Tomlia Services > 2019

Save £108 on your broadband and TV deal with Virgin’s latest price cut

Usually when Virgin drops the price of one of its packages we’re not entirely convinced. With such massive speeds and feature filled TV packages, a Virgin broadband deal is rarely cheap, even after a price cut. But bucking its own trend, Virgin’s latest broadband and TV deal blends the phrases affordable, fibre and TV with ease.The attention-grabbing feature of this offer is its price tag. Coming in at just £29 a month, Virgin has cut the price of its Big Bundle package by £9 a month (a total saving of £108 over the year).With a price drop like that, we can’t think of any better package for those wanting both TV and internet without spending a huge chunk of their monthly income. With average speeds of 108Mb (incredibly fast in other words!), over 110 TV channels and inclusive weekend calls, you’re not even cutting back with this package to get that price.Want to make use of this impressive price cut? You can find out more about it below. Or check out our guide to the best broadband deals to see all of the options the market has. 
All of today’s best fibre broadband deals in the UK
Virgin’s broadband and TV deal in full:
Is Virgin fibre broadband available in my area?
We are now at the point where around 60% of the UK households are able to receive superfast Virgin broadband. It’s easy to find out if you’re one of the those lucky people. Head to our dedicated Virgin broadband deals page (or the price comparison chart at the bottom of this page), enter your postcode where indicated at the top of the page and if deals show as available then you’re laughing.If no results are returned, then head to our best fibre broadband deals page instead and do exactly the same thing to see whether you can get superfast fibre broadband with another provider, such as BT Superfast.

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Beat Saber VR gets 360-degree play, but only the Oculus Quest can manage it

If you’ve been following the steady release of VR games over the past few years, you’ve probably heard of Beat Saber: a frenetic, rhythm-based lightsaber game that mixes up Guitar Hero gameplay with fluid VR motion controls, giving us the Kylo Ren teen rocker simulator we never knew we wanted.Beat Saber launched to Early Access in May 2018, and quickly gained a following for its fast-paced gameplay, awesome soundtrack, and lightsabers (people love lightsabers, ok?). Players wield a ‘saber’ in each hand and whack incoming blocks to the beat of the music, though until now it’s only been head on.
Oculus Rift vs Rift S vs Quest: which headset is for you?HTC’s next-gen VR set is landing in late 2019What are the best VR games?
As reported by RoadtoVR, anyone who’s purchased Beat Saber on Oculus Quest, the latest wireless VR headset from Oculus, will be able to play the game in 360 Mode – which sends blocks towards you in random directions for a more challenging and chaotic experience. Already worried you were flailing your arms around like a maniac? That’s about to get worse.The reason it’s only on Oculus Quest is the headset’s six degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion sensor, which allow you to move around a room untethered and more fluidly control your perspective inside VR environments.While most VR games are automatically designed for headsets unable to do this, the Beat Saber update showcases the capability of the Quest and the kinds of expanded VR experiences that will be possible with enhanced tracking technology.Beat Games has said that they plan to bring a version of the mode to other, more static-view headsets, though it will likely be limited to 180-degree play.

You can see a gameplay trailer for 360 Mode above: so as not to completely screw you over, it seems to throw blocks from points generally in your eyeline, rather than having to continually spin back and forth to catch everything coming your way.While the game is already included in our guide to the best VR games, its latest update has shown just what developers can achieve when growing a game’s offering – even now that the game is technically out of Early Access.Beat Saber is a multi-platform title, and can be accessed through PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
PlayStation VR 2: what we want to see in a PSVR hardware refresh

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Amazon Prime Day is here early for the latest Apple iPad

While the big Amazon shopping event is still weeks away, that doesn’t mean you can’t find Prime Day deals now on best-selling items. For example, right now you can get the latest model Apple iPad on sale for $328. That’s a $100 discount and the lowest price we’ve found for the 128GB tablet. Walmart also has the 32GB Apple iPad on sale for $249.

The latest model iPad features a 9.7-inch Retina display and packs an impressive 128GB of storage. This allows you to store pictures, movies, and download apps and games without having to worry about filling up your tablet. The iPad also includes an A10 Fusion chip that results in a fast and powerful performance with the ability to experience the latest augmented reality apps.

The Apple iPad includes Touch ID and an upgraded 1.2MP front-facing camera that allows you to FaceTime in HD. Other features include Apple Pay, Apple Pencil compatibility, and an all-day battery life of 10 hours.

This pre-Prime Day discount is not only a rare deal but also a fantastic price for a newer model iPad. We don’t think the price will go much lower than this, so you should snag this sale while you can. 
If you don’t need as much storage and want a lower price tag, Walmart has the 32GB Apple iPad on sale for $249. That’s an $80 discount and the best price we’ve found for the 9.7-inch tablet.
If you’re in the UK, we’ve also found a killer deal on a 32GB Apple iPad from John Lewis. 
Interested in other iPad models? We’ve rounded up more of the cheapest iPad deals that are currently available.

Learn more about Prime Day with our guide on Amazon Prime Day: everything you need to know for the July deals event.

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Rumored AMD X590 chipset hints at more premium motherboards

We might end up seeing a more premium X590 chipset, aimed at enthusiasts and overclockers. AMD’s X570 chipset for Ryzen 3rd Generation processors has already been announced, boasting PCIe 4.0 support, and bringing along some pretty expensive motherboards like the MSI X570 Godlike. But now, new premium X590 motherboards have been spotted by German site Computer Base. 
Check out everything there is to know about AMD Zen 2If real, these would be some of the beefiest PC componentsAnother shot fired in the war of AMD vs Intel?
The AMD X590 chipset appeared in the BIOS code for the existing X570 chipset, and while we don’t have any solid specs quite yet, we could see more PCIe 4.0 lanes, allowing for greater expansion. And, assuming that this motherboard will also be using the AM4 socket that AMD Ryzen processors have been using since the beginning, we could see motherboard manufacturers include a more robust VRM, allowing for better overclocking. High-end motherboards, like those that would include a premium chipset, are aimed at hardcore enthusiasts, so better overclocking tools are a given. That’s essentially all the information that’s out there right now, but given the elevated specs, we could see X590 motherboards getting extremely expensive. We’re already starting to see AMD X570 motherboard prices leak out for more than $500 in the US, according to Wccftech. Still, if you’re planning on picking up the monstrous AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, you might want to wait until these motherboards hit the streets – assuming they actually hit the streets, of course. 
Be sure to check out the best AMD processorsVia Wccftech

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Breath of the Wild 2: release date, news and trailers for the next big Zelda game

Dust off your climbing boots and paraglider, gamers: Nintendo has finally confirmed that a The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel is in development, with a breathtaking trailer pointing to a darker turn for the next mainline Zelda game. But what will Breath of the Wild 2 do differently from the 2017 game, and when will we finally get our hands on it?Nintendo dropped the bombshell at the end of its E3 2019 presentation – via an online-only keynote, given Nintendo doesn’t host its own presentation in person anymore – confirming our suspicions after the Japanese publisher appeared to be hiring for a 3D level designer last year.2017’s Breath of the Wild was a masterclass in open-world game design, breathing a huge gust of fresh air into the Zelda franchise while somehow retaining everything that made the series special. Widely considered one of the best games of that year – if not all time – it’s no surprise Nintendo is working on a direct sequel.While we got a look at a lot of exciting Switch games at E3 this year – Luigi’s Mansion 3, Link’s Awakening, and Pokemon Sword and Shield – a Breath of the Wild sequel might have been the most exciting. It’s still early days, but here’s everything we know – and want to know – about Breath of the Wild 2 for Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo E3 2019: every Nintendo game shown, teased and played at the show
Cut to the chase
What is it? The upcoming sequel to 2017’s open-world Zelda gameWhat can I play it on? Nintendo SwitchWhen can I play it? 2020 at the earliest, but likely later than that
Breath of the Wild 2 release date
Nintendo hasn’t shared much information other than the trailer and a few sparse comments – run through below – but the trailer did close off with a line stating the Breath of the Wild sequel was “in development”. We certainly won’t see the game being released in the coming months, but it’s hard to tell beyond that. 
Take your time, Zelda (Image Credit: Nintendo)
There was six years between 2011’s Skyward Sword (Wii U) and 2017’s Breath of the Wild (Wii U / Switch), though the latter’s development was delayed by issues with the game’s physics engine. Given the team appear to be re-using the same engine and open-world Hyrule setting, Nintendo probably won’t need the same lead time to get this game to release – as with Majora’s Mask on the Nintendo 64, which launched just two years after 1998’s iconic Ocarina of Time, and re-used many of the same in-game assets.With Link’s Awakening landing in late 2019, we can’t imagine BOTW 2 launching too soon after, either. December 2020 seems the earliest it could possibly release, with a 2021 window seeming more probable.
Breath of the Wild 2 trailers
We got our first glimpse of BOTW 2 at E3, with this spooky trailer that shows Zelda and Link exploring an underground chamber – with some mysterious runes, glowing hands, and a brand-new haircut that has set the internet on fire. Suffice to say: we’re excited.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 trailer is just 82 seconds long and there’s no dialogue whatsoever – but there are some clues to be gathered from it.It features a torch-carrying Link and Zelda traversing a dark dungeon beneath Hyrule (no big surprise there). Spirit-like tendrils creep around the musty tomb they’re exploring, with the pair riding a large elephant-like beast. Something shocks the pair, and then we cut to what appears to be the resurrection of some long-dead (and creepy looking) warrior. Could this be the return of Ganondorf?The video then cuts to a long shot of Hyrule Field, with Hyrule Castle in the distance. There’s a tremor, the castle is smothered with dust… and that’s the end.The clip finishes with a message that reads: “The sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is in development.”We wouldn’t usually expect so much animation to be done so early in development, but it probably helps that Nintendo already has the in-game engine from Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild 2 news and rumors
Could Zelda have a bigger role this time around? (Image Credit: Nintendo)
A darker turn for the seriesAll we really know at this point is how little we know. But boy are there rumors. The unexpected trailer has already sparked a huge amount of speculation, hopes and hot takes on what the next mainline Zelda title might include.We’ve heard from Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma that the game is going to have a darker tone than Breath of the Wild, and will even be “a little bit darker” than Majora’s Mask (via IGN).The trailer certainly supports this, with what looks like Ganondorf’s corpse being resurrected by a disembodied hand, and seemingly imagery from 2006’s Twilight Princess, which saw Hyrule turned into a bleak shadow realm – largely in response to the far cheerier and cartoonish The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.
A Gerudo corpse, possibly Ganon, is grabbed by a mysterious force (Image Credit: Nintendo)
The Twilight realmThe glowing blue hand in the trailer is the biggest clue that we’ll be seeing more of the Twili – shadow people descended from Hylians who tried to take the power of the Triforce for themselves. The hand is wrapped in twisting shapes reminiscent of Twilight architecture, while the swirling magic could remind some of the portals that let Twili invade Hyrule in the 2006 game.We know that BOTW’s dev team originally toyed with the idea of an alien invasion, and seeing shadow creatures teleport out of the sky could well have been what they have planned this time around.A clue in the audioShowing just how far some Zelda fans will go, reddit user u/ReroFunk (via Inverse) has pieced together a pretty convincing theory regarding Twilight Princess villain Zant, a Twili who served Ganondorf in the game. If you listen to the trailer’s audio in reverse, there are certain notes that seem to echo the music played during your final encounter with Zant – who, while defeated, is adamant he’ll return through the power of his “god”.u/ReroFunk also suggests we could see the demon king Demise return for the next Zelda game. Demise was the final boss in Skyward Sword, and revealed to be the original form of Ganondorf. The below still from the Zelda trailer also looks a lot like Demise when you think about it.
Ganon, Demise, or something else entirely? (Image Credit: Nintendo)
Zelda’s turn in the spotlight?One of the favorite fan theories doing the rounds regards the Hyrule princess herself. She’s shown with a practical short haircut, and is dressed in a manner pretty similar to Link’s own adventurer’s gear – leading some to think she may be a playable character.Zelda’s devs have seemed pretty dismissive of the idea of a female Link in the past – sadly – but we may in this game see sections playing as Zelda, or at least with her playing a more active role in the story.
Breath of the Wild 2: what we want to see
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is widely considered one of the best games in the series, and there’ll be a lot of pressure to deliver a game not only as good – but also good in its own way. Here’s what we’re hoping Nintendo will be able to bring to the sequel when it lands.Some new environmentsDon’t get us wrong: Breath of the Wild 2’s setting was beautiful, with huge scale vistas and a brilliant dynamic weather system, but we’re still hoping we don’t have to retread too much of the same ground. Some divergences in the scenery would help to keep things fresh: maybe a great earthquake splitting the landscape, or an eternal twilight turning Hyrule’s green fields into something else altogether?
Soaring over Hyrule gave us some of BOTW’s best moments (Image Credit: Nintendo)
Save data carrying overFor those of us who have invested a large portion of time in BOTW, it seems a waste to have to start from zero when powering up the next game – especially if it takes place right after we left off. Allowing for certain DLC items to carry over, and making reference to your individual decisions in the previous game – such as certain quests you did or didn’t complete, or how many Divine Beasts you recruited before facing Ganon – would really help to make the sequel feel like a meaningful extension of the previous game.Some larger-scale dungeonsSure, you could technically say that BOTW’s above-ground landscape was a dungeon in its own right: packed with enough enemies, treasure and surprises without having to hunker underground. However, the snack-sized shrine puzzles and Divine Beasts never quite recreated the scale and wonder of the Zelda Series’ most iconic temples, and it’d be great to see one or two dungeons that really pull out the stops.No more Korok seedsFor the completionists out there, BOTW’s hide-and-seek Koroks were a sweet addition to the game’s action. But the reward of a golden turd for collecting all 900 Korok seeds was a bit of an anti-climax – and we really don’t want to have to collect all of them all over again. Maybe go with something else next time, Nintendo?Everything BOTW did so wellRegardless of the above, we’re hoping Nintendo sticks close enough to BOTW’s formula – open world exploration, destructible weapons, and environmental puzzles – as not to ditch what made the entry so successful.
Nintendo just single-handedly redeemed E3 2019 with nostalgia and new ideas

Read the full article here at Tech Radar

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Comcast has developed a remote that lets you control a TV with your eyes

Comcast has created a system for controlling a TV with nothing more than a glance. The system, called Xfinity X1 eye control, is designed for people living with physical disabilities that prevent them using a conventional remote.Xfinity X1 is a web-based remote that works with existing gaze-tracking hardware and software, sip-and-puff switches (which are controlled by gently blowing into or sipping from a tube or pipe) and other assistive tech.To use it, Xfinity subscribers can visit the X1 webpage and use their account credentials to pair the web-based remote with their set-top box.
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Once set up, the system makes it easy to change channels, launch the TV guide, set recordings and toggle features like closed captioning. It’s even possible to type out commands using eye movements.“Changing the channel on a TV is something most of us take for granted but until now, it was a near-impossible task for millions of viewers,” says Tom Wlodkowski, vice president of accessibility at Comcast.”When you make a product more inclusive you create a better experience for everyone and we’re hoping our new X1 feature makes a real difference in the lives of our customers.”
Image credit: Comcast
Independent spirit
Eye tracking technology like this can give people living with conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a new level of independence. ALS attacks cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to loss of muscle control. Fifteen people are diagnosed with the condition every day in the US alone.”Our mission is to help provide the resources so that families diagnosed with ALS can continue living independent, productive, and triumphant lives,” says Steve Gleason, former NFL player, founder of Team Gleason and living with ALS.“Not long ago, simple tasks like using a remote control were completely unavailable for families with ALS. The development of the X1 eye control is a testament to Comcast’s commitment to all their customers.  We believe companies that invest in empowering their customers, become catalysts for more innovation.”
How AI is helping people regain mobility and control over their lives

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Breath of the Wild 2 release date, news and trailers for the next mainline Zelda

Dust off your climbing boots and paraglider, gamers: Nintendo has finally confirmed that a The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel is in development, with a breathtaking trailer pointing to a darker turn for the next mainline Zelda game. But what will Breath of the Wild 2 do differently from the 2017 game, and when will we finally get our hands on it?Nintendo dropped the bombshell at the end of its E3 2019 presentation – via an online-only keynote, given Nintendo doesn’t host its own presentation in person anymore – confirming our suspicions after the Japanese publisher appeared to be hiring for a 3D level designer last year.2017’s Breath of the Wild was a masterclass in open-world game design, breathing a huge gust of fresh air into the Zelda franchise while somehow retaining everything that made the series special. Widely considered one of the best games of that year – if not all time – it’s no surprise Nintendo is working on a direct sequel.While we got a look at a lot of exciting Switch games at E3 this year – Luigi’s Mansion 3, Link’s Awakening, and Pokemon Sword and Shield – a Breath of the Wild sequel might have been the most exciting. It’s still early days, but here’s everything we know – and want to know – about Breath of the Wild 2 for Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo E3 2019: every Nintendo game shown, teased and played at the show
Cut to the chase
What is it? The upcoming sequel to 2017’s open-world Zelda gameWhat can I play it on? Nintendo SwitchWhen can I play it? 2020 at the earliest, but likely later than that
Breath of the Wild 2 release date
Nintendo hasn’t shared much information other than the trailer and a few sparse comments – run through below – but the trailer did close off with a line stating the Breath of the Wild sequel was “in development”. We certainly won’t see the game being released in the coming months, but it’s hard to tell beyond that. 
Take your time, Zelda (Image Credit: Nintendo)
There was six years between 2011’s Skyward Sword (Wii U) and 2017’s Breath of the Wild (Wii U / Switch), though the latter’s development was delayed by issues with the game’s physics engine. Given the team appear to be re-using the same engine and open-world Hyrule setting, Nintendo probably won’t need the same lead time to get this game to release – as with Majora’s Mask on the Nintendo 64, which launched just two years after 1998’s iconic Ocarina of Time, and re-used many of the same in-game assets.With Link’s Awakening landing in late 2019, we can’t imagine BOTW 2 launching too soon after, either. December 2020 seems the earliest it could possibly release, with a 2021 window seeming more probable.
Breath of the Wild 2 trailers
We got our first glimpse of BOTW 2 at E3, with this spooky trailer that shows Zelda and Link exploring an underground chamber – with some mysterious runes, glowing hands, and a brand-new haircut that has set the internet on fire. Suffice to say: we’re excited.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 trailer is just 82 seconds long and there’s no dialogue whatsoever – but there are some clues to be gathered from it.It features a torch-carrying Link and Zelda traversing a dark dungeon beneath Hyrule (no big surprise there). Spirit-like tendrils creep around the musty tomb they’re exploring, with the pair riding a large elephant-like beast. Something shocks the pair, and then we cut to what appears to be the resurrection of some long-dead (and creepy looking) warrior. Could this be the return of Ganondorf?The video then cuts to a long shot of Hyrule Field, with Hyrule Castle in the distance. There’s a tremor, the castle is smothered with dust… and that’s the end.The clip finishes with a message that reads: “The sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is in development.”We wouldn’t usually expect so much animation to be done so early in development, but it probably helps that Nintendo already has the in-game engine from Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild 2 news and rumors
Could Zelda have a bigger role this time around? (Image Credit: Nintendo)
A darker turn for the seriesAll we really know at this point is how little we know. But boy are there rumors. The unexpected trailer has already sparked a huge amount of speculation, hopes and hot takes on what the next mainline Zelda title might include.We’ve heard from Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma that the game is going to have a darker tone than Breath of the Wild, and will even be “a little bit darker” than Majora’s Mask (via IGN).The trailer certainly supports this, with what looks like Ganondorf’s corpse being resurrected by a disembodied hand, and seemingly imagery from 2006’s Twilight Princess, which saw Hyrule turned into a bleak shadow realm – largely in response to the far cheerier and cartoonish The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.
A Gerudo corpse, possibly Ganon, is grabbed by a mysterious force (Image Credit: Nintendo)
The Twilight realmThe glowing blue hand in the trailer is the biggest clue that we’ll be seeing more of the Twili – shadow people descended from Hylians who tried to take the power of the Triforce for themselves. The hand is wrapped in twisting shapes reminiscent of Twilight architecture, while the swirling magic could remind some of the portals that let Twili invade Hyrule in the 2006 game.We know that BOTW’s dev team originally toyed with the idea of an alien invasion, and seeing shadow creatures teleport out of the sky could well have been what they have planned this time around.A clue in the audioShowing just how far some Zelda fans will go, reddit user u/ReroFunk (via Inverse) has pieced together a pretty convincing theory regarding Twilight Princess villain Zant, a Twili who served Ganondorf in the game. If you listen to the trailer’s audio in reverse, there are certain notes that seem to echo the music played during your final encounter with Zant – who, while defeated, is adamant he’ll return through the power of his “god”.u/ReroFunk also suggests we could see the demon king Demise return for the next Zelda game. Demise was the final boss in Skyward Sword, and revealed to be the original form of Ganondorf. The below still from the Zelda trailer also looks a lot like Demise when you think about it.
Ganon, Demise, or something else entirely? (Image Credit: Nintendo)
Zelda’s turn in the spotlight?One of the favorite fan theories doing the rounds regards the Hyrule princess herself. She’s shown with a practical short haircut, and is dressed in a manner pretty similar to Link’s own adventurer’s gear – leading some to think she may be a playable character.Zelda’s devs have seemed pretty dismissive of the idea of a female Link in the past – sadly – but we may in this game see sections playing as Zelda, or at least with her playing a more active role in the story.
Breath of the Wild 2: what we want to see
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is widely considered one of the best games in the series, and there’ll be a lot of pressure to deliver a game not only as good – but also good in its own way. Here’s what we’re hoping Nintendo will be able to bring to the sequel when it lands.Some new environmentsDon’t get us wrong: Breath of the Wild 2’s setting was beautiful, with huge scale vistas and a brilliant dynamic weather system, but we’re still hoping we don’t have to retread too much of the same ground. Some divergences in the scenery would help to keep things fresh: maybe a great earthquake splitting the landscape, or an eternal twilight turning Hyrule’s green fields into something else altogether?
Soaring over Hyrule gave us some of BOTW’s best moments (Image Credit: Nintendo)
Save data carrying overFor those of us who have invested a large portion of time in BOTW, it seems a waste to have to start from zero when powering up the next game – especially if it takes place right after we left off. Allowing for certain DLC items to carry over, and making reference to your individual decisions in the previous game – such as certain quests you did or didn’t complete, or how many Divine Beasts you recruited before facing Ganon – would really help to make the sequel feel like a meaningful extension of the previous game.Some larger-scale dungeonsSure, you could technically say that BOTW’s above-ground landscape was a dungeon in its own right: packed with enough enemies, treasure and surprises without having to hunker underground. However, the snack-sized shrine puzzles and Divine Beasts never quite recreated the scale and wonder of the Zelda Series’ most iconic temples, and it’d be great to see one or two dungeons that really pull out the stops.No more Korok seedsFor the completionists out there, BOTW’s hide-and-seek Koroks were a sweet addition to the game’s action. But the reward of a golden turd for collecting all 900 Korok seeds was a bit of an anti-climax – and we really don’t want to have to collect all of them all over again. Maybe go with something else next time, Nintendo?Everything BOTW did so wellRegardless of the above, we’re hoping Nintendo sticks close enough to BOTW’s formula – open world exploration, destructible weapons, and environmental puzzles – as not to ditch what made the entry so successful.
Nintendo just single-handedly redeemed E3 2019 with nostalgia and new ideas

Read the full article here at Tech Radar

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Mozilla and Firefox could be about to change the VPN and privacy market forever

News that Mozilla could release a suite of privacy focused tools and services to complement its popular Firefox browser sent tongues wagging across the security and privacy industry. Many believe this might be a blessing in disguise as it will help popularize tools like VPN and password manager, offering users more privacy and security.However the surprise announcement throws in more questions that it answers – so what could the news really mean for your internet browsing?
Why is Mozilla doing this?
Transforming itself into the Office 365 of privacy may well help Firefox remain relevant in an increasingly polarized world where smartphones have long overtaken desktops. According to the most recent Netmarketshare report, Chrome has ring-fenced two-thirds of the desktop browser market with Microsoft Internet Explorer/Edge a very distant number two with under 14 percent. Firefox is third with under 10 percent. Things are even more bleak on mobile where Firefox’s market share is just over one percent, in other words, almost nonexistent. So why the urgency? Well, other than the fact that desktop numbers – where Firefox is most prevalent – are slowly shrinking, November 2020 will see the expiration of contracts with search engine providers for royalties; that’s 17 months from now. The biggest of these is Google, and it is likely that Firefox’s biggest web browser rival is also its biggest benefactor. But for how long?Mozilla is acutely aware of that “concentration of risk” as noted in its latest bi-annual audit report with approximately 93 percent and 94 percent of the organization’s royalty revenues derived from these contracts for 2017 and 2016 respectively, with receivables for these contracts representing approximately 75 percent and 79 percent of the outstanding receivables. Spreading risks by not focusing on one revenue stream is what Mozilla seems to be aspiring to, with the view that search money may, perhaps one day, disappear for good. 

How is Mozilla planning to achieve this?
Like Microsoft and Office 365, Mozilla has been building its privacy suite around a core product. Firefox is Mozilla’s equivalent of Microsoft Word in this case, a flagship product that will gel the bundle. Firefox Monitor watches for account breaches, Lockwise will act as password manager, Pocket filters fake news, Firefox Send allows you to share large files securely (but not store them). The caveat being that you need to have a Firefox account to use all of the above and one can argue that additional features – like Office365 – will make Firefox stickier.Beyond the current bunch of features, we know that Firefox is interested in a super private browsing mode (a Tor integration) and is considering VPN and cloud storage as potential extensions of its remit. It already has an agreement with ProtonVPN, and industry sources have told us that Firefox has entertained the idea of white-labelling some of the biggest VPN providers in the market. We believe that it may acquire ProtonVPN altogether; the latter is an offshoot of ProtonMail and is based in Switzerland; ProtonMail – as a secure email service – would be a very nice fit for Thunderbird, Mozilla’s email client and ProtonVPN is a well-rated VPN provider. Then there’s Project Svalbard, which is about securing the future of HaveIbeenPwned, the popular data breach treasure trove that Troy Hunt, its owner, has put on sale. Both Hunt and Mozilla have been very close partners and, Troy Hunt revealed that there has been talks without saying more.However, there could something even bigger in the pipeline. Almost exactly a decade ago, Opera unveiled a bold, forward-thinking feature called Unite. The then CEO of Opera, Jon von Tetzchner, said that it was Web 5.0, a reinvention of the web. In more prosaic terms, it was a (file) server-in-a-browser but was perhaps too far ahead of its time. Could Firefox revive this idea and add a server functionality to all Firefox web browsers, P2P based and versatile in nature? Others have tried this before with, let’s say, mixed results. But Firefox is a much bigger entity with a far more numerous user base and a massive war chest.As a not-for-profit organisation, the organization had total assets of $607 million as of December 31, 2017, a 22 percent increase over 2016. If that rate of growth is sustained, the company will have more than a $1 billion in assets by the end of 2019.

Will Mozilla and Firefox succeed?
Microsoft and Google have too much to lose by being privacy proponents and this is where Mozilla wants to position itself, while at the same time, reducing its dependency on essentially taking money from its biggest competitor. So far so good but then, there’s Apple and Safari. Like Mozilla, Apple has been quietly positioning itself as a privacy-first company with its popular Safari browser offering features that will appeal to those concerned by tracking and the lack of anonymity on other browsers. Apple also unveiled “Sign in with Apple” at WWDC 2019, one that can even generate random email addresses to further protect your privacy. There’s also the fact that Apple has now one billion active users and nearly 1.5 billion Apple devices. In comparison, Firefox has just over 250 million monthly active users, a number that has decreased by almost 20 percent in two years and is primarily desktop-focused. 
What does the competition say?
Harold Li, VP at ExpressVPN, welcomed the news, saying that ExpressVPN “is pleased to call Mozilla a partner in offering VPN services across many markets through Firefox Lite, and glad to see that they share our view that VPNs are an essential online privacy and security tool.””The cybersecurity market is highly competitive, so we’ll be very interested in seeing what they offer. However, this is a good sign. It means cybersecurity and privacy are important to people and that consumers will have more tools to choose from. It will also push us even further to keep our products competitive.” argued Daniel Markuson from NordVPN.People use VPNs for different reasons – everything from entertainment to security. Our customer surveys show that about 80 percent of our users chose NordVPN for the security it provides. Depending on what Mozilla’s products offer and what kind of promises they make to their users, it’s possible that our products may serve different user groups.” “Mozilla has a lot of marketing and upsell opportunities as it has a large user base,” agreed Kaz Par, CEO of VPN provider, Surfshark. “However, VPN users are very demanding. As we see from our users, there’s a wide variety of VPN use cases and whether Mozilla is up for a challenge is yet to be seen. We saw examples in the past of big companies developing their VPN solutions (Facebook Onavo VPN, Opera VPN, etc.),” he continued “ but there has hardly been success stories”.A spokesperson for LTM, the publishers of Private Internet Access, welcomed the competition, adding “A lot of companies and projects appear to be integrating privacy respecting features into their offerings – and I think that’s great. As the narrative continues to be controlled by a select few, and the rest of us are simply tracked to be sure we don’t fall outside of their narrative, all of these mutual efforts across the board will keep the ecosystem in balance, and eventually, tip the scales in the people’s favor.“Sunday Yokibaitis from Golden Frog, the company behind VyprVPN went further. “The VPN industry is growing rapidly and we welcome competition. I have a lot of respect for Mozilla and use a combination of Firefox and DuckDuckGo for personal browsing. I have always said that we need an armada of privacy companies, not a few battleships, to help fight the increasing threats to user privacy and the open Internet.” he said.“As one of the first VPN providers in the world, we’ve always been focused on our core mission: to provide people with better privacy, security, and Internet freedom. Over the past 10 years, we have seen many VPN services come and go while we remained focused on growing our business, improving our technology and providing a safer and more secure service for our users.” he went on saying before cautioning, “At this time, it is unclear if Mozilla will offer a true VPN (an encrypted tunnel) or instead will they offer a proxy service but brand it a VPN like Opera.  Mozilla will have the same challenges regarding transparency, security, performance and customer support that every VPN Provider faces when entering the VPN marketplace. I think transparency will be Mozilla’s main challenge when launching its VPN service. I have seen reports online that ProtonVPN will be the wholesale VPN service for Mozilla. However, there have also been discussions online that [name redacted] is the true owner of ProtonVPN which had led to concerns about data mining of customer information and other transparency issues. Ultimately, Mozilla will have to decide how to address transparency issues that are inherent when relying on a third-party to provide their VPN service.”“I have a lot of respect for Mozilla and I hope they match our standards for transparency. Transparency is sorely lacking in the VPN industry today and I hope Mozilla will continue to help us push for more transparency in the VPN industry.”“There has long been two Internets in the sense that there is an open Internet and a restricted Internet, but with more countries such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia becoming more aggressive with their censorship and with major tech companies like Facebook and YouTube taking further steps towards censoring their users, there seems to be greater polarization than in the past.”“We have always played an active role in the battle against Internet censorship, whether that means lobbying political leaders to protect net neutrality or teaming up with organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to defend privacy and free speech, we work daily to combat censorship around the world.I think that Mozilla’s move to launch a VPN is an attempt to protect the free and open Internet, not split the Internet into two separate Internets. We welcome their help in the fight against governments and entities that continue to constrict and pervert the original intent of the internet – which is simply allowing for people to talk to other people. “
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