will start rolling out across Europe and some other markets in September.

It’s an impressive package, but price is obviously key to its chance of success and at 650 euros (around $750), the Axon 9 Pro has some stiff competition from phones like the OnePlus 6, Asus Zenfone 5Z, and Moto Z3 Play which are all significantly cheaper.

We’re not convinced it will turn ZTE’s fortunes around because it looks like every other Android phone taking notes from Apple, but we can’t wait to test it properly and see if it can prove us wrong.

The unique design of ZTE’s Axon 7 with the metal dual front-facing speaker grilles showed some originality, and although we didn’t like the dual screen Axon M much, at least it showed an attempt to innovate. The Axon 9 Pro’s main problem may be a lack of individuality, in that it will struggle to stand out. We know ZTE has a patent for a double notch design, with notches that could house front-facing speakers, and it saw the Axon M as a first step towards flexible display phones, so we’re sure there is more innovation to come, maybe even as part of the 9 series.

We’ll keep you posted and put together a full review of the Axon 9 Pro just as soon as we can.

31
Aug

Labor Day Deals: Save on HomePod, Apple Watch, MacBook Pro, Apple Accessories, and More This Weekend


As we head into the three-day Labor Day weekend — and the unofficial end of Summer in the United States — numerous online retailers have kicked off sales for anyone shopping around during the long weekend. Although Labor Day is on Monday, September 3, many sales have already begun and last through Monday evening. We’ve collected many of the best bargains and discounts in this article, so be sure to check out each and if you’re interested place your order before Labor Day ends.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Of course, one of the major Labor Day sales is over at Best Buy, which kicked off an event full of Apple devices early this morning. This includes savings on HomePod, Apple Watch Series 3, iPad mini, iPad Pro, MacBook, and more. We’ve listed the sales below:

  • iPhone – Save up to $200 on iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus when bought and activated with a monthly installment plan
  • iPad mini 4 – Save $100 / $299.99 for 128GB
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro – Save $125 / as low as $524.99 for 64GB
  • Apple Watch Series 3 – Save $75 / as low as $324.00 for 38mm GPS + Cellular
  • 21.5-inch iMac (3.4GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB HD) – $1,299.99, down from $1,499.99
  • HomePod – $299.99, down from $349.99
  • urBeats3 Earphones – $59.99, down from $99.99

There are plenty of non-Apple products in Best Buy’s Labor Day sale as well, including Arlo Security Cameras, Philips Hue, Ultimate Ears, 4K Blu-Ray savings, and more. You can browse the entire sale right here.

Although there are a few MacBook Pro sales at Best Buy this weekend (centered upon the Mid 2017 refresh), B&H Photo is beating many of them by around $50. For example, while Best Buy has the 2.3GHz/8GB RAM/128GB SSD 13-inch MacBook Pro for $1,149.99, B&H Photo has the same model for $1,099.00, down from $1,299.00. Most of the other Mid 2017 refresh MacBook Pro models are on sale as well.


If you’re on the hunt for a more recent model, B&H Photo and Adorama also have the 2018 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros on sale, with savings that began earlier this week. The cheapest model in the sale is the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2.3 GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for $1,599.00, down from $1,799.00 (also at Adorama). 15-inch models are also up for a discount, starting with the 15-inch MacBook pro with Touch Bar (2.2 GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for $2,099.00, down from $2,399.00 (also at Adorama).

For B&H Photo, many of the 2018 MacBook Pro sales end later tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, so be sure to browse these models right here before the deals expire.

Over on eBay, the retailer has a new coupon code offering 20 percent off select categories including tech and home electronics with code JUSTRELAX. This one expires on September 3 at 11:59 p.m. PT, and you’ll have to purchase items worth $25 or more to take advantage of the discount (which will be capped at a max value of $50).


While not a sitewide sale, the coupon does include notable products in the discount, like iPhone X, Nintendo Switch, Dyson vacuums and fans, DJI drones, and much more. Head to the event’s landing page to browse the full sale and place your order before the code expires on Monday.

There are numerous other sales online this weekend, so we’ll give a quick rundown of them below:

  • SENA – Save up to 75 percent off iPhone cases (no code needed, expires 9/3)
  • OWC – Save on MagSafe adapters, Magic Keyboards, and other accessories (expires 9/10)
  • Casetify – Get 15 percent off orders of $30 or more with code LABORDAY18
  • Griffin – Save 25 percent off sitewide with code GRIFFIN25 (expires 11:59 p.m. PT 9/3)
  • JBL – Save up to 30 percent, and get free 2-day shipping on portable speakers and headphones over $19.95
  • Newegg – Save on PCs, printers, and more
  • Pad & Quill – Save 15 percent off sitewide
  • Speck – Purchase any Presidio iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus case and battery pack to get a Lightning cable at no extra cost
  • Target – Save up to 30 percent off electronics, furniture, appliances and more (expires 9/3)

For more information on the latest sales, visit our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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31
Aug

New aptX bundle understands what you’re listening to, chooses the best settings


Qualcomm’s aptX audio technology is about to go through a major change, except rather than launch another new format or a revision of a current technology, it’s making those that already exist easier and more accessible. Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive bundles aptX, aptX HD, and low latency aptX together into one, which is clever enough to dynamically switch to the best option depending on what you’re listening to.

A fascinating advancement, this is Qualcomm looking closely at how we all use mobile devices, and what kind of audio is best suited to our use. The regular aptX codec makes regular Bluetooth music playback sound great on supported devices in comparison with non-aptX Bluetooth streaming; but if you’re listening to high-resolution (aka HD) music files, playing games, or watching movies, there are better aptX codecs to use.

Rather than forcing the use of specific headphones, or a specific device, aptX Adaptive will understand you’re watching a movie or playing a game, and switch to a low latency setting. The advantages of low latency are often only associated with gaming, but it’s also essential for lip syncing in movies when listening over Bluetooth. It’s the same if you’re listening to a high-resolution file, when aptX HD will kick in. Mobile devices are called upon to do many different things, and wrapping all these codecs into one will make life considerably easier for many of us.

Metadata driven

Qualcomm’s new aptX Adaptive bundle takes advantage of metadata in associated files to work out what settings to use, and that’s it. It’s backwards compatible, doesn’t require any configuration, and will dynamically adjust without any input from you. Digital Trends asked Qualcomm if the metadata is freely available, or if aptX Adaptive needs special treatment before it will work. Jonny McClintock, Qualcomm’s Director of aptX Sales and Marketing, said there may be some “hand holding” at first, as it’s the first time Qualcomm has used metadata to drive a technology, but most music files, games, and films should have everything aptX Adaptive needs already.

With its new bundle, Qualcomm has also addressed some problems many have experienced with Bluetooth in the past, saying it’s concentrated on making it more robust in order to deliver a consistent audio experience. The company is also confident about sound quality. In independent tests, carried out by experts at Salford University in Manchester, U.K., there was no significant difference between aptX Adaptive at 420kbit/s and original linear audio at 24bit/96kHz recordings.

Like other aptX technologies, both your source device and your headphones/speakers will need to have aptX Adaptive inside to operate, so manufacturers must choose to use it. At launch, it will support 24bit/48kHz file resolution, with an update to 24bit/96kHz coming in the future.

When is it coming, and what do you need to take advantage of aptX Adaptive? Qualcomm is ready to supply the decoder to companies now, for use in Bluetooth headphones and speakers, and the encoder will be available for Android 9.0 Pie in December. (As with all aptX codecs, iOS devices still don’t support the new bundle.) It will also be part of a future Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor.

The first products with aptX Adaptive are slated for release in summer 2019.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Hear everything: Get the best from the LG G7 ThinQ’s brilliant audio system
  • The best wireless headphones
  • Audio-Technica’s first true wireless in-ears lead exciting new announcements
  • Nokia is on a crusade to make your cell phone videos sound as good as they look
  • Nuraphone hands-on review



31
Aug

Space Station alert as crew forced to patch hole in docked spacecraft


NASA

Crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have had to patch a hole in the shell of a docked spacecraft following a possible collision with a meteorite fragment.

Fortunately for the six-person crew, the situation on Thursday never descended into scenes reminiscent of the 2013 Hollywood blockbuster Gravity in which a debris collision caused untold chaos. But with a drop in cabin pressure detected, it was vital for the incident to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

The latest report from NASA describes the space station’s cabin pressure as “holding steady” after the Expedition 56 crew carried out repair work on the hole, which was found on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that docked with the ISS a couple of months ago.

NASA said that after several hours of investigations on Thursday, the crew was able to isolate the leak to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the upper section of the spacecraft.

Flight controllers at Mission Control centers in Houston and Moscow worked together with the crew to oversee the repair, which involved Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev using thermo-resistant tape to plug the hole. A more robust repair is currently under consideration.

NASA insisted that the crew was never in any danger, although flight controllers are still monitoring pressure trends inside the space station to confirm the effectiveness of the repair. All station systems are reported to be stable and the crew is planning to return to its regular schedule of work on Friday.

What caused it?

Investigations are now underway to try to determine what caused the hole. There’s speculation that it may have been the result of a tiny piece of space rock or other debris colliding with the station. Its small size would have made it impossible for the space station’s systems to have detected its approach.

With the ISS traveling at speeds of around 17,500 mph, an impact can pose a serious threat to the operation of the station as well as to its crew. The main structure of the space station has so-called “orbital debris shields” in place to keep it safe from collisions with smaller particles, but the docked capsule appears to be fitted with less effective shielding, if it has any at all.

Besides rocks and other natural space matter, man-made space debris is also a problem for the ISS and other satellites orbiting Earth. NASA has a system in place to monitor larger pieces that could cause catastrophic damage in the event of a collision. The technology enables ground control to track hazardous debris, and if needed, the space station‘s thrusters can be used to take it away from danger.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Boeing suffers setback in space taxi testing
  • These astronauts will whiz around Earth 34 times before reaching space station
  • Astronauts install hi-def docking cameras for Crew Dragon, Starliner capsules
  • Watch inside Soyuz as it blasts astronauts (and toys) into space
  • SpaceX delivers CIMON, along with berries and ice cream, at ISS



31
Aug

Garbage to gold: How Yahoo unethically sells your spam email


(in)Secure is a weekly column that dives into the rapidly escalating topic of cybersecurity.

Yahoo’s golden era has passed and Yahoo Mail, once considered a serious competitor to Gmail, is now far less popular. It’s unlikely that you use it for your primary email account. So why should you care about its privacy policy?

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo’s parent company, Verizon, knows you don’t use that old AOL or Yahoo inbox. It knows they’re just full of spam. Yet strangely enough, it’s selling data pulled from it without telling you — and staying alive by doing so.

All your mail are belong to us

The beans were spilled by a leaked Yahoo sales pitch. It detailed the tactics Yahoo uses to collect and sell personal data gained from its email accounts. It’s all laid out in explicit description, outlining not only how Yahoo mines email accounts for data, but why.

Therea Payton, former White House Chief Information Officer to the Bush Administration.

“This isn’t a new practice,” Theresa Payton told Digital Trends. Payton is a cybersecurity expert and the former Chief Information Officer at the White House. “What they do is scan emails, and then group similar users together for targeting. For example, if you have receipts from purchases you’ve made on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, they will group you and other email users that have similar receipts into a group, and then sell your data to media companies, TV outlets, and the movie industry.”

On paper, Yahoo isn’t doing anything unlike what Google has done in the past. For thirteen years, Google scanned the email of Gmail accounts and sold that data to advertisers on its Google Ads platform. Considering the amount of people that use Gmail, the amount of relevant data that could be mined was mind-boggling.

That practice has since been halted due to public outcry, but companies with less to lose — like Yahoo — have picked up on the idea and run with it.

Payton believes the Yahoo situation might be more sinister. Part of the problem is the raw capability of technology, which grows year by year, both in terms of processing power and maturity. According to Payton, behavioral-based, big data analytics are at a higher level of sophistication than they were just a few years ago. They can handle more data, so they collect more data.

“That human curation is maybe where the secret sauce is.”

Yet the biggest difference in Yahoo’s implementation is the human element. “There’s also the automated scanning process and then there’s a human curation process,” she said. “That human curation is maybe where the secret sauce is. Things are going to be done to this data that are going to be unique and different from how Google used to treat email accounts in the past.”

There’s no way to know exactly what human eyes scan at Yahoo, but the company’s privacy policies make clear that humans do read some emails. The policy posted by Yahoo’s parent company, Oath, states “when users click on the Spam and Not Spam buttons, information is sent to our anti-spam team or other spam compliance service providers for manual review, and aspects of these messages may be shared […].” The policy also references “manual review” for several other reasons.

Panithan Fakseemuang/123rf

Doug Sharp, Oath’s Vice President of Data, Measurements, and Insights, defended the practice when questioned by The Wall Street Journal. “I think it’s reasonable and ethical to expect the value exchange,” said Mr. Sharp, “if you’ve got this mail service and there is advertising going on.

So, Yahoo is reading emails that arrive in the 200 million inboxes it hosts. But who uses their Yahoo or AOL email account as their primary account these days, anyways? You probably don’t use Yahoo Mail as your main account, so it’s not your concern. Right?

Maybe not. Even the junk you’ve left behind in a secondary account is good enough to sell.

Mining spam for gold

“They actually talked about how a lot of people use their platform to forward their spam mail to,” said Payton. “So, they purely use it as an email address to hand out and let a bunch of marketing material go to. And that could be super helpful to marketers.”

Yahoo knows you don’t care about your Yahoo Mail account and has turned that into a selling point for marketers. Using the same scanning, grouping, and human curation described above, Yahoo has found a way to turn junk mail into sellable data. That might not sound bad, but Payton described a situation that could quickly go from harmless to dangerous.

“This could be their survival mode project to give them the cash influx they need.”

“What if you’re subscribing to Wine & Whisky newsletters — and that information is sold to health insurance companies?” she proposed. “I’m not saying that’s what they’re doing, but the question is, once the data is sold to third-party marketers, how do you know how that data is or is not going to be used or safeguarded?”

It gets even more worrisome when you consider the company Yahoo has become. It was acquired by Verizon in 2017, where it was merged with AOL to form an umbrella corporation known as Oath. That means all the data collected from Yahoo and AOL email accounts are not only shared with third-party marketers, but also distributed throughout the massive company. We’re talking about a lot of data, and a lot of ways to put it to use.

Exploiting what few people it has left

We don’t know how successful Yahoo has been at selling people’s spam. In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, it feels a odd for a company to shamelessly mine personal data as if no one cared — and as if regulatory bodies weren’t paying attention.

Still, we shouldn’t be surprised. Yahoo, like most companies, needs to make money to justify its existence. Mining email data is another way to keep the lights on. The consequences could be severe, but anything can look viable to a company with a lot of red ink on its balance sheet.

Global PR

“Just think about the massive data breach they had and the legal fines that came from that,” said Payton. “This could be them thinking, ‘We’re sitting on a treasure trove of information that we can productize and monetize.’ This could be their survival mode project to give them the cash influx they need.”

Your Yahoo or AOL email accounts may have already been mined for data, but it’s worth heading over to deactivate it if you don’t currently use it. If you do happen to use Yahoo Mail as your primary account, we’d highly recommend disabling access to this kind of invasive scanning. It’s as easy as heading over to the Ad Interest Manager page and clicking on “Opt Out” under the Yahoo banner.

If nothing else, there’s one important lesson we can learn from all this. Data is still the most valuable commodity in the world, even if its out-of-date information tucked away in an abandoned corner of the internet.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • If you’re still using Yahoo email, it’s still spying on you
  • People are reading your email. Here’s how to make them stop
  • The best email clients
  • ‘Can I book a table for Thursday?’ Google Duplex duped me, but I didn’t mind
  • How to create disposable email addresses



31
Aug

MrMobile’s BlackBerry KEY2 LE Hands-On


You probably don’t need me to tell you that the BlackBerry KEY2 LE is just what it says on the tin: a “lite edition” of the BlackBerry KEY2 we know and (mostly) love. And to be honest, when I first picked up the LE, I was put off by its lighter-weight build, which only served to remind me of the compromises that have been made across the spec sheet to get it down to a manageable price. About the only thing that excited me about the LE was the new Atomic color option.

But then I chatted with some of the people who designed the KEY2 LE, and as you might expect, they had some good arguments for their new product. Of course a daily KEY2 user such as myself isn’t going to be moved by a midrange version of the same phone, they said: the LE is for people who wanted the KEY2 experience but didn’t want to pay $650 for the privilege. As that group is rather thoroughly represented in the comment section of all my KEY2 videos, that point resonated with me. As for my concerns about the lower-end specs leading to a repeat of the KEYone’s sluggish performance? Only time will tell, of course, but the BlackBerry folks didn’t seem too worried: along with everything else drag-and-dropped from the KEY2 to the KEY2 LE (yes, it’s the exact same display panel), the company’s software optimizations have made the jump as well. So it should stay fairly sporty even with the Snapdragon 636 stepping in for the KEY2’s 660.

Of course none of those facts can bring back the capacitive function to the keyboard, or give the KEY2 LE quite the spiffiness I still love about my KEY 2 – but I came away from the conversation with more appreciation for the $399 mid-ranger. Click on through to my hands-on video above for more impressions, including a quick keyboard comparison … and subscribe to theMrMobile on YouTube if you want me to give this device the full review treatment when the time comes!

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31
Aug

UK Deal: Half price Amazon Dash Buttons with £5 credit on first use


Prime members can earn a few quid back when purchasing and using these discounted Dash Buttons.

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Amazon Dash Buttons make re-ordering your favorite products quick, easy, and hassle-free. Generally £4.99 each, these devices work wirelessly and will actually place an order on Amazon for you when you press the big silver button on the front. Today, however, Amazon has halved the price of many of its Dash Buttons for popular brands.

Now, that’s a nice deal by itself as you’re saving £2.50 on the buttons of your choice. There’s another added benefit though which makes this deal even sweeter. The first time you press a new Amazon Dash Button, you’ll receive a £4.99 discount credit applied to that order. That means you’ll effectively be making £2.50 in the process when buying and pressing any of these buttons.

Some of the Dash Buttons you can pick up for half price today include:

  • Brabantia
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Illy
  • Nescafé
  • Regina
  • Whiskas

Amazon Dash Buttons are exclusively available to Prime members. However, if you’re not a Prime member, you can try out these buttons, and the rest of the service’s benefits, with a free 30-day trial. Head to Amazon now to see the rest of the discounted Dash Buttons on sale.

For more UK deals coverage, be sure to keep an eye on Thrifter UK, sign up for the UK newsletter and follow the team on Twitter.

See at Amazon UK

31
Aug

Best Buy’s Labor Day sale brings big discounts to iPad, TVs, and more


A few days left to save!

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Best Buy has launched its Labor Day sale which runs now through the end of Monday and brings big discounts on a variety of products. Whether you’re looking for a new iPad, Jabra’s Elite 65t wireless ear buds, or a new TV, there’s something here for just about everyone. Some of our favorites from this site-wide sale include:

  • $125 off iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • Up to $700 off MacBook Pro models
  • $50 off TCL 55-inch Roku TV
  • Up to $40 off Corsair PC Gaming Accessories
  • SanDisk Flash Drives up to 75% off

In addition to these discounts, students can save even more. Eligible students who have registered for the promotions can stack extra savings on top of the already-discounted pricing. Combine that with some interest-free financing on a Best Buy card and you’ve got yourself a great way to buy some new gear before heading off to school again.

See at Best Buy

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