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Dell XPS 13 Touch: Give my regards to Broadwell
Posted on 5-Feb-2016 08:10Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Not everyone wants to move on from Windows laptops. Dell makes a case for staying with the touch-screen XPS 13 Touch. The XP a business class Ultrabook at a business class price: the reviewed model costs NZ$2800. A dazzling 13.3-inch quad HD+ display sets the XPS 13 Touch apart from the Ultrabook pack. To infinity… […] Comments (Comments)

Android fails to revive BlackBerry
Posted on 4-Feb-2016 15:48Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

BlackBerry‘s Android model, the Priv, failed to revive the company’s phone sales. According to Juniper Research, BlackBerry only sold 734,000 phones in the last quarter of 2015 — a total of 3.7 million for the full year. If anyone is interested, the phone went on sale in Australia today. Microsoft‘s Windows phone fared little better […] Comments (Comments)

iPhone sales growth flattens – a perspective
Posted on 1-Feb-2016 08:36Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Last week Apple confirmed iPhone sales grew at their lowest-ever rate during the last quarter of 2015. Apple went on to say sales could fall in the current quarter, ending in March. Mike Hosking asked me to put this into perspective on Newstalk ZB. Yes, it does spell the end of stellar iPhone sales growth. […] Comments (Comments)

Microsoft now all about cloud
Posted on 30-Jan-2016 09:13Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Forget Surface, Lumia and Windows. Today’s Microsoft is all about cloud and subscriptions. Surface Pro tablets did well. Microsoft has strong orders for the Surface Book. Yet the big story is elsewhere. Investors are more interested in the cloud progress: Azure grew 140 percent last year. Office 365 subscriptions continue to surge. The interesting thing here […] Comments (Comments)

More thoughts on Skinny Broadband
Posted on 30-Jan-2016 08:48Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

If you don’t need fibre speeds or large amounts of data my review found Skinny Broadband is a good low cost alternative. While it’s possible to get speeds of 40 Mbps, I could only get 25 Mbps at home. Coverage Readers ask how they can know in advance if they’ll get decent speeds. Skinny says […] Comments (Comments)

Modern technology is not expensive
Posted on 28-Jan-2016 18:22Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

A thought… Although modern digital technology sometimes feels expensive, by historic standards it is anything but. When I began writing about computers in the 1980s a business microcomputer cost close to the annual average take home salary. In the 1990s most workers would need to toil for months to buy a basic PC. According to […] Comments (Comments)

Future of personal computing: Where Chromebook fits
Posted on 28-Jan-2016 07:24Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

After reading I have seen the future of personal computing Darrin Lim asks: @billbennettnz Thrust of your piece is about cloud yet you don't mention Chromebooks. Any reason why? — Darrin Lim (@darrinlim) January 27, 2016 Lim is right: Personal computing’s future is cloudy. The trend is towards something we once called thin clients. I call them: thinner clients. I […] Comments (Comments)

I have seen the future of personal computing: It isn’t a Windows laptop
Posted on 27-Jan-2016 15:14Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Microsoft understands where personal computing is heading. So does Apple. Only a handful of today’s computers matter1. None are Windows laptops. None are desktops. They are: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Apple iPad Pro Apple 2015 MacBook Everything else is legacy computing, a clever clone of one of the above or specialist kit […] Comments (Comments)

Trans-Pacific submarine cable phoney war
Posted on 25-Jan-2016 15:40Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

A new company plans to build a transpacific submarine cable. By now I have the hang of how this works: First, there’s a big announcement complete with a list of features showing the planned cable differs from the Southern Cross Cable Network. There is also an argument explaining why the new cable is essential. Beautiful […] Comments (Comments)

BrydgeAir iPad keyboard review
Posted on 24-Jan-2016 13:44Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Brydge has a keyboard for anyone who bought an iPad Air or Air 2 but meant to buy a MacBook Air. The BrydgeAir keyboard is a sturdy aluminium frame that clips to the iPad Air. When closed it forms a tough laptop-like shell. When open you can use the hinge at any angle, just like […] Comments (Comments)

A month with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Posted on 21-Jan-2016 12:32Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

There are plenty of good options if you can afford a premium work computer. For most the best choices are something with MacBook in the name, an iPad Pro or a Surface Pro 41. All are light, robust, portable and have long battery life. They have beautiful build quality. They all look and feel attractive. […] Comments (Comments)

Skinny Broadband undermines copper tax
Posted on 18-Jan-2016 11:54Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Skinny Broadband is a solid, affordable low-end alternative to a copper or fibre internet connection. It suits many customers’ needs. It is competitively priced. Even after the $200 upfront payment for a suitable fixed wireless modem, Skinny Broadband is New Zealand’s cheapest mainstream broadband plan. We’ve been conditioned to think wireless data is expensive. So […] Comments (Comments)

Skinny Broadband: Low-cost wireless alternative
Posted on 18-Jan-2016 11:14Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Skinny Broadband is cost effective alternative to a copper or fibre internet connection. It is a fixed wireless broadband service piggybacking off the Spark 4G mobile data network. Sometimes this approach is known as BoLTE: broadband over LTE. You get the same basic data service as a Spark mobile phone user on the 4G network, […] Comments (Comments)

Android: Argumentum ad populum
Posted on 15-Jan-2016 12:22Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Argumentum ad populum is a fancy Latin term for a logical fallacy. It refers to an appeal to popular opinion to win an argument. The idea behind it is if most people think something is true, then it must be true. It turns up often with technology: Eight in ten buyers choose Android. The implication […] Comments (Comments)

PC horror show continues as numbers drop 10 percent
Posted on 14-Jan-2016 08:51Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Analyst firm IDC says worldwide PC sales for the last quarter of 2015 were 10.6 percent lower than the same quarter a year earlier. Rival analyst Gartner puts the drop at 8.3 percent. Overall sales for the whole year dropped below 300 million units. The last time sales were below 300 million was 2008. Apple […] Comments (Comments)

Thoughts on the Skinny 4G modem
Posted on 14-Jan-2016 08:14Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Tim Hughes comments on Geekzone‘s story about Skinny’s 4G broadband service. He suggests $200 is a lot of money to pay upfront for a modem.  Maybe.  The Skinny 4G service costs $55 a month for 60GB of data. From reading the Skinny site it seems the modem is not optional.  If you stick with Skinny for a […] Comments (Comments)

My ultimate device acid test
Posted on 13-Jan-2016 15:10Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

There’s an objective side to reviewing technology product and services. There’s also an emotional side. I’m often interested in exploring how I feel about integrating technology into my work and life. It’s not something I write about often because it is so personal. One size does not fit all. However, I’m aware that my emotional response […] Comments (Comments)

WordPress.com OS X app
Posted on 13-Jan-2016 14:02Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

The WordPress.com OS X app is beautiful and almost pointless. WordPress has wrapped its app around the most recent browser version of the WordPress.com software. That’s it. It runs well enough, but it doesn’t do anything that can’t be done in the browser. Moreover, there are some things it doesn’t do, so you are sent […] Comments (Comments)

When Dick Smith Electronics lost the plot
Posted on 13-Jan-2016 12:01Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners bought Dick Smith Electronics for A$94 million in 2012. A year later it floated the business in an A$534 million public listing. Those numbers rang alarm bells at the time. At the NZ Herald, Hamish Fletcher quotes Matt Ryan of Forager Funds who says Anchorage pulled off “the greatest […] Comments (Comments)

Spark, Vodafone, Chorus pay telephone tax
Posted on 28-Dec-2015 15:10Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Spark, Vodafone and Chorus will pay almost NZ$44 million towards this year’s $50 million Telecommunications Development Levy. The Telecommunications Development Levy is an extra tax paid by telecommunications companies. Each company pays a little over one percent of its revenue to subsidise rural broadband and finance other worthy but uncommercial services. Spark is the biggest […] Comments (Comments)

NZ-Australia broadband speed gap widens
Posted on 27-Dec-2015 08:00Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Akamai reports New Zealand’s average broadband speed jumped 23 percent compared with last year. The latest quarterly State of the Internet report clocks the average NZ line speed at 8.7 Mbps. Last year’s average was 7.1 Mbps. Despite the speed jump, New Zealand’s relative position to the rest of the world remains unchanged [from a […] Comments (Comments)

Huawei Watch
Posted on 23-Dec-2015 08:47Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Huawei made two of 2015’s better Android phones. It also makes watches. Huawei’s first watch, the Talkband B2 was unlike any other wearable device before or after. The newer model, called Huawei Watch, looks more like an analogue watch. It’s bigger than most watches and is round. It looks conventional and comes with a conventional […] Comments (Comments)

Nexus 6P: Android thoughts
Posted on 21-Dec-2015 17:15Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Google’s Nexus 6P is the best Android phone you can buy. For many that means it is the best phone full stop. Some people are only interested in Android. Android is the most popular phone operating system by a huge margin. Five Android phones sell for every Apple iOS phone. Many, maybe most, Android users […] Comments (Comments)

Nexus 6P: Huawei and Google show Android potential
Posted on 20-Dec-2015 10:20Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

Google uses its Nexus brand to show the world how good Android phones can be. The Nexus 6P is Google’s flagship phone. For now it is the best Android phone you can buy. Like many top phones the Nexus 6P is a 5.7-inch metal-glass slab. There’s nothing plastic about it. The dimensions make it a […] Comments (Comments)

How New Zealand reacted to Commerce Commission copper line price hike
Posted on 17-Dec-2015 13:42Tags News, Bill Bennett, by Bill Bennett

There is no question as far as New Zealand media is concerned: Chorus won. The Commerce Commission final determination on regulated copper line charges means Chorus can charge $120 million a year more for customers to connect to its copper phone and broadband network. Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe says the new price takes on board “the real […] Comments (Comments)


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